karen kruse
03 Jan 07 by karen kruse
karen kruse artworks

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El silencio di Raul

from the series Men and silence

03 Jan 07 16:37

Welcome Karen. Good idea to also join this website. I like to see your work here!

desesperación
desesperación
desesperación

from the series Men and silence

04 Feb 07 15:04

Dear Karen, your "Seated man in red background" may be a little more masterful, but this is much more full of meaning, at least in my opinion.

Carlos
Carlos
Carlos

From the series Men and Silence

04 Jan 07 21:13

Great works Karen.

01 Mar 07 13:59

Karen, you're brave and I would like to tell you that's
so nice to see a woman painting men - there is an overdose of images of women in our society.

01 Mar 07 17:39

Thank you Claudia for your comments, it is true, there are not many women painting men. I dont think it is a question of being brave, I think it is a question of being honest, I am no poet, and I’m not a good writer, and I’m not sure about the message in my paintings. So I thought that the only real thing I could do was to be honest, to paint the truth no matter what the art trends or the market said; to paint what moved me. If I gave thruth, somebody would appreciate it somewhere. If there is something to be said I’m sure the paintings do it better than myself. And here in this web I feel they have. There are no commercial interests here, no rat race between artists, no contest, when there are no galleries or clients in between , we all pause to see and feel other artists ouvre in a cleaner way.
I would love to see your paintings in huge proportions, I have been to Esteban Vicente’s museum in Segovia, (your paintings have a king of echo of him) and you feel there, absolutely sorrounded by colour, I think “size” in these paintings does make a difference.

29 Apr 12 00:48

Il soggetto non mi piace per niente(ahaha)
però c'è una gran tecnica.

El Cuerpo y La Luz
El Cuerpo y La Luz
El Cuerpo y La Luz

From Nudes.

La Ventana
La Ventana
La Ventana

to do.

07 Jan 07 12:23

Having an interior as a background automatically tells it’s own story interferring with that one the body tells. So for me, looking at your paintings from 2005, all the bodies are embedded in that lazy after sex atmosphere. So the question is what the story is about. Is it about the body, it’s forms and how it looks when being distorted or bended this or that way, or is it about relationship or solitude or that „post coitum omne animal triste“?
With the exeption of studies and sketches it always has been prohibited to show the naked body for the sake of the naked body and still is in many cultures. So there always was the need of embedding it into a story. More often than not into a mythological one. This need for a story gave us all those clichés of how to paint the nude. So the first thing I did for to free the body from all this hypocrisy was to eliminate the interior and any other kind of distraction. The second thing was to alter the poses into ones that did not occur in those stories. And having purified the body from all known meanings (at least I tried to do so) there suddenly emerged a human being, stronger and more moving than in all that „reclining nude“ kind of stuff.

Looking at your paintings I have the feeling that you are just in that process as well. In 2006 you have eliminated the interior and now you try to alter the poses. So the only thing I can say is: keep on going.

09 Jan 07 00:34

I am not as good as you are commenting paintings, but I´ll try to express my point of view the best I can. I think that the art of our times, today’s art follows a general trend of muteness. It is better accepted if it is cold, distant, it represents the figure
(in this case ) as if it were beeing photographed for a police file. Better if the person being painted says nothing to us: anonymus , silenced figures, whom we look from the outside of a tinted glass. No my first paintings are not about after sex moments, I didnt paint them to express that, in fact when I look at them now I´m sure they are more about my own voluptous pleasure watching a body under the Spanish summer light, trying to capture something of its nature. I believe there is not only one ,defined reason to paint something, we are influenced by everything, so if I consider the moment they were painted, I can also say that they all talk about the unknown world of incommunication in which I thought men lived. I was wrong.
Why shouldnt we paint a feeling? Not a story, a state of mind? A mood? Yes I am trying to eliminate the backgrounds now, and my intentions are to hold the face I´m painting in front of me and let it say as much as possible, with my intervention being as less intrusive as possible. But I believe something is always said, with or whithout a background ....

09 Jan 07 01:09

I like your work very much. I think this one is amongst the best in your portfolio. I love the light and the ambiguity of the nude male figure seated in the wicker chair. A powerful composition and very texturally interesting. That it could be a scene of post sex, post bath or post heroin fix only makes it more interesting for me.

09 Jan 07 14:16

What I am talking about is that it doesn’t really matter what the artist says. For that’s only about intention. Important is what the artwork says. One cannot stand near to it all the time explaining: „With this I wanted to show ...“
We do not know what Michelangelo had in mind when painting the Sixtina but I bet that it was not exactly about Doomsday.

An artwork, a play as well as a painting, should funktion without a manual. Looking for explanations, comments, critics opinions etc. only shows a mistrust in the language of art. It’s a problem of contemporary art that there is to much interpretation by art clerics and that words dominate. It’s all about themes for that is the thing those clerics can talk about. But painting for example is mainly about painting. Monet’s Nympheas are not about waterlilys. They are about painting and nothing else and that’s why they are so overwhelmingly important.

Of course every painting is telling a story that evokes a feeling or it is evoking a feeling that leads to a story whatever. The story the viewer sees in your painting isn’t necessarily the same you see in it. More often than not it’s a quite different one. And the main thing is that these stories have the tendency of being stereotypes. Just put a man and a woman in one and the same picture and automatically you have all this gender debate in your painting. That’s what Eric Fischl does. But that’s only feeding the clerics. If you want to tell another story you have to be very precise and eager to give no occasion for stereotypes to take over.

09 Jan 07 18:48

I agree with you, the artwork speaks by itself, much better than we do. I’d rather let it be read and not talk about it , as you said depends on who sees it, its a story or another. I guess I need more time, I haven't been painting that long.

