February 03, 2007

Early Turning Point...

1982 - The Gathering - 30x40 - Oil

A question was recently asked: What was the first painting that impressed you?" I had no trouble answering, I remember well a whole show of paintings that made my head swivel... in fact changed my entire perspective of what art might be about.

More involved with music than visual art as a youth, I'd never entered a gallery or museum until my 30's when J was transfered to the DC area. The art classes I'd taken to pass the time while he was on B-52 duty in SE Asia were very basic and introduced little beyond still lifes and the occasional portrait. When not taking the few classes available to me, I copied old masters from McCall's magazine (printed on 'suitable for framing' stock.) I was ready for it when the fever really took hold!

Once settled in, two kids in school and the baby with a sitter, I ventured from the Maryland suburbs into DC to check out the museums. I'd heard the Corcoran had a good art school and I had faint hopes of being able to enroll so I went there first (fat chance with carpools, diapers, etc.) The show I saw was by the color field painter, Gene Davis. Imagine a whole room of these huge, vivid paintings.

I was never the same. I couldn't enroll in the Corcoran, but I did find a small art school in Silver Spring and proceeded to be properly introduced to contemporary art. The Maryland School of Art and Design, (now a 'College' and no longer located in a converted grocery store facility) made up in energy and innovation what it lacked in curb appeal. Every teacher was young and enthusiastic. The students fell into one of three categories; young vets on the GI Bill and fresh from SE Asia (working hard!) super talented youth (hardly working,) and a mixed bag of young moms either looking to get out of the house for a few hours or desperate to catch the art train that might leave without her... that would be me.

The above painting was one of an evolving series of stripe painting, very much influenced by the Gene Davis show, but trying hard to 'do it my way'. I have few of them scanned but will try to organize the series for future reference.

6 comments:

Marina Broere said...

Karen,
I loved reading about 'how you came to art'! I'm getting to know your work through your blog and I love what I see, I have a soft spot for the oriental looking paintings like the one below this entry.
You're on my blogroll!
Greetings from snowy, cold Wisconsin.
Marina

Olga said...

I very much enjoy seeing textile rendered in paint, and your image The Gathering reminds me of elements in Ingres paintings. It also calls to mind the work of Alison Watt who is the present associate artist at our National Gallery in London. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/education/artist/alisonwatt.htm

More of her work can be seen here: http://www.inglebygallery.com/artistsDetail.php?id=24

Martha Marshall said...

It's fun to have a look back into the evolution of your work, Karen. I'm in awe of this fabric rendering, and of the grasses.

KJ said...

Thanks for the very supportive comments. I appreciate! KJ

Steven LaRose said...

I love your posts because they move my imagination of you forward and backward. My story of you grows along with your goals.

KJ said...

Forward and backward is pretty much the nature of this blog, Steven... it's my time machine. Something will trigger a memory and off I go!