“Keep An Eye Out For…” by Karen Krahl

San Luis Obispo artist, Karen Krahl wants you to keep an eye out for her pieces “Minden Palomino” and  “Santa Fe Arroyo.” Below are details of each piece. If you’d like to see the rest – you’ll have to visit her during the 2012 Open Studios Art Tour. Krahl is participating only the first weekend of the Tour, October 13/14 10am-5pm.

detail of “Minden Palomino” by Karen Krahl

I started this ambitious canvas several years ago. I was working from a photo that I’d scanned, and used “curves” on photo shop to bring out some bizarre colors. It was all lavender, yellows; not a realistic landscape at all, and so I set it aside. I still liked the composition, but a lot was left to do. I almost threw it out one day.

Then I completely changed the pallet of colors. Working from a small blow up of the 4x 6 with this canvas which is about 4 x 4 feet was painstaking and a real time sink.

Finally I began to like what I saw, but I had challenges depicting a volcanic rock outcropping in the mountain range, and decisions to make about how much detail I wanted to add to the fields, the grass, and when exactly I could pronounce the painting done. I could still be painting grass fronds today on that thing, but I thought I’d left the beholder’s imagination fill in the rest. I left it at a gesture.

detail of “Santa Fe Arroyo” by Karen Krahl

I had a devil of a time working from a small photo when I was out in Santa Fe painting with John Farnsworth in his studio. He wanted me to paint on 6″ x 6″ gessoed masonite squares. Between the photo and square I was painting on, I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at.

First I was thinking the white things were rocks, but he had personally walked  through arroyo and when he glanced over at my painting, he informed me what I was painting weren’t rocks, they were a specific kind of desert weed. That helped a lot.

Next I asked, if I could paint on a medium sized canvas now that I’d taken his directions on making compositions on a small space. He resisted, but the next day a large canvas greeted me when I walked in his studio. I painted the same scene as the day before, but now had more room for detail.

I wound up not mastering the white weeds, nor much detail, but several weeks later when they shipped my finished “masterpiece” as he kidded me, I was surprised by how much I liked the feel, the vivid colors. The reason it had to be shipped was that the only medium he would let me use was walnut oil, and it took forever to dry.


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