Studio Blog Posts

Studio Blog which includes news, paintings in progress, personal statements, and any other updates about Karen Silve.

Beijing Trees

Traveling and the unique experiences it brings has become my greatest artistic inspiration. I went to Beijing for the first time in the Spring of 2016. I had never been to China before and wanted to experience it with fresh eyes.

A few days into the trip, I realized I was repeatedly inspired by the thoughtfully pruned trees. The blossoming cherry trees had their own vibrant beauty. However, it wasn’t just the cherry trees, but every tree throughout the city. From the parks, temples, gardens, and along the streets, all of the trees demanded respect. Many of them were just starting to leaf out which allowed me to see the structure of the trees. Such care was taken with each tree, and the older trees were well supported. In the Imperial Garden of the Forbidden City, there was a very old tree with a huge steel frame around the trunk holding up the heavy branches. In the Botanical Gardens there was a 3,000 year old tree with it’s large branches supported by other trees which had been grown to hold them up.

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"Women Painters" opens April 8th at the Madison Gallery

My Paintings will be on view at the Madison Gallery! Press Release below.

Madison Gallery presents Women Painters a group exhibition featuring the work of abstract artists: Jane Booth, Mel Davis and Karen Silve. Throughout art history many women artist were encouraged to divorce art practice from female experience and self-awareness in order to succeed professionally. This shifted in the twentieth century, as women became an integral part of society and female artists found their space within male-centric art movements, most importantly, Abstract Expressionism. Abstraction became the vehicle in which gender became obsolete, as it centered on movement, color and emotion. The exhibition strives to combat the oft-repeated and false compliment unthinkingly paid to women, that genius has no sex; there may be equality of power, but in its quality and application there will be and must be, difference and distinction.

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The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was such an impressive place. There were many gates, one after another, each with their own name and meaning. Walking through each gate I felt like I was entering into something more precious or secret. The last gate opened into the Imperial Gardens; a jewel at the end of the palace. There were so many unique old trees. I was taken by the respect and care given to these trees. Some of them were hundreds if not a thousand years old and had metal structures to hold up the large branches. 

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Work in Progress

Being a full time artists, I've had to adapt to the changing skills needed for this career. One of them is figuring out social media. I certainly haven't figured it out, but I started taking more photographs of my work in progress. I usually never go back to them, but today is different. I thought I would share images of this Beijing Trees painting in progress. I included some images below, as well as a gif (above) showing the images merged together. At this point in the process, I live with the painting on a clean wall (see below) while I decide on the final marks. I usually have about three paintings going on at a time.

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I went through my storage and found this gem from my cellist painting days. The title is "Relativity", and is 60" x 48" painted in 2006. At the time I was working with the idea of multiple sounds of the cellists working in harmony. So I started painting two cellists on one canvas. When I hung it up yesterday for a client to see, I found it interesting that I am now putting two trees together in my current work. I enjoy seeing how the abstracted trees in my paintings, as well as the physical trees that inspired me, relate to one another. The relationship of subjects working together may be a recurring theme in my work.

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Winter Solstice

While going through images to find a good photo for good wishes this Holiday, I found this one. I originally turned it down because it was too spring-like. However, I came back to it. I took this photo in the arts district in Beijing this past spring.

Today, The shortest day of the year, is a time to spend with family, observe the changes in nature and reflect on what's happened in the past year. I am so fortunate to have such great relationships with my family and friends. You have all helped me so much over the past year. Nothing can replace that. Thank you!

Tomorrow is the beginning of each day becoming lighter and brighter. This is an opportunity for new personal growth. That is why this image spoke to me this morning. I like the grouping of trees, all different, yet work together in harmony. I love the color interactions with the vibrant spring green against the old red bricks. I love seeing the bricks though the vines in which an unknown amount of new growth will appear. The graffiti on the walls adds an element of young human vitality. All together, there is such life in this photo, from old to new; from still to active; from freedom to the unknown.

I wish everyone a peaceful holiday season, a beautiful winter solstice, and a flourishing new year.

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Beijing Trees

I had never been to China before, and the first thing that struck me were the hundreds of thoughtfully pruned trees everywhere. This has become the focus of my new body or work which will be exhibited in March, 2017 in Washington DC at the Susan Calloway Fine Arts Gallery. I am still creating on this body of work. You can get sneak peaks if you follow me on instagram or facebook. Or follow my blog here.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, a time for sharing, a time for giving thanks, and a time for celebrating this years harvest. The heart of this painting, based on the marketplace, reminds me of the colors of the harvest, and the energy of a family. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Peace in Opposition

I am saddened that our country is so politically divided. Families too are divided.

The opposition reminds me of a body of work I created while living in Hawaii for a short period in 2007. I realized that in Hawaii, many opposites exist together and are dependent on one-another. I re-read my statement about that body of work (you can read here: Island Rhythms—Essential Counterparts for Life and Harmony).

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The Mexican Market Place

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.

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