Desnudo en Rojos
Desnudo en Rojos
Desnudo en Rojos

nudes

12 Dec 09 15:54

Incredible texture, so life like... I can almost expect the legs to move!

seated man on red background
seated man on red background
seated man on red background

nudes

Raul en cuclillas
Raul en cuclillas
Raul en cuclillas

experimenting with watercolours

24 Feb 07 15:50

This is my favourite amongst your works. It has its own light; it does not depend on an external light source that bounds it up with a setting.

nude on whites
nude on whites
nude on whites

from a few sketches I took from him

Sandra and Carlos
Sandra and Carlos
Sandra and Carlos

A first attempt to paint two lovers.

24 Feb 07 15:40

The heads are great. Solid like big pebbles on a beach. I think one could have even dared a composition without the arms.

24 Feb 07 16:38

This is a sketch I did a few years ago, and the arms formed a kind of knot which I didn't work much,(I just worked his face ) I have started a second version of this, on a larger format including this time this beautiful knot that ties them up.

26 Apr 11 15:07

very nice.

un desnudo real
un desnudo real
un desnudo real

a real nude

La mirada de Raul
La mirada de Raul
La mirada de Raul

Raul's eyes say all that has to be said.

Raul standing
Raul standing
Raul standing

nude

27 Apr 07 18:31

My dear you were born to do acquarel. Love it.

10 Jun 07 19:13

Hi, Karen. I see you just answered Hillel so you must be on line. Sorry to be using this space but I don't have your personal e-mail. Are you coming to Trapani? And when will you be there?

10 Jun 07 20:43

Of course I'll be in Trapani. I'll get there the 4th of July and be there two weeks. doesn't it seem as though we already know each other?
Are you going to be there??

11 Jun 07 08:49

Yes, it does! And yes, I will. Only for a few days though... How I would like to have two weeks as well...

Raul
Raul
Raul

Trying to find my way towards a more expressive and free way of painting.

Raul 3.
Raul 3.
Raul 3.

Energy,light and colour.

09 Aug 07 19:50

Karen I like the new paintings very much. This new portrait is very good. the head and background interacting very nicely... the best "Raul" to date. Mind you his expression, I wouldn't exactly call it a hard look but more of a perplexed look that says, at least to me. "I work hard all day, I provide for my family, just once I'd like to come home, let loose a little, maybe go out, socialize, have some fun! But no I have to sit still in this house every night AND I MEAN
STILL LIKE A ROCK. Damn that woman! She's a tyrant and CRAZY AS A BAT".

10 Aug 07 16:46

And isn't he right? I’m crazy painting so many Raul’s , although I bet there are many more I haven’t reached with my brushes. Its true I’m a bit tyrant....... but I think he likes to be painted. !I'm going to make him famous!

10 Aug 07 18:36

Oh, dear me! Karen, I am so happy for you. This is really working.

My friends, they have to put up with it. Companions I mean. Not every body has the honor to be under an artist's bittersweettyrany.

24 Mar 08 20:08

Karen:
Davis, enhorabuena por tu color, tu movimiento, tu libertad a la hora de crear formas, tu falta de miedo, nunca dejas de sorprenderme porque no dejas de experimentar.

Davis:
Eso espero, seguir experimentando.

Karen:
La vorágine que manejas, aunque me recuerda en cierta medida al chileno Roberto Matta, es absolutamente personal, uno nunca sabe si vas a introducir una reminiscencia clásica, o un personaje de Disney, pero en tus cuadros reina el color impúdico , excesivo y vibrante.

Davis:
Mis raíces tropicales.

Karen:
Espero poder ver tu trabajo al natural.

Davis:
Espero que un día eso sea posible, claro que sí.
Por cierto, me encantaría poder posar y encargarte un retrato como este que tienes en tu página "Raul 3".

24 Mar 08 20:10

Karen, me gusta tu obra porque es honesta.

25 Mar 08 22:29

Gracias David, cuando quieras.

la siesta
la siesta
la siesta

still working under the "dopo trapani" influence.

07 Sep 07 10:15

The interaction between the “inside” and the “outside” is one of painting’s great issues. The way we “open” or “close” a figure makes all the difference. It changes our way of conceiving space. Either as flat areas of certain form interacting with their outlines and quality of surface (sort of Matisse way of looking at things), or as a unit of light and air molecules that form space and shapes as they mingle all over the painting (sort of Cézanne way of looking at things). Your last two Rauls showed a turn towards a more painterly attitude, more Rembrandt like, if Rembrandt had used intense colours. This one is more Durer like. It is more linear and closed within its outlines but the forms as closed areas don’t seem to have been intended to interact as such. So they end up a little separate. Like roommates who share the same roof but they don’t supplement one another.

In your men in red background this contrast between the inside and the out side worked because it was clear that this was the concept. Judging by most of your latest work, I got the impression that this concept is not what you were after these days.

(I may just be saying all this out of green envy ‘cause you paint so much and I don’t, dear girl. So, don’t hate my green soul…)

07 Sep 07 12:40

Hi Maria, well I never thought it could have anything to do with Durer, I worked it under the same spirit as the others, I think it gives a more linear impression because it is very long, and it looses detail when reduced so much. The figure is treated with bright red colours that contrast very much with the blue whites , and reduced this turns out in a very contrasted outline. Nevertheless it is true that it stands out very much, well I think paintings have their own life sometimes, like a child, you try to work it out and expect it to come your way, but more often than not it comes differently. And sometimes we dont SEE the painting when working in it night and day, it’s good to see reactions. I will not have time to paint until October, so don´t turn green, we all have these periods of artistic inactivity.As soon as I have a while I will comment your last painting, the one with a question hanging about it, I haven't had time these days, and I wanted to tell you what I felt about it. I'm sending the painting in a larger format to your e-mail, ok? tell me how you see it bigger.

