September 27 - October 20, 2019
Kathleen Craig– Abstract Imagery
Helena Davis Gallery
Friday, September 27, 2019
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public
Closing Artist Talk
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Free and Open to the Public
The inspiration for my paintings is twofold: in the beginning there is a subject. Could be a small scarlet car passing under a freeway bridge on a drizzly day. Or a photo of a chair-bound senior citizen, or the ridiculous number of thermoses on top of my fridge. Ultimately, however, the painting is inspired by what happens on the canvas. Once something is up there, then that is the subject.
I can get very attached to my original idea, but my first duty is to make a good painting. Still, the original plan and the end product do have a strong relationship because the second, third, fourth and however many renditions of the painting grow from each other. I try to correct each mistake or solve each problem and the painting doesn’t just change, it grows, as I do, I hope.
My process starts with some loose, expressive drawing with vine charcoal on a pad or with paint directly on the canvas. I get where I’m going quicker if I keep the basic tenets of composition in mind – balance, tension, scale, rhythm of color, line and shape. I generally mix my colors on my palette and use the scrub-off-and-replace method rather than mixing on canvas. When time allows I try to reach a resolution of the whole painting in one go. Then I revise and revise. I’m an editor by nature; I sand and scrape, and if the paint is still wet, get out the thinner and wipe. Then, begin again.
I love the way each painting not only suggests a new direction but also seems to tell me to do it better next time. Today, I would like to develop my work in two directions – complexity and darkness - without losing sight of what I am already doing.
Kathleen Craig wasn't born to be a painter. As a child, museums made her yawn, and while she excelled at getting dirty, she showed no talent for turning messes into works of art. Nevertheless, her family instilled in her an abiding respect for the arts and almost an awe for artists, whom she considered to be magically gifted people from some planet far, far away.
Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, Kathleen went to college in Ohio, where she majored in English, and afterwards earned her living as an editor, first in New York and later in Baltimore, where she had moved with her graduate student husband. It was then, finally, that she was persuaded to try a drawing class at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
The teacher armed them with vine charcoal and some big sheets of newsprint. He set up a simple still life on a table and suggested the time-honored technique of "drawing what you see, not what you know" to reproduce its contours on paper. Somehow, by the end of the session, Kathleen had managed to divorce herself from her overactive left brain and created a drawing that actually looked like a table. Class was over but she wanted to keep going all night.
Not long after she settled in central Virginia with her family, Kathleen swapped out her day job for as much dedication to the practice of her art as she could squeeze in between part time work and three children. Eventually the children grew up and Kathleen could spend all her time in the studio.
She plunged into the world of abstraction and after some experimentation settled on abstract imagery, in which objects, places and figures are clear enough to have emotional content, but color and composition play predominant roles.
She believes that nameable elements help the painting with its primary job of communication. "I want to enjoy my work, but I also want anybody – with or without experience in the arts – to get it. I don’t want to make the viewer worry about what they are supposed to be seeing."
More information: kathleencraig.net