Breaking the Surface


“Breaking the Surface” is a selected group of paintings from a larger body of work. In these abstract paintings, the compositions are defined primarily by lines and colors that intersect, becoming the dominating forms within each piece.

I always begin my paintings the same way: I step back and start to visualize the first lines of the composition. Imagining those lines, I determine what colors they should be, and from there I mix my paint and draw those first lines. The initial lines can dictate many compositions, but once those lines and colors are on the canvas, the composition has already revealed itself. There are other choices—how dark do I want the colors? What texture do I want the paint?

I love the complexity of layering transparencies; I also love shading, and finding the range of subtle color shifts within the same color. I think of my paintings as “simplified complexities.” The colors in each painting are strategically chosen for how they will interact. I use these techniques to give my paintings the feeling of real organic forms.

I think a lot of people have a hard time accessing abstract art. At times it seems that abstract art is more about the philosophy behind the art than about the art itself. My paintings are about the experience you have while looking at them. Painting for me is an intrinsic action; I let my mind wander while I have a dialogue with my painting. I think those thoughts often find their way into my paintings. “Breaking the Surface” invites you to take a closer look and just experience what these paintings make you feel.


                                                                                                                        -Karen Stern