07 Sep 07 16:15

Dear Karen,
The larger image you sent me is indeed quite different. The red of the body is warmer and more vivid and the white of the sofa, paper and book on the table as well. So, red and white play a game of back and forth vibration as you look at the painting. I don’t think this work had anything to do with Durer either. I just used his name as a contradiction to Rembrandt’s way of making outlines dissolve; they are the two names used as typical examples in Heinrich Wolfflin’s work where he deals with the terms “painterly” and “linear”. And I think your latest work tends to be more painterly than linear.

I should expect a couple of friends of ours to come in now, objecting to my putting labels on things. Well, I think sometimes such terms help us understand what we are talking about better. And their inadequacy sometimes also helps us define better what it is exactly that we introduce as novelty in our work. (Do you really object to it?)

Back to what I was saying, it still seems to me that the red figure stands out with a hard outline, only that in the picture you e-mailed me it seems justified in a different way. I am not sure of the yellow behind the sofa (is it a window?) and the table exceeding the painting on the left. They may be weakening the white and red contrast, if its intensity was part of your intention.

Carlos
Carlos
Carlos

Portraits,light and the way I see it coming from within each person.

La luz en Carlos
La luz en Carlos
La luz en Carlos

Portraits

10 Jun 08 05:45

Karen

I've of coarse been looking at your images on this site a fair bit since I've arrived as you have one of the strongest voices as a figurative painter here. Your boldness with color use is inspiring.The unfinished quality you remarked on in my work is something I think livens this image with a fresh feeling. There is always something so satisfying by someone working in representation but retaining a transparency of process.Your work, especially with this portrait shows a real love of painting in such a sensual physical way. I could almost be in a carnival looking through these colors . It is a pleasure to sit with your work.

I really appreciate your feedback. You give such a lovely testimonial of how an image might evoke some sense of history and hopefully a feeling of affinity or recognition with the image.

Best regards
Patrick

31 Oct 08 20:47

I love it!!!

27 Feb 10 21:31

This is one of the best things you’ve ever done. It’s so free and melodious and colourful and filled with love and appreciation. It has music in it and joy and hope. So I will keep my fingers crossed for you to be able one day to repeat something like this again and again and again . . .

Hanjo
Hanjo
Hanjo

detail

03 Jun 08 17:30

Karen, as far as I can see you did a very good job. When I compare this final version with the one you sent to me beforehand I have to say that you mastered all the little problems which are hidden in the details, the ears, the eyes, the mouth and so on, even in the colouring. So I am very happy and in addition very proud that you undertook this challenge to do my portrait. And you mastered it successful. Thank you very much.

03 Jun 08 18:31

Well, when doing a portrait of someone you know, the challenge is to paint something of the essence of that person, it doesn’t rely necessarily in the measurements, or the texture of the skin, it is difficult to define and I never really know where it is. I know that sometimes it’s there, and the next minute it’s gone. I’ve been trying to grasp a bit of the fragility I could see in your gaze, I think it’s there.

03 Jun 08 19:43

Truly a beautiful portrait, even if it is of Hanjo. When are you going to undertake a portrait of me? My only request is it be a full figure, actual size portrait in the nude. Besides for your usual material, you'll require a goodly supply of Alka Seltzer, Pepto Bismal or some other anti- nausea medication.

05 Jun 08 00:20

That's our Hanjo!
A superb work Karen.

06 Jul 08 21:10

Karen... you know you should really take up Hillel's challenge. It's sure to be one of the most entertaining of subject sittings you've had.
I'll bet you come up with a real cracker of an artwork too.

07 Jul 08 20:44

Well, I've offered myself to paint it! But I need him here, or at least some photos...How about it Hillel????

07 Jul 08 21:45

j-p???... alive..... he's a-l-i-i-i-v-e, A-A-A-L-I -V- E ! ! !
I'd heard that you perished under a huge load of dirty dishes, apparently just a nasty rumour... this is wonderful news.

Actually Karen I'm surprised you can't do it from memory but that being the case we'll have to put it off until I can get to Madrid. It just might work out really well for me as I suspect my wife is getting ready to throw me out and I'll need a place to stay until I can get back on my feet. Say maybe a year or so... three years tops!

Miguel
Miguel
Miguel

This is a detail of the last portrait I've been working in, Miguel.

Maria
Maria
Maria

From the series of portraits.

29 Jan 09 17:12

I really like to see this painting! And not only for I like the painter so much or the model which of course does a lot to this admiration. No, it’s the colours, the capture of the gaze, the way it resembles Maria. Those well known freckles that do not only bring back her face to my mind but the whole time I spent on her island. And I can sense the love the painter has put into this portrait brushstroke after brushstroke while trying to make all these colours in the end look like this wonderful woman. Thanks a lot Karen for doing it and congratulation for the result.

29 Jan 09 21:39

It is a privilage to be part of Karen's large portaits! Thank you dear.
As far as the freckles are conserned, I should really be very careful with Greek sun...

29 Jan 09 21:52

Wear the artist's hat Maria to protect your skin from the Greek sun. Of course you'll look great - just as Hanjo cut such a dashing figure in his cream fedora two years ago at Trapani.
Congratulations on a well-executed and superbly sensitive portrait, Karen, and thanks for sharing it with us.

