Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Solo exhibition - "Verdigris" River Arts Gallery, Damariscotta

 It's been a long but satisfying day because I just returned from hanging my solo exhibition, "Verdigris", in the West Gallery of River Arts and it feels good to have it up and ready for the public. The following is my statement about the show which contains 53 works in various mediums and a large variety of subjects. I hope you get a chance to see the show and also come to my reception which is July 11 from 5-7(due to the holiday on the 4th). All are welcome!
The more I paint the more I realize just how important my life experiences, dreams, and environment, are to my work. I paint images that are not so much literal translations of the immediate world but rather ideas and feelings that come from those places to tell a story or express something about the beauty and mystery of nature.
    I work from photos taken of familiar places and during road trips with my husband throughout Maine, New England, and the southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. The photos are used only as basic reference points which refresh my memories of sensory perceptions experienced along the way.
     Roads and trails have become a part of my recent landscapes, as well as New England style buildings with the simplest architecture. To me these dwellings have great presence and are representative of the resolute people who built and lived in them for generations.  I’ve felt the same connections while standing in awe in the ancient dwellings carved from the cliffs of Gila and high plateaus of Mesa Verde National Park.
    My show is a compilation of this life journey and how I see things. Every new scene builds upon the next in a storage bank of images. Thoughts and impressions run together when I think about a new painting. In the studio I pull cloud formations from one photo and combine them with subjects from another, colors and tone values are pushed a little…or a lot. I paint in my head often…those are the best paintings.
   Domestic animals are an interesting subject to paint. Dogs, cats, and horses have been such an important part of my life and have done more for me physically and spiritually than I can express. I find their body language and character a challenge to capture in any medium.
    Nocturnal paintings are a favorite genre because of the limited light conditions in which darkness or moonlit effects can create mysterious scenes. This type of light is a challenge to paint but offers more opportunities for subjects done with subdued color palettes and very close tone values.
  I’d love to hear comments from you anytime. Please feel free to contact me @ or catch me on Facebook or my website where new work is posted often in my blogs.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Karen Pettengill

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Green Donkey

It's been a long hiatus from blogging. They seem slightly redundant when you can post new artwork and the stories behind them in much quicker fashion, and in my case, reach a larger audience on Facebook. Most of my Facebook "friends" are other artists and feedback from them has been great and I enjoy seeing their work as well.
One of the reasons for this post is to launch my new website which has been updated and has a crisp new look. I also have a solo show coming up in two months and it's time to start getting the word out.
More info about the show will be posted in subsequent blogs, FB and Linked In.
This is a new 14 x 11 watercolor - The Green Donkey, and features a scene from a small village we traveled through in southern New Mexico.
This little town had definitely fallen on hard times and we noticed that most buildings were run down and vacant. But the artistic spirit was alive and well and expressed in the form of full sized fiberglass donkeys hand painted by local artists and then placed all over town! Hence the colorful donkey in this painting. I noticed others on roof tops, in parking lots and in front of public buildings....all colorfully painted in different ways.
The architecture of this shop was so interesting and reminded me of the building facades in western movies.What can I say about the skies of the southwest....words cannot express...