Tuesday, December 27, 2016
I had never painted an underwater landscape before this year. And my first one was 180 feet long by seven feet tall! This is a small section of a mural for Motts Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. The mural utilizes a special paint that gives the water and fish a glowing quality. Much like regular landscape painting, the colors fade off in the distance, only with water, the fade off is much faster and is more blue in tint. I was stuck by the variety and populations of fish in the reefs. Although for my painting I assembled the very best combinations of color and texture, I was still was only able to capture a very small section of the massive variety of reef creatures.
My studio changed considerably during the painting of this mural. Every morning I looked forward to coming into the studio, which had transformed itself into a large aquarium. The colors were comforting and calming. I was delighted with the creatures as they emerged and developed. Some plant life I made up...just because I could...challenging divers who may one day visit my painting to identify the strange growths.
The fish took on personalities and seemed to watch me as I painted, took breaks and closed up for the evening. At times, they seemed to float and move. This mural was more real than any other I have done. Not because of realistic rendering, but because of the nature of painting water itself. It is fluid and floating. The patterns invite the eye to move and dance about the painting, not lingering too long in any one place.
The mural was painted on large sheets of special material and rolled up as each 30 foot section was completed. As I started on each new painting, there was a grieving as I rolled up the brightly colored completed section revealing stark white walls again. I wanted to start the next section as soon as possible. I found myself rushing to get the background water across the entire 30 feet within one day, just to take the bland whiteness away again. I missed the calm, floating feeling the light rays through the water gave in my studio.
The mural is installed at Motts now, and the studio walls are once again a stark white. I don't go into the studio much these days. I find it hard to be in the space. The murals brought life and light to it. And I was never alone when the fish were there with me.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
What a blast this was! I was notified about a month ago that my artwork won the Blue Man Group's Art Competition. They asked that I not post anything in social media about it until after the unveiling on Wednesday of this week. There was a notable cash prize, as well as a 10 ft x 10 ft blow-up of my artwork on the side of the Blue Man Group's theater in Chicago. And the original hangs in their lobby (photo above). The winning artwork fits their quirky performances that utilize splattered paint and other performance arts. We were told that there were 776 entries in the competition. I'm honored that my painting was one of the six winners!
I saw the Blue Man Group perform many years ago and was struck by their grasp of what makes us human. The large screen behind them, giving instruction, is very clever in pointing out attributes of human nature that we take for granted. It's amazing to me that we are looking at artificial intelligence coming into our lives today with driver-less cars, robotic dogs, drones and even more things are on the way in short order. At the time, I thought that the Blue Men were way ahead of their time...but in hindsight, they were only a few years ahead. The real A.I. is with us already. Personally, I prefer the Blue Man Group!
I made the decision to go to the unveiling of the artwork at the last minute. I was so glad I attended. The Blue Men did a special "art" themed performance for us and then we got to go on top of a double decker bus and get our photos taken with them. If you have a chance to get to Chicago, or to see one of their traveling show, it's worth the time. It will make you think deeply about what it is to be human.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Eventually, an idea came that submarines had periscopes and lots of equipment in them. And if I painted portals around the room with concerned sea creatures looking in, that it would soon have the appearance of a submarine, and less of an appearance of a scary operating room.
My idea was selected and I am now in the process of completing these rooms for the hospital. What a joy to know that my art will be bringing peace, joy and a pleasant distraction to little ones in discomfort. There can be no higher calling for an artist.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
A long time has passed. Nearly two years have gone by since my last entry into this blog. A short list of events tells you why:
• House sold for a loss, gave 1/2 of everything I had away..
• Had no home for several months, lived in a rented art studio and a friend's pool house.
• Father died.
• Established new friendships in a new city.
• Bought a much smaller house (1/3rd the size) on some land far from the city.
• Built an art studio
• Painted 15 murals
• Learned WordPress for building websites and designed 4 sites
• Changed the way I did business
• Published another book (the illustration above is from this book entitled: Life is Wonderful, It could be Verse!, By Art Holst) You can see it on my website at www.katherinelarson.com
• Found God again.
Sometimes you have to tear down everything you think you wanted and start over again. Sometimes it's life that does it to you, and sometimes you have to do it yourself. As a writer, painter and singer, these acts of destruction are required quite often. But the ability to do them rests on how stable the rest of your life is. This is the first time in my life that I have "subtracted" from what I was building, making, collecting...amassing. And I have to admit that it was very painful during the process. However, as I got further along, it began to get easier...quite literally lighter. My head was less cluttered with chatter, decisions became easier, goals became clearer.
As the dust from the rubble cleared, it was easy to sweep all the destruction away. Easy to start over, wiser now, more certain of what was needed and what was burdensome. His yoke is easy, his burden is light.