29 Jan 09 22:52

All right, I would like to share this with you guys:
Karen and I seem to have a strange telepathy which is the reason why we call each other "brujas" = witches. Various incidents have contributed to this, last of which being some time ago, when I had her on my mind very vividly the whole day, until I got worried something might had happened to her. So I sent her an sms asking whether she was ok. She answered me: It has been all day that I've been working on your portrait...

02 Feb 09 18:02

Well Hanjo is right, it was made with love for this greek witch, that doesn't seem to need a telephone to contact me. Intuition, telepathy or special communication..who knows, anyway I enjoyed (and suffered) painting these naive and at the same time slightly dissapointed eyes, because I know them. Probably they have something of my own actual state of mind, because Maria's are livelier, but this is the risk one takes when painting a portrait, you can be there as much as the sitter. I also enjoyed painting a bigger format, (this is for you Hillel) I feel absolutely immersed in colours, these might not appear so evident in a small photo, but are there, and in bigger formats make the work more enjoyable and free, you start to feel addicted to them , once you've tried one, at least it happens to me!
Anyway,thanks for your comments, I couldn't answer before because I have been without internet at home, but every now and then I take a look and see what's going on, hope I am connected again soon.

03 Feb 09 16:51

Ok, I see your point... you feel like you can spread out a bit in a larger format. I understand that, it's just that I feel portraits, especially yours are very intimate so I visualize them as being smaller, more actually life sized than oversized. Its my problem not yours... in any case I do go along with the general consensus and think this is a lovely painting and one of your best.

03 Feb 09 20:03

That’s a funny idea that intimacy should show better in a smaller size. I mean standing in front of a portrait the size of Karen’s Maria or even more extreme in those I have with the text in my catalog (230 x 190 cm for a cropped face) it’s like touching the models nose with yours. And that indeed is a very intimate point of view isn’t it? So that means that you have to „walk“ in that face-scape for hours and hours and I can tell that one get’s to know it pretty intimate after that.

03 Feb 09 21:13

I think there are two senses of intimacy in question. One is the one that the painter feels when doing this large painting and, as Hanjo says walks on this facescape for hours. You really get to now the face you are working on really well even if, in my opinion, you can do the same in smaller scale. It is up to the artist.
The other is the sense of intimacy that the viewer can have. Here I’d say that closeness is not a synonym of intimacy. When you stand in front of a face this size it seems more likely to feel awe. The emotions that this face shows are being enlarged too and you might as well feel them heavy and their presence covering everything else including your own. If my comprehension of the word intimacy in English is correct, then it is more about experiencing the other’s inner world by letting it be confronted with yours, as both selves are part of the same dimension. Of course we don’t know if intimacy is the question at all here. Maybe this enlargement of emotions and urgency are the point and not intimacy.

03 Feb 09 23:02


“Aprender a mirar los ojos, a mirar lentamente, profundamente, aprender a escuchar con los ojos. Nadie puede soportar la interrogación del silencio, se ha escrito. Nadie puede soportar la interrogación de los ojos. Los ojos nos descubren y nos encubren. Cuánto tiempo tarda un hombre en ser dueño de sus ojos, cuánto tiempo he tardado yo en habitar mis ojos, vivir en ellos, poblarlos. Porque generalmente huimos la región de los ojos, demasiado clara, y nos agazapamos en los sótanos del cuerpo. Hay que irse a vivir a los ojos como a lo alto de la claraboya, a las claras buhardillas de la casa, a los cielos del cuerpo. Estar en mis ojos para que se me vea y para ver. Instalarse en los ojos como en las estancias más soleadas del cuerpo.”
Learn to look at the eyes, to look slowly, deeply, learn to listen with the eyes. It has been written that no one can endure the questioning of silence . No one can endure the questioning of the eyes. Eyes reveal us and conceal us. How long does it take a man to be the owner of his eyes, how long has it taken me to dwell in my own eyes, live in them, inhabit them. Because usually we avoid the eye region, too clear, and we crouch down in the cellars of the body. We should install ourselves in the eyes, like in the upper part of the skylight, in the clear luminous attics of the house, the skies of the body.
To be in my eyes, to be seen and to see. To install oneself in the eyes the sunniest rooms of our body.

This was written by Paco Umbral, in his book “Mortal y Rosa”, which I read a long, long time ago. Today this short text came to me again, and it seemed to describe very well the way I approach these portraits of people I know, the way I revere the eyes, the clear windows that introduce me into the person I’m painting, the most important part of a face. It seemed so casual, and at the same time so related to them, that I thought I’d share it with you all. More than about intimacy or distance it is more about diving into this liquid part of ourselves that say so much, without uttering a word.

05 Feb 09 18:59

Maria...Maria...I know her???? Hanjo do you like my BIG friend???
I love it!!!

07 Feb 09 15:19

Karen, questo ritratto di Maria è una meraviglia.

07 Feb 09 18:42

Ciao Vito,e
grazie, è un commento che mi lusinga specialmente perchè viene da te, che qualche volta mi hai detto che non capisci il senso dell'arte figurativa e non la sai commentare e neppure vuoi farlo.un baccio.

Atracción
Atracción
Atracción

A different side of me.

08 Nov 11 00:19

Congratulations on this fine painting Karen. It's a remarkable departure from your previous work, and demonstrates a growing technical mastery with light and colour. Personally I find you much more at ease in this work - despite it being such a difficult subject. I look forward to futher similar explorations of themes devoid of the human figure in which you succeed in loading with expression, as you have done here.

