Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1st

"There You Are." (black tailed jackrabbit) Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches.

The online class has now ended, and I am gearing up for an outdoor art festival at the Oasis Visitor Center in 29 Palms this weekend. I will be setting up a booth with my desert animal paintings this weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5 pm each day. I have never-shown-before paintings ready to go, along with cards and affordable giclee reproductions. The weather is supposed to be "delightful!" I hope to see you there! 

 
More desert flowers, because we never get tired of them. Ever.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25th



Morning walks in the desert have become dream - like visits in spring time wonderland. There is actually less walking than stopping, looking, loving and photographing. Thank goodness for patient walking companions.




I have been busy teaching the online painting class, squeezing a few hours of painting in between. So far, the class has been a positive experience. It is exciting to see other artists, some of whom are quite accomplished, explore abstraction and push themselves outside of their normal way of working. I am proud of their courage! (and inspired by them too.) I think I got lucky with a great group of people taking my class. I feel quite certain that I will offer the class again, at some point.

In the studio, there are a number of different directions being explored. Some are still too new to share, but others are continuations of ideas you have seen from me before. I am working larger and making an effort to slow myself down. I want my paintings to reach a higher level of completion than ever before, to push myself beyond former notions of what a finished painting looks like. There has also been a lot of drawing, sketching and playing, just for good measure.

"hedgehog." Acrylic, gesso, ink, marker and charcoal on paper, 12 x 9 inches.

Little elephant. Collage, gesso, ink and charcoal on paper, 12 x 9 inches. 
"i love everybody." Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches.
What have you been up to?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Flowering





This is a favorite time of year in the desert. We had just enough rain so that in certain areas, spring flowers are making an appearance. M is so patient with me on walks, since every time I see a flower, I must stop, examine and often photograph it in eight different ways. Even the dog waits for me. He lies down beside me until I am done reveling in the wonder of a single flower.

I am getting excited for Monday, when my online class begins! It's not too late to sign up, if you haven't already. Click here if you would like to know more.

New desert animal paintings are emerging from the studio as the Art Festival near the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor's Center in 29 Palms approaches. I will be part of this outdoor art event April 4,5 & 6th, 2014. You can get more information here. Won't you come out and visit me and the other artists? We'd love to see you. There will be photography, basketry, sculpture and jewelry too!

"Reprise." (desert cottontail) oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches. 
Here's hoping you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More about teaching art online

Carla and Steve Sonheim, creative gurus
It was a fun weekend here in Joshua Tree. My friends from Seattle, Carla and Steve Sonheim, came to film the video portion of my upcoming online class. Carla and Steve are both talented artists. Carla paints, draws and basically blows me away with everything she does. Steve is an amazing photographer, full of creative, innovative ideas. He is also doing the filming and editing for all of the online art classes Carla offers on her website. Wizards!


My studio was turned into a film set for a few days, and I discovered how strange it feels to draw and paint surrounded by cameras.

Lots of laughing and catching up makes for what I hope will be a fun class. If you are interested, just leave a comment or email me and I will do my best to keep you informed. We hope to have the class sign up ready by the end of the week.

The class is called "Finding your voice through abstraction." It is a painting class, geared towards helping you free yourself from recognizable imagery in order to discover your own way of painting. It is recommended for people who have painted before, but I think you will have fun even if it's been awhile. There is a lot of risk taking and exploration built into the exercises, and I will demonstrate some of my painting techniques. The class starts March 17th and continues until March 28th, 2014. There are six lessons in all, and the cost is $85. Even if you don't plan to paint abstractly, I think you will enjoy this class, since the things you discover about yourself will translate into any kind of art you end up creating.

"Privacy." Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Online Class

 I don't like photos of myself, but Pono is so photogenic!
Hey everyone! I am excited because tomorrow I have friends arriving from Seattle to film the video portion of an online class I will be teaching in March. This is the first time for me to teach online, but my friends, Carla and Steve Sonheim, are pros. You can see some of the other classes as well as Carla's art here. The class I will be teaching is called "Finding your voice through abstraction: a painting class." The class will last for two weeks. If you sign up, you will get an email lesson with video in your email inbox three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for two weeks. There will be an opportunity for feedback either by posting your work online, or if you prefer, you can send me photos via email and I can give you feedback privately. I will have more details for you soon! Some of you have already expressed an interest in the class, but if you think you are interested, please let me know and I will try to send you emails when I have all the details. Just think - an art class you can take from the comfort of your home!!!!

