My art is often inspired by images I encounter in my international travels. I use a variety of techniques, depending on what I am trying to achieve with a particular painting.  Some of my paintings are grounded in the classical techniques of the old masters, where I create a verdaccio underpainting before applying multiple layers of oil glazes. This process brings depth and richness to a painting. With each step, as the rich complexity of form, value, and color is shaped, and the image's essence is illuminated, I gain more understanding of, and develop a deeper relationship with, the painting.   In other paintings I use a direct painting or alla prima method.  Sometimes, I combine direct painting and glazing.  The nature of each painting defines the most appropriate method or combination of methods. 

 

In each painting I seek to capture a narrative, an instant in time that tells a larger story, a microcosm of an essential truth, a person engaged in an activity or with objects that reveal their essence; excerpts from life that reveal a timeless quality, and show the deep dignity of simple activities in which humanity engages. I try to capture ephemeral emotions - the expression of joy, intimacy, concentration, wonder, passion, devotion, defiance, pride, innocence, contemplation.   Or just simple harmony and beauty.

 

During my years as an attorney engaged in international development, living and working abroad, I spent time observing the focus of activity in which people around the world engage, and in trying to understand the unique expressions of their lives, in the environments in which they find themselves by accident of birth. I seek to show what is universally human, expressed uniquely. This focus continues to attract my eye and center my artistic attention.

 

I seek to create compelling compositions, patterns, light and color congruence; an image that draws the eye because of its artistic harmony, but, that provokes thought and emotion...whether in still objects, landscapes, or figurative work.

 

Art studies include intensive study at Studio Incamminati (Nelson Shank's atelier in Philadelphia), with Lea Wight, Stephen Early, Natalie Italiano, Leona Shanks, JaFang Lu, and Robin Frey; The Frank Covino Academy of Art; Smithsonian Institute (studies with Trinka Margua Simon); Washington Studio School in Georgetown; Sadie Valeri; and workshops with Mark Carder, Dominic Vignola, Timothy Tyler, James Sulkowski, Dan Nelson, Paul McCormick, Judy Crane, Rhonda Myers, and others; and a great deal of time spent in museums around the world. I have exhibited work in juried and non-juried shows.

 

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karen@karenwestgallery.com