08 Nov 11 17:08

It does look like a fine work. Very interesting forms in the shoal (rock formation) and I agree with JP that the overall feeling is one of ease and sureness. But I think Karen's main project has been and will most likely continue to be the human figure, flesh and portraiture, a much more difficult undertaking for her and in general. Why we don't necessarily do what comes easiest is a mystery but I think Karen can practically taste what she's after in her paintings of the human figure and has on occasion come very close to complete success. I think it's not so much getting there as the frustrating and challenging chase itself that sustains this very brave artist's interest.

08 Nov 11 22:23

Well, you are right again, painting these images of underwater reflections is easier and makes my life easier too, but something of the risk , the difficulty and the challenge that I find in painting a face , is lacking. But the pain is not there either. Water and sea images are deeply rooted in my memory and my feelings of well being , freedom and peace.
Usually I feel secure finding my way through the colored waters, but not with these ephemeral movements ,reflections and transparencies, in which nothing is really clear. I have to try myself with them, and will continue investigating. What am I doing right now? Well… right now I am painting a portrait of my daughter! How come you know me so well, Hillel?

12 Nov 11 23:02

Karen, please talk more about "Water and sea images are deeply rooted in my memory" you mention. I'm very interested to know a little of the life experience behind the artist's choice of subject.
This fresh and open work so well executed embodies your evocative phrase of "ephemeral movements ,reflections and transparencies". What difficulties did you encounter while you were painting it?
Lastly, I'm intrigued by what you say "the pain is not there" - how can painting a picture be painful? What significant difference can there be between the sea of your memory, and a person's face?

13 Nov 11 03:25

My, what a noise suddenly on the boulevard. What’s going on? Waking me up in the middle of the night. Shame on you! But okay, now that I cannot find back into sleep, let me just join the caterwauling.

Well, as everyone knows, I sometimes paint cakes instead of naked people. The cakes I call my studies from the nude or sometimes even my erotic images. You might find this a mere artist’s spleen. But you will find that it is a very sensible term when taking your time to ponder on it.

There are experiments showing that even when one takes away characters out of words or change them in their chronological order one is still able to read a text. It has to do with the ability of the brain to make sense to even incomplete things. That for example makes it difficult to find the typos in a text you have just written on your computer. So you have to change the medium and print it out to find them or let another person have a look at it.

So for to really see a body or a face we need to switch off the „autopilot“ that tells us everything before we even open our eyes. Bodies I knew by heart. Nudes I can paint while sleeping. Cakes not. And when I am working on a cake I almost do not know what I am doing. So I am forced to look much more precise than usual. And this procedure enables me to again have a clear and genuine approach towards a body or face without being entangled in blinding prejudice and routine. And by the way, nowadays it’s almost impossible to paint an erotic or sexual painting with using bodies, you can’t escape the various and extremely boring stereotypes.

But people of course only see a juicy cake in my cakes. And they like it more than disturbing faces with eyes pursuing them wherever they go. So they buy cakes instead and so they buy seascapes. In a world packed with images we have unlearned to really look at things and only seem to notice motives: this is a face, that is a house and over there that is a dog and that’s all.

And as discerning artists we abhor things that sell easily. So we are used to underestimate our still lifes, and all sorts of „scapes“ we also do. So Karen always only saw her seascapes as somethings that sells and therefore hadn’t such an artistic value and was shy to even show them or include them into her oevre. She preferred her faces and figures which are wonderful, no doubt about that. But I’m in love with exactly her seascapes for there I can find all of her emotions, her dreams, fears and longings. So I would better call them her mindscapes. I mean it’s so easy to imagine emotions in a face but you really have to dive in a painting that on its surface „only“ shows a shore to find these subtle hints of what’s going on in a person’s heart. I could sit in front of one of those feasts for the eye for hours and try to read the story behind all of these onethousandthreehundredandfortyseven hues of paint. It’s a solace that lasts for hours as well. Karen’s enormous understanding of people, her wonderful empathy, her love of life, her joy and wantonness as well as her being absolutely down to earth and realistic and incorruptable shows in them. It’s amazing!

13 Nov 11 19:23

Beautiful, Karen! Ya sabes lo que opino de tus últimas marinas, pero quiero decirlo aquí públicamente. La fotografía no les hace justicia. Hay que verlas y sentirlas físicamente. En tu última exposición - así lo creo- todo lo demás palidecía a su lado.
En arte no hay temas grandes o pequeños, y si me apuras, tampoco fáciles o difíciles. El rostro, y el cuerpo, humanos están sujeto a demasiados prejuicios - como recuerda Hanjo-. El paisaje nos devuelve a la pura abstracción. Recuerdo que empecé a apreciar los desnudos de Rubens, a quien ahora adoro, cuando dejé de ver mujeres regordetas con celulitis y empecé a ver bodegones de frutas (en Rubens tan voluptuosa es una manzana como una nalga).
En arte lo importante son los resultados y en tu caso son magníficos!
Congratulations!

