Studio Blog Posts

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

Sacred Places — statement by Karen Silve

These new paintings are a meditation about special places I visited during hikes around Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. I contemplated over some of the untouched and intimate spaces realizing they are a part of a bigger picture; a part of evolution and mother nature at her best. I think it is the unknown that I am so inspired by; the awe of nature from something so ancient to something so current. I am fascinated with the hidden places where microorganisms, insects and animals are born, and how they are dependent on these delicate combination of conditions. There’s a quiet beauty which exists amongst the sounds of water falling, leaves rustling, birds chirping, and unseen creatures moving about. These special places have a spiritual aura that has mesmerized me.

Sometimes the most beautiful and memorable parts of life are the unusual and imperfect things one finds in nature, or the unexpected turns life takes. Emotions and responses to experiences are the subjects of my paintings. For example, the excitement of seeing an unusual flower for the first time or experiencing the uncertainty of watching over a friend in a coma. These emotions are not tangible things, but rather elusive. This is what de Kooning calls “nothingness”; emotions that are created through our senses: sight, sound, taste and smell, rather than physical things.

Many of my early works were inspired by music. The process of painting to the music was very important to me because the power of music carried the action of mark making into an expressive, rhythmic painting. I would first start with a concept, then sketches, and finally start putting paint on the canvas until it evolved into the painting I wanted. In these new, more contemplative works, I used modern technology: photography, Photoshop and collaging, to create my “sketch” before starting to paint on the canvas. After reaching a certain point in the painting, I would photograph the artwork in progress and go through the process again of using the computer to manipulate and collage the photograph of the painting. This allowed me to reach a profound place in my painting that I couldn’t have achieved without this process. I’m very excited about this new way of working and will be using it much more in the future.