Ever a story... waiting to be told

Monday, June 30, 2014


WIP - Zoomed in on the trees...
A funny thing happened on the way to the forest...
Although I had a very clear idea of the color scheme on the bookshelf, I really had no prior plan for the colors of the trees and sky. But I wanted to start working on that area to establish the areas of light spaces are dark spaces in the piece. I knew that I wanted the trees to be very magical, and very different from the bookshelf, not only using different colors, but different types of lines, shapes and forms. It's a whole different world back there beyond the familiarity of the classroom, after all... Maybe that's why it seemed to a good idea to use a soft buttery cream for the sky, and a collection of blues and grays for the trees.
The decision to twist the trees was probably a subconscious thing, for a couple of different reasons.
1) I'm still trying to come to grips with a comment I overheard at the gallery last month, suggesting that my work was "dark and twisted".  Maybe the wrapping of vines around the tree trunk is my defiant response to that comment, as if to prove that "dark and twisted" does not necessarily convey a macabre surrealism.  And a little bit of fantasy or surrealism does not necessarily constitute a frightening, unwholesome experience.
2) The other subconscious reason might be because twists are formed in a spiral shape, and spirals are one of those natural fractals that adhere to the golden ratio. I love that mathematical element in my art, and I include those little patterns without even being aware of it.
The twists are taking a long time, of course... but that's how I do things! I'm finding it totally satisfying and rewarding to spend a good half hour on a single strand of the vine. Each twisted strand has a slightly different combination of colors and markings. Yet, each tree needs to have uniform contour shading, too. (I'm still working on shaping them)

I've also added a new twist to my work week; I'm teaching a drawing class one evening per week. This is the little puppy we've been working on together for the past two sessions. 


  1. Hi Katherine, I love the idea of the twisted forest behind the bookcase, and chuckle at your explanation of why you twisted the vines! It's funny how people's comments can stay with us. The good thing about being an artist is we are probably able to let it run off easier than most, as one builds up a thick skin when you put your heart and soul out for everyone to see in your art. And your art definately has heart and soul. It's exquisite.
    I also identify with the whole commissions conundrum. It can be both a pleasure and a pain. I try to think of it as a business decision more than anything else, but I have learned a few things along the way, like not taking on commissiosn that have to fit into someone's colour scheme! (that was my latest headache) ahhh...but what is life but not for learning? The WIP is looking great by the way.

  2. This is amazing. I love the detail on the books behind the little boy!

  3. This piece is looking amazing. I see your twisted drawing as movement. Your art always has a magical feel to it...and this piece really does.

    Just this week the subject of darkness in art came up. A fellow blogger had written about the darkness in her art and then that very evening while at the Final Friday art crawl here in Wichita, someone told me my art has a bit of a dark feel to it. My art? Really? What's even more interesting to me is that he was not the first to say this, I have heard it several times. Anyways, my fellow blogger (in dark art...LOL) said that she wonders if sometimes it is the darkness in the viewer being reflected back at them rather than the art itself. Hmmmmm. Interesting theory! Either way...people see what they see...there's no getting around it and it's all fascinating in my book!

    Have a great day Katherine!!

  4. Bonjour ma chère Katherine,

    Tu nous dévoiles une autre magnifique oeuvre en cours... Je comprends ce que tu peux ressentir en écoutant les paroles des uns, les paroles des autres... Ta sensibilité est telle que tu ne peux pas rester indifférente... Toutefois, on ne peut pas empêcher les gens de parler, parfois c'est du "n'importe quoi" ! et cela reste leurs propres interprétations. Certains parviennent à comprendre ton cheminement, d'autres non... C'est égal, mais c'est vrai que leurs paroles restent imprimées dans notre mémoire et nous "sautent" dessus lorsqu'on crée !

    Je suis émerveillée, une fois encore, devant tous les détails que tu offres à tes oeuvres. Ce petit garçon perdu dans ses écrits... est très émouvant. Ton étagère et ses livres aux milles histoires apportent une âme fantastique et magique... Maintenant, vont naître les arbres... J'ai hâte d'en admirer davantage.
    Je te fais de gros bisous.

  5. Dear Katherine - I am taken aback that anyone would make a remark about your work...there is certainly nothing dark and twisted. I love how you make the trees twist...it gives them life. This piece is just getting better and better. Don't change a thing about your work - it is awesome! Have a wonderful week.