13 Nov 11 22:41

Gracias Montse, llevas razón en cuanto al tema, pero eso , como otras muchas cosas lo he aprendido con el tiempo. Trabajando . Trabajando estas últimas marinas en las que no hay un horizonte, unas casas una perspectiva, y sólo te encuentras intentando describir un movimiento indefinido lleno de transparencias y de reflejos, de profundidades y de silencios. No he vuelto a tener tiempo de empezar algo nuevo dentro de esta línea, pero en cuanto pueda voy a volver a investigarla. Resulta tan difícil como el más complicado de los retratos y como en éstos me resulta más satisfactorio conseguir algo de lo que busco, cuando lo encuentro. Es verdad que este tamaño no se aprecia bien en esta web, lo achica demasiado, colgaré alguno con otra proporción quizá más tarde.
Empecé dejándome llevar por la idea de que en el paisaje no ponía tanto como en una cara, (conocida), pero poco a poco he ido descubriendo y admitiendo que el paisaje que yo hago, soy yo. Aunque resulte cursi decirlo, soy yo, igual que cuando pinto una cara que me interesa me pinto en ella también . No soy capaz de ponerme a pintar un parque o unas tierras castellanas, porque no las siento, pinto el mar porque es parte de mí , parte de lo que he sido, viví y añoro constantemente. Uno tarda en saber porqué pinta lo que pinta, el CÓMO va siguiendo una evolución pero el QUÉ es algo tan personal … a veces está muy claro, pero otras cuesta admitir nuestras propias razones. Hoy admito los dos temas , el retrato y el mar, como a dos hijos muy distintos a los que quiero por igual, siempre que me evoquen algo. Hay caras que no me dicen nada y aguas que tiran de mí cada día prometiéndome el silencio, la tranquilidad y el volver a ser mecida.

14 Nov 11 00:51

Sorry but I had to answer Montse in spanish first . I think that other languages can also be used here, this makes communication easier , doesn’t it? If someone is interested enough he or she will find a translator, and it encourages other people that might not speak English fluently to write in their own languages.
Well, my answer to Montse explained in a way your question. I have learnt through time that one chooses a theme for reasons that are never superficial, although one might think them to be so. The theme by itself doesn’t make the painting deep or important, it is what we put in it that makes it good or another canvas to turn to the wall. I started painting seascapes some time ago and convinced myself that it was a temporary choice, that proved to sell well, and so I continued doing them. Underestimating them. But after some years painting these two themes, portraits and sea images, I realized that in a way I was painting a longing, a desire to recover a feeling.
I grew up living by the sea for a few months every year, first in Alicante where our house had nothing to separate us from the wonderful view of the sea every morning, and then in Menorca. It was never the same, every day it changed , I remember opening my windows every morning wondering how he would look like that day. The spectacle was burnt in my memory together with sounds, smells , feelings and I would say even tastes. I think I have never experienced that happiness so full of physical elements in any other place. Well maybe I have, in the South of France, in the vasts grey beaches they have there, never ending lonely and wonderful places where I would sit for hours. If I could.

To your second question I have to say that the images like Siros, (I will upload it tomorrow) have been quite difficult for me. I consider I have to work on them much more. The constant movement of the water making it reflect the light sometimes and others letting you see what’s underneath was very complicated for me, and I also found that in those movements there was some kind of perspective too!
About the pain… well yes I have suffered painting a face, of course I have. Because in a face I know, I try to paint something that’s not in the surface, an elusive feature , difficult to define or to explain. It’s like trying to catch a light that moves, it is impossible. Not everybody wants to paint a portrait this way, I do, and I can tell you that sometimes it drives me crazy…
Painting a face is complicated, risky , very personal (we are a different person depending on who looks at us) and very exciting at the same time, it can turn out a shell, a shallow depiction of someone or it can say so much of the sitter that once you have seen it you somehow believe you have already met him/her. When I start one .. I never know what’s going to happen! And I just love that feeling.

A promise
A promise
A promise

one of my favorite "mindscapes", as Hanjo called them.

14 Nov 11 02:01

I’m really taken aback that here in the small reproduction so much of the rich gamut of colours and what the different layers reveil in the original is missing. The atmosphere is there, no doubt, but the story or the traces of the brush work that makes it such a fantastic mindscape or even better a heartscape isn’t quite visible. I never minded this lacking in a reproduction of a portrait or body. Alone what the tiny remnants of the preparatory coat in a bright and sunny orange does to it is overwhelming. So maybe one day we will have another Trapani like encounter where all of this could be seen. And I’m afraid that all I’ve said about this piece will be true for Hillels latest one too.
What a pity. But nevertheless I love to see this painting here . . . it was about time!

22 Apr 12 21:22

Saying it in another way, Karen, I love these landscapes-portrait- paintings! They are really like nudes paintings! Maybe that's what you commented on the other painting, that you've spent a long periode of your life observing the sea. I can feel that in these paitings!
More of those!!!

Siros
Siros
Siros

This is the painting I was talking about.

03 Dec 11 05:34

Karen, I am most comfortable with this piece when I see only the bottom third, that is, in this fragment alone you are closest to realizing your intentions. I greatly enjoy your masterful way with brush and palette. For your nudes, when you strip away clothing to force your subject to present naked, so must you ask the landscape to present without illusion, without vanishing point or rendering. Forgive me, Karen, if I speak too boldly, but if I can convert one person to 'pure abstract' painting, then I am allowed to quit!

06 Dec 11 14:55

Well, Arnold thanks for your comment anyway. I am painting at the moment two images that have no vanishing point, no houses in the horizon, just a bit of spatial information, enough to let the viewer know what the painting is about. They are a freer look into this immense game of reflections and transparencies water has, which makes them apparently more abstract, but it is not probable that I end up painting abstract images.
I think that my nature makes me firmly attached to reality, and letting it go completely is not in my plans. But one never really knows, and if time has showed me something it is that one mustn’t be closed to anything, so who knows?
If I can tell you the truth , I don’t understand this interest in “converting” (if I can use a religious term, for it seems a religious attitude) someone into your “Abstract” faith. Why? Would it make me a better artist to cut the painting and leave it only with color strokes? If the artist is honest with himself and paints as his inner self asks him to, isn’t this much more important than adjusting to what the exterior trends ask of him? What makes you feel so sure that an artist should be abstract to really be one? I have a close example of someone who puts her imprint in whatever she does be it abstract or figurative, her soul is in whatever she touches, you can read it, you can almost hear it, it doesn’t matter in which style or form she manifests her art, it’s there. The atmosphere she creates appears in the images of death or in those of silent abstract color compositions. Of course one has to have something inside. She happens to be my sister you can take a look at her work in this link [LINK]http://www.sandrasue.es[/LINK]
I think that one should only create, in one way or another but do it honestly and whatever one has inside will come out. Sometimes it’s worth it.

