|"Intimacy." Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches. ©Karine M Swenson 2011|
People often ask me which subject matter I prefer. I paint abstractly, I paint people, and I paint animals. I have also been painting sunsets in the desert. I love everything I paint. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't paint it. One of the reasons I became an artist is because I hated the idea of having to do the same thing every day. Some days, I don't want to paint a rabbit. I don't want to paint a portrait. I just want to paint what's in my subconscious. Those are the days for abstraction. On other days, I don't want to paint abstractly. Those are the days to paint rabbits, or skies. What matters most to me is that I am squeezing color out of tubes, mixing it on the palette, and laying it down on canvas or board with a brush or a knife. Art is how I understand the world and how I understand myself. I seem to need to jump around from subject to subject. That is how I stay excited about what I am doing.
I have also found that painting abstractly helps my representational work. I am able to be more free with color and mark-making. I also have stronger compositions because of the abstract work. The representational work, in different ways, helps with my abstract work. I learn how to make the paint do what I want it to do, and it helps me keep my drawing skills sharp. For me, the different styles of my work are what make me a better artist.
Interestingly enough, it seems as though the majority of people who collect my work seem to have a preference for one style or another. Not all of the people who like my rabbits, coyotes and portraits respond to my abstractions. Conversely, not all of the people who like my abstract work like my other art. That is just as perplexing to me as the spider web in the pedals of my car.