  6. Translation of Martine's very thoughtful comment:
    "You we unveiled another magnificent work in progress ... I understand that you can feel listening to the words of some, the words of others ... Your sensitivity is such that you can not remain indifferent ... However, can not stop people talking, sometimes it's "anything"! and this remains their own interpretations. Some fail to understand your journey, others not ... It does not matter, but it is true that their words remain imprinted in our memory and we "jump" when it creates!

    I am amazed once again, before all the details you offer to your works. This little boy lost in his writings ... is very moving. Your shelf and books with a thousand stories provide a fantastic and magical soul ... Now, will arise the trees ... I can not wait to see more."

  7. Perceptions are created too quickly, twisted and distorted to arrive at something far from the reality. The judgement does not define who we are or what we create, we continue our journey the way we want to. Beautiful work on the trees Katherine, I can't wait to enjoy this masterpiece.

  8. Hey K!

    You had me thinking deeply about twists and golden ratios, then OHHHH! A PUPPY!!

    Your post took a twist. I think it is so cool you are teaching a class! Your students are so lucky.

    Your work is not "dark and twisted." Just delete that remark from your memory. Somebody forgot to take their little happy pill that day.

    The tree and the sky are turning out as magical as the rest of the piece. You go, Girl!

    Love da puppy.....

  9. I am having lots of troubles commenting today. Working on a school computer because we lost power last night with a storm and it is still out today. Unfortunately, the comments just seem to disappear when I hit the "publish" button and I don't know where they go or if you will see them...But what is wrong with being a tad "twisted?" LOL It makes the world go round and I personally find that element of your work super exciting and it lends a vitality to all of your art work that I just love! Your art is not only beautiful but super interesting!

  10. It's good that the comment prompted you to do a little pondering. It's a "real time" approach to art making:)

  11. Dark and twisted are not adjectives to describe any of your work, Katherine. I love the colors and textures in your work in progress and the hard work you are putting into this piece definitely shows! Adorable puppy drawing, the hair looks incredibly real-how lucky to have you as a drawing teacher!

  12. It's funny how people can perceive our artwork. Someone will say that your work is twisted or macabre while another person says that it's delicate and beautiful. The problem is that quite often we take things too personally with regard to our art because it our art IS personal. It's our souls speaking out through our hands. I think that your work is lovely as always and that your soul is speaking out louder than ever through it. :) However, be careful of that puppy as he's starting to look a little 'twisted'. ;)

  13. Hi, Katherine, I've just found your blog. Wow, your art is amazing! I looooove it! Thank you so much for sharing, I'll be coming here very often ;)
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Oh boy! I have heard my share of these types of comments, and right to me, not overheard! When you paint a lot of industrial work it goes with the territory! Although I have learned how to respond over time,then let it go... in that moment there is that hesitation before I can respond back.
    But it's OK, since I don't paint happy pretty pictures I have come to expect it. One lady looked at one of my paintings, said to me, rather rudely, as though I should have painted flowers instead, "Why would you want to paint oil barrels?" I said back "Why wouldn't I?" (every subject is valid)
    I stopped her dead in her tracks.
    She realized she did not think it (her comment) through and just stood their dumbfounded.
    What she should have said was "Tell me about why you choose this as a subject?"
    Some people don't even try to understand or enquire about an artists work. It's OK to not like it but at least try to understand it.
    Another artist wrote on his blog, after getting lambasted online for one of his own 'darker' pieces, that he was glad the other party did not like it. He felt "If EVERYBODY likes my work I am doing something wrong." I like that and agree.

    Well... would you look at that, I went on forever! Ha Ha!

    I would not describe you work Katherine as dark and twisted. That commenter was not very articulate nor did they ask you, the artist. But I would say it is NOT all lighty and happy and chirpy and 'purdy'. That is good.
    Some of it has an underlying preternatural or numinous quality and maybe a hint of paranormal. Your trees have a kind of ancient mysticism tightly wound into them, many of your buildings seem to possess their inhabitants from the past... subtle but its there.
    I think in part your rendering style contributes to that. Your drawings, color and black and white seem to emerge from the pores of black (ink), dark as the forms wrap around out of sight or drop into inky crevices, like they are being pulled FROM darkness, not going into it
    That's what I see, is the best qualities in your work and what makes it uniquely yours.
    It's too simplistic to describe it as only surrealistic and especially describe it as dark and twisted.
    Still going, like the energizer bunny.

    Oh BTW tell us about your new weekly class you are teaching?

    Keep painting(drawing)...