07 Dec 11 04:36

As always, Karen, I am humbled by the passion of your writing about Painting.
I am paper to your fire.

12 Jan 12 11:38

I can smell the sea!!!!

Lucia
Lucia
Lucia

Lucia seems to have an interior light that always shows in her face, I painted her here just relaxing, and it came out.

Yo que creí que la luz era mía..
Yo que creí que la luz era mía..
Yo que creí que la luz era mía..

Strange how the art work doesn't really show how the artist feels. If someone were to judge by this painting the general impression would be absolutely wrong. I guess I use Miguel's face as an excuse to fly within some limits. I know this face now very well, and nevertheless it still has this enigmatic question in his eyes that I cannot read, but that strikes me every time I look into it.

20 Feb 12 10:54

Thanks for your comment Jp and congratulations for the changes in the web from me too!
Well as I wrote in this other portrait, the effect the viewer gets when one paints, doesn’t necessarily coincide with the mood or intention of the painter. The two last portraits have made me ponder on this. Claudia’s painting has been done with a closer bond of course, but in no way more relaxed , for I was influenced by the fact that she had to see herself, find herself in it, in such a way that in the end the whole painting has a kind of constraint of colors and brushstrokes that make it look “more delicate” as you well say. It was not my intention, let alone a phase. In fact, this is the second painting, the first was completely covered. If the bond is too close the hand is not as free, and there is no closer bond than mother-daughter is it? (Or more difficult too).
A few days after painting Claudia, I was feeling a little low, overwhelmed with problems and tired, it was a Sunday, I had to go to the studio because one of my students couldn’t come any other day, so in spite of not feeling like it, I went, and decided to paint too as she worked . We worked in silence for 4 or 5 hours, I finished Miguel’s portrait. It was late and I went home.
The next day I saw the painting I couldn’t believe the energy that it had, and it even felt as positive energy!.
Claudia’s painting was done under a certain stress and it looks delicately relaxed, and Miguel’s painting while feeling very low and somehow all the energy I had lost was absorbed by the painting itself…. one can try to explain the paintings, but it is true that somehow they have a life of their own, isn’t it?

29 Feb 12 11:15

Yeah, here it is! Did I say I love it? Well here I say it again and again. And it's much better than the one I have and that already was a very good one!
The funny thing is that I always imagine it as being about four square meters at least. So how do you manage to put such a powerful thing into only 0,36 square meters?
Miguel, yes, that's your Katja!

The piano
The piano
The piano

A portrait of my daughter Claudia.

17 Feb 12 23:34

Lovely work Karen. You seem to be entering into a phase of a more delicacy of touch that is happily manifested with this excellent portrayal of the artist's daughter. In this instance I get the impression of a close and more relaxed bond, as opposed to the gaze of scrutiny in your other portraits of models.

11 May 12 20:00

Beautiful, Karen! Beautiful model and beautiful picture!

Lucia
Lucia
Lucia

Portrait of Lucia

The promise
The promise
The promise

Inviting waters in Siros.

Again Miguel
Again Miguel
Again Miguel

Again Miguel.Returning to the pleasure of drawing a face.

Hanjo
Hanjo
Hanjo

Drawing Hanjo's expression, mixing graphite and pastel.

07 Sep 14 16:39

Well, let me think. I have seen this face before. Hm hmm . . . Was this the director from a theatre, or was he the manager of a horse race event somewhere in Wiltshire? My my, I cant remember but this face somehow seems very familiar to me . . .

Janela
Janela
Janela

A painters pause.

14 Feb 13 17:28

I didn't want this to disappear from the homepage so soon, so there's only one way to prevent that - by adding a comment. Other than the light, airy and relaxed ambiance of the sitter in sunlight, there's something of a pop-art feel to the colours with lots of simplified flat planes. Very fresh, with your touch getting lighter and more confident with each new painting. Another nice accomplished work Karen - my compliments. Hanjo will surely appreciate the sky blue in the subject's hair, that somehow works like a full-stop completing a sentence, bringing the painting to a restful conclusion.

14 Feb 13 21:33

Thanks JP for your comment. I did wanted to focus on the light and not on the drawing or realistic effects of whatever appeared in the room. I was interested in the stimulating atmosphere the interaction of pure colors surrounding the painter can create. How strongly they can transport us to a magic summer-day evening, when you can almost “see” the air floating, time is slow, and the painting could be just what you wanted it to be.

18 Feb 13 20:02

The very first thought, no, not even a thought, a reaction was: I WANT MY OLD STUDIO BACK ! ! ! My did I love that place with its sun in the summer and that mysterious, spirit lifting light coming through the blinds. Now my studio windows are oriented to the north. Yes, yes, I know, I know, the perfect light for a painter etc. etc. No friends, not at all. I have my special lighting with which I do all my paintings, in spring, summer, autumn and winter no matter if there is daytime or nighttime or whatever else. So let me alone with light from the north. I want sunlight, bright and warm sunlight, making its way through the blinds in summer and warming the soul in our long and cold winters. And then, as an addition, I want Karen to be in my studio to paint all these beautiful situations, with me in the picture or without, I don’t care. No, wrong, I care. It should be with me. For that guarantees that I’m there when she paints in my studio. And a studio with Karen I think is much much better than one without her, definitely, at least for to improve my Spanish.

