In Between

Karen Silve, In Between, 58" x 60", acrylic on canvas
Karen Silve, In Between, 58″ x 60″, acrylic on canvas

This new painting, In Between, came from my memories of floating in the Mediterranean Sea during my stay in Nice. I’m not a water person, but it became my daily ritual to walk from my apartment in old town, down to the beach and simply walk into the warm water of the Mediterranean. The calm salt water would allow me to float comfortably, kicking slowly and rarely with my legs and waving my arms effortlessly. There was something so soothing and meditative about being there. I would watch the shoreline in the distance, keeping my head above water. Sometimes with my ears in the water so I couldn’t hear anything other than muffled underwater sounds and the lapping of the water. The warm gold and coral colored buildings and dark green trees would begin to disappear from behind the swells while the water and sky would almost connect. The warmth of the life on land would re-appear. Over and over, I would watch while I let my concerns disappear. This was my daily ritual that centered me and simply made me content and happy. This painting will be going to Susan Calloway Fine Art in Washington DC for my art exhibition in April, Memories: The In-Between. Contact me for more information.

karensilve©2015 all rights reserved

A Clear View

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This new painting, A Clear View, is 58″ x 68″. It is a part of my new works I painted after spending 5 weeks in Provence last summer. This particular one is inspired by the colors viewed after a drive to Lac de Serre-Ponçon, along the Durance River northwest of Sisteron. The air was clear and it was a beautiful and peaceful day.

all rights reserved ©2015 Karen Silve art®

The Mexican Market Place

Silve Market Painting

In 2010, I went to Mexico for the first time. I booked a room at La Paloma in Ajijic. Some friends of mine were looking to retire there, and were staying at the same Bed and Breakfast.

I almost didn’t book the flight, because I was scared I would be bored. I knew I needed a vacation, but all of my previous vacations have been packed full with attending cultural events, visiting museums, and looking at contemporary art at the local galleries from the, usually, metropolitan cities. But this trip, I was traveling by myself to a very small village in Mexico and I didn’t speak any Spanish. The B&B was owned by American’s, so I felt like they could at least point me in the right direction. But my fear was that there would be nothing to do, and I would only sit by the pool. I don’t like going to the beach. I don’t like swimming. And I don’t like sitting in the sun. With skin cancer in my family, I generally try to stay out of the sun. What if I just couldn’t stand it. A claustrophobic fear came about. I decided to try and conquer that fear.

Early in the trip, Ajijic had a street market full of… everything. Leather goods, clothing, kitchen tools, crafts, dolls, beadwork, jewelry, bed linens, baskets, and many more items filled about half of the market. The other was filled with flowers, vegetables, fruits, nuts, candies, peppers, herbs, honey, fish, chickens, juices, and whatever else people would put in their bodies. The place was packed, and people were there out of necessity to get their needs for the week. I found it to be very inspiring to watch this chaos that had a rhythmic flow.

I decided I wanted to go to other market’s in other villages nearby and started a search. Each village had a designated day of the week for the market. I visited the markets of Tlaquepaque, Tonala, Chapala and Guadalajara, which the first two surprised me on how large they were. Street after street after street of crafts, artwork, tools, religious icons, beds, office supplies, cameras, boots, and of course perishables and necessities were everywhere. These market’s said a lot about the villages, and I found them to be fascinating.

From this, I started my “Market” series of paintings. Visit my website or pinterest to see more Market Paintings.

©2015 karen silve art®

Morning Glow

Recently, while riding my bike in the morning, vivid emotions and memories flooded over me. Memories from my painting days in Provence, France. Every morning, I would wake up early and start my walk to the studio. I listened to the hustle and bustle of traffic: honking cars, screeching brakes, swishing of buses lowering and rising. The world started its day. The smells are what I remember most; the mixture of diesel with the sweet scents of jasmine and juniper as well as roses and other floral scents. As I got closer to the studio, the sounds became more faint and the sweet smells became more vivid. I would become very excited. Would I find myself in the fields looking at Mt. St. Victoire or country homes, or walk amongst flower fields that I would decide I had to stop and paint. Finally, I would make it to the studio and the aromas switched to herbaceous tones of thyme, rosemary and sage mixed with oil mediums and paints. I always had a cup of rosemary tea made with a large fresh cut sprig steeped in hot water. This I loved. It was so beautiful and kept my mind free and vibrant. Then, my art day would begin. After finding the place to paint, I would get lost in my surroundings; transcending from a practical place to an emotional and instinctive one. By the end of the day I would have completed a painting. Another day in my journal of art.