The focus of this class is to use the freedom of non-representational art to explore and discover your own way of making marks, composing space, and developing your own style. Even if you don't want to paint abstract art, I think you will find this class valuable. I have planned exercises that you can use to try new things. It is recommended that you have some painting experience prior to taking this class, but I do think this class is for everyone.

In other studio news, I will be participating in the 22nd Annual Art in the Park Art Festival in Twentynine Palms, CA. The dates are April 4, 5, and 6th, 2014. For more information, click here. New paintings for this event will be forthcoming!

It has been unusually hot and dry for February. Even in the desert, this is exceptional. My garden is just starting to show colors.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your expression is Unique

"Consolation." Oil on linen. 40 x 40 inches. (repaint from 2012)

After several discussions recently with artist friends, I have come to realize that the most important thing an artist can do is show up, every day, in the studio, and work.

Easier said than done.

Sometimes it's pretty easy. Go into the studio, paint. But then there are those other times. Those times when you question absolutely everything you are doing, and you think there can be absolutely no benefit to society in this endeavor that is painting. I am alone, painting one picture after another, agonizing over some, effortlessly revealing others.

It is at such times - those times of doubt, when one must find other creative people who are doing what we are doing, or have done what we are doing. They can reassure. 

You can listen to a great piece of music. Your soul is lifted. You can visit a museum. You are awe-struck. You can watch a great dancer/ice skater/actor. You are transported. You can read a poem or book where something really speaks to you, almost as though it were written for you alone. Then, you are reminded that yes, there is a benefit in creative endeavors. Others are changed by what you may do, if not by something you do today, then by something you do one day.

For all of my creative friends (which is almost all of you, whether or not you admit it): keep on, keepin' on!

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is or how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open”

Martha Graham


(Martha Graham was considered the "Picasso of modern dance." You can read more about her here.)



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jackrabbit Dreaming



I had a dream last night that I was caring for a baby jackrabbit. That baby was about as cute as anything you can imagine, but BOY was it wiggly. It was hopping all over the place. In my dream, I had to take it somewhere (the vet or something like that ?) and I had a really hard time catching it. It fit in the palm of my hand. (Sweetest thing!) I woke up from this dream with a warm, snugly feeling. So fun! No one really knows where dreams come from, even if they say they know. I suspect that this dream came from a person I follow on Instagram (bunnymama) who has two pet rabbits. The only photos she posts are over-the-top cute photos of her rabbits. I am sure my obsession with jackrabbits probably came into play, as well. There is also this blog post about a woman who fostered a baby jackrabbit for ten days. I found it about 2 years ago when someone asked if I had any photos of a baby jackrabbit. (Highly recommend you click that link.)

You see, when you paint as many jackrabbits as I have painted, they start to inhabit a large portion of your brain. People tell you stories about jackrabbits. For example: A local woman at my last open studio told me that when her children were young, they had raised a jackrabbit. The part of her story that stuck in my head was that the vet (or someone of certain authority) had told them to be cautious when picking the jackrabbit up, because their hind legs are so strong they can damage themselves. Well, one of her kids picked up the jackrabbit and its hind leg caught a giant ear and tore it. The jackrabbit had a torn ear, just like the one I have painted a number of times. I wonder, did my torn ear jackrabbit tear its own ear? We are left only to wonder about these things when we see a wild animal with an injury like that.



"Torn Ear Jack." Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. (sold) ©2012 Karine Swenson
In other news, I have returned to the studio FINALLY after some health setbacks and other things. Photos of new work are forthcoming. Here's one, just to wet your whistle.

"Leading Article." (desert tortoise.) Collage, acrylic and oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches. ©Karine Swenson
Have you had any great dreams lately?

p.s. If you are on Instagram, you can follow me @karineswenson. I've been posting new paintings there first!