07 Sep 14 16:41

Well, I can't help but emphasise everything what I have said about the old studio as well as about Karen being there. And the longing is not fading, not at all but in the contrary.

Claudia
Claudia
Claudia

Part of a painting I'm still working

01 Nov 13 13:08

So here it finally is, a stunning portrait at least for everyone who knows the sitter. You really got her. Congratulations. And what I find amazing beyond comprehension is that you managed to show all this in a format that somehow doesn't even exist . . .

01 Nov 13 13:19

Well, as you already know, I am a witch my friend. Witches do these things....

Nerea
Nerea
Nerea

Woman in white coat

07 Sep 14 11:56

This image looks better with every time I see it. I discover more and more details of this impressing face-scape. The playful light, the texture of the hair, the fur . . . and here it's possible to see it in a bigger format what makes it even better . . .

Der Maler aus Stuttgart
Der Maler aus Stuttgart
Der Maler aus Stuttgart

The painter and the water.

En el metro
En el metro
En el metro

Leaving the intimate space.

24 Mar 15 09:11

I really like the concept and the colours and the openes of the brush work. So here you are opening a new field besides seascapes and portraits. And here you are able to keep a sketchy atmosphere you do not have in the seascapes and only sometimes in your portraits. And I see that you enjoy this freedom. For me it's avery good and promising beginning. I will come and kiss it . . .

05 May 15 01:06

Bravo ... Me siento honrado por su dedicación (I hope Google Translate has improved their service). Karen your new paintings are very good, they are definitely you, your painting style and measure but looser and more confident. I like this one best... it's a beauty.
Hello to all my friends, I hope you're all well. AP is still my preferred art site and I'm sorry for my lack of activity.

05 May 15 08:35

Well! At least I got you here again! That is something! And I’m glad for it. Un abrazo desde aquí, amigo mio. (I also prefer this one..: )

En el metro II
En el metro II
En el metro II

Painting unknown people, a step out of the intimate space.

20 Apr 15 22:59

I dedicate this scene to my friend Hillel, whose subway scenes were the second paintings I layed eyes upon, in this website.
I don't really care if it takes place in the subway or not, my only interest is focused in the people. Their attitudes, their faces, their body language. They are fast sketches of a moment.

03 May 15 13:21

I agree with Hanjo that the direction you seem to be taking with these last couple of works is definitely interesting. Visually quicker, the avoidance of detail, more dynamic, works very well in the context of individuals sharing a temporary travelling space. Nevertheless in this piece you've given them a heaviness, and an expression oblivious to each other's presence that makes them seem more like merchandise in transit, than people. The preponderance of a deep and cold blue adds to the feeling of shared isolation. In this sense it's quite different from the previous work [LINK] which is, to my mind, much more theatrical in it's use of colour, clothing, and physical "types". Here instead you've lowered the bar and gone for the monotonous happenchance of the situation rather than the individuals.

It's also interesting to see artists render their own version of a theme introducted by another on this site [LINK], setting up a narrative over time. I'm not sure if Hillel looks at ap anymore, but I'm sure he'd get a great kick out of your dedication. Good work Karen!

03 May 15 21:28

Each is portrayed with eyes shut. Do they not want see each other or anything? Or, do the individuals not want to be seen? Or, an expression of Jung's Collective Unconscious? The mostly blue color of the painting may also indicate loyalty, or reliability, as in "true blue". Blue also sometimes has been used to indicate contemplation and prayer. Blue is conservative, and dislikes change. Of course there's many ways one could see this picture, and I suppose that is one of the reasons I find it so intriguing. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

04 May 15 19:13

Well Gigi, it seems to me that actually the woman's eyes (only one is visible to the viewer) are open, and that she's focussing up at some objective in the distance, whereas, as you say, it's blatantly obvious that the men are completely blind to whatever it is that's going on around them.
Maybe it's exactly this, Karen's point?
Might you know if Jung had something to say about men opting out, and women who take on the role of communal visionary/leader?

I'm curious to understand if (we) men are being given a particularly negative judgement in this painting, and if so, are we deserving of the depiction? (actually maybe that very last query I should leave out, as it's only likely to garner responses of well-honed and long-prepared invective...)

Nevertheless it would be interesting to hear a woman's opinion the male role - always in respect to Karen's painting, of course.

Furthermore, I'm curious about your remark on the predominance of the colour blue, and I'd like to invite your opinion, if I may, of this painting in relation to Karen's previous work [LINK], which to me exerts a very different ethos, especially in terms of colour and human character.

04 May 15 19:56

I think the woman's head is tilted back in order to relax her neck muscles so that she can "cat nap" without the jolt of her head falling forward, and thus disturbing her quiet space. Try as I did, I still don't see that her eyes are open. I see that the three figures are unified two ways. Their eyes shut, and they are all wearing the color blue. I see no sexist judgements here.

Hanjo en La Hispana
Hanjo en La Hispana
Hanjo en La Hispana

A sketch of a moment gaze

30 May 15 14:53

Hanjo what were you thinking of there? You certainly don't look too convinced. Maybe you could throw some light on what was on his mind then, Karen? Strong colourful painting.. I think you've made that panama hat become his trademark.

30 May 15 19:18

And now what do I do? .... Seems the expression

In the subway
In the subway
In the subway

Subway scenes

27 Jul 15 12:18

Mmmmm, it simply is wonderful, delicious, stupendous, amazing, tremendous and, and, and . . .