On this particular morning in Portland, I was riding under cherry blossoms, smelling sweet scents of jasmine, wysteria, roses, mixed with fumes from the cars and trucks bustling about, buses in full force. The sky has invited me in to a new day with its morning lavender glow. The warm light hits the pink blossoms and orange and green leaves. the day for the world has begun. And so has mine, with the same yearning question… “what shall I paint today.”

Copyright2009©Karen Silve
Morning Glow, 48" x 48" Copyright2009©Karen Silve

Sacred Places

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sacrad_place_180h1

Sacred Places —
statement by Karen Silve

These new paintings are a meditation about special places I visited during hikes around Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. I contemplated over some of the untouched and intimate spaces realizing they are a part of a bigger picture; a part of evolution and mother nature at her best. I think it is the unknown that I am so inspired by; the awe of nature from something so ancient to something so current. I am fascinated with the hidden places where microorganisms, insects and animals are born, and how they are dependent on these delicate combination of conditions. There’s a quiet beauty which exists amongst the sounds of water falling, leaves rustling, birds chirping, and unseen creatures moving about. These special places have a spiritual aura that has mesmerized me.

Sometimes the most beautiful and memorable parts of life are the unusual and imperfect things one finds in nature, or the unexpected turns life takes. Emotions and responses to experiences are the subjects of my paintings. For example, the excitement of seeing an unusual flower for the first time or experiencing the uncertainty of watching over a friend in a coma. These emotions are not tangible things, but rather elusive. This is what de Kooning calls “nothingness”; emotions that are created through our senses: sight, sound, taste and smell, rather than physical things.

Many of my early works were inspired by music. The process of painting to the music was very important to me because the power of music carried the action of mark making into an expressive, rhythmic painting. I would first start with a concept, then sketches, and finally start putting paint on the canvas until it evolved into the painting I wanted. In these new, more contemplative works, I used modern technology: photography, Photoshop and collaging, to create my “sketch” before starting to paint on the canvas. After reaching a certain point in the painting, I would photograph the artwork in progress and go through the process again of using the computer to manipulate and collage the photograph of the painting. This allowed me to reach a profound place in my painting that I couldn’t have achieved without this process. I’m very excited about this new way of working and will be using it much more in the future.

Doha Qatar Exhibition

Art in Embassies Program art exhibition

I am honored to tell you I’ve been invited to exhibit at the Embassy in Qatar. The Doha exhibition is made up of 11 works of art (including the two above) by 8 artists. The works are officially on loan to the US Department of State’s ART in Embassies Program and will be installed in the public rooms of the US Embassy residence in Doha, Qatar.  The ambassador and his staff will use the art as a tool of cultural diplomacy; the hundreds of guests who visit the residence each year will have the opportunity to learn about American art and artists.

Ambassador Joseph LeBaron is originally from Oregon and wanted to highlight art from this area.  Beyond this personal connection, the program also sought to include bold and colorful abstract pieces in order to make a connection to Islamic art, which is often nonrepresentational.  The works will be installed in October of this year, and they will remain in Doha for the ambassador’s tenure, which will be another 2 to 2 1/2 years.

To find out more about the program, please visit the Arts in Embassies Program online.

As far as these two paintings, they are a part of a series I created during my time in Hawaii.  Please read about them:

island rhythms
essential counterparts
for life and harmony

These paintings are about my overall perspective, experiences and interpretations of Hawaii. During a month long stay on the islands, I realized that in Hawaii many opposites exist together. For example: the life below water and the life above water; the love of being in paradise and the hate of island fever; the free spending tourists and the thrifty locals; the dry bare side of an island and the wet jungle side. I felt these opposites created a harmony between the counterparts that was very unique to Hawaii and was essential for life on the islands.

Visually, I relate these opposites to the horizon line that separates the atmosphere from the masses of water or land. The colors come directly from Hawaii’s luscious botanical gardens and the vast ocean.

My hope is to show contrasting worlds existing together in harmony.

www.karensilve.com