"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another look back

While I'm trying to finish up the painting of Lyndia and since I have nothing else new to post yet, I was looking at some past work and found this stuck behind a stack of old stuff. I painted this when I was about 22 years old, back in the 60's. It is acrylic. I gave it to my parents and they dutifully hung it on their living room wall for many years. I look at that face and the face I have since earned and can hardly believe I was that young woman. My painting style has improved but I was more willing back then to experiment. I had no idea what my "style" was and I tried to emulate everyone from Manet to WayneTheibaud, and everything from Impressionism to Hard Edge Photo Realism. I went through a Beardsley period and a Holbein period, Botticelli, and Klimpt. I did my own version of the Yellow Submarine style marker illustrations and precision, highly detailed and stippled pen & ink works. It took years for my personal presence behind the brush or pencil or pen to become fairly obvious, to have a look that was my own. I was not interested in developing anything radical or edgy. I wanted a strong, straight forward painting style that reflected who I felt I was and who I was becoming. It has begun to work out for me...I am only now beginning to sense the real me coming out in my current work. It will never set the art world on fire but if I can add some substance that means something to those who choose to own my work I am content. I am, however, never content with the level of what I do...I always see what I might have done better.


  1. Karen, this is lovely. It's so interesting to see an artists earlier work. I relate so much to your words. I'm going through the identity crisis you mentioned from your past right now. My style now depends upon my reference. I want to get to a point where I interpret instead of render. I just have to keep working and hopefully like you, I will emerge at some point. Beautiful work and a wonderful post. Thank you!

  2. This is a great post for me to read. I'm trying so hard to find my stlye at the moment and it's driving me nuts! Hence my unintentional experiemnt today (than you very much for your support and comments on that - they've brightened a frustrating day). I think I should let it come naturally, as you have? It seems to have suited you well and I have the same goals as you, nothing radical etc. Something strong. Good to hear you're still pushing yourself as well, dissatisfaction makes us grow. Have a great day and thank again or popping by my blog.

  3. Hello again Karen!... Thank "You" for your gracious and uplifting comments and visit to my site! Coming from an artist of your caliber and discipline makes those comments much richer and more meaningful to "Me"!

    Like "You"... "I" value the past and learn from it... even years later when I revisit canvases from earlier times showing "growing pains" that come directly through experimentation and emulating styles and techniques of those we discover along the way. It is through observing and distilling this work that "speaks" to our inward thoughts... that we grow and develop in our own singular ways.

    This is a proper path whereby one can be influenced by mentors... but safely from a distance... so not to be overpowered by their presence... or their greatness.

    Your youthful face and your process were as attractive "Then"... as they both are in the "Now"! Your "earned face" speks to "Me" of maturity... not age. Beyond the surface your youthful Self still operates... freely and artfully. Your willingness to risk compositionally in unsual ways is so very evident in the way that you used the hair as a compositional element or foil.

    I very much admire and enjoy your directness... and your willingness to lay "bare"[even in your sensitive bathroom self-portrait] what "You" feel and think.

    We share many commonalities in our ideas... our goals and our previous histories! Strange how lives can run in parallel!

    Good summertime painting Karen! Enjoyed the meander down "memory lane"... can't wait for what's comin up!
    Warmest regards,

  4. Wow Karen, I love this post! I think it's so hard to really find your own 'style'. I get to a point where I think I'm happy with my work and then I see someone else's work and I think, ooh maybe I should paint more like that. I guess that's the whole point of the process, just painting, and loving it and experimenting along the way.

    i think you did a really great job with this painting, and I recognized that it was you the minute I saw it. All your work is beautiful, I think you have a very strong style that says 'you'. :)

  5. When I was 22 I had the same hairstyle
    and I also made a self-portrait
    but I'm not sure I have the courage to post it.
    Love yours!!!

  6. Oh Suzanne - I would love to see your self portrait from when you were 22 - no worries about how good or not you think it is! It is also a way to see how far you've come!

  7. Karen, I knew in an instant that was you! Isn't that fun?

    I am a true believer that the only way our "style" shows up is if we paint enough for it to become a free spirit.

    Along the lines of what you said about never being content...I don't know that the best artists ever do get that feeling of contentment.

    And, yes, we should try to paint together sometime - that would be fun :).