Karen Muntean - Artist

I've just posted to the web site six images from my new series based on cut-paper maquettes, mentioned in this blog post previously.  I decided to call them "Harmonics" after reading this quote from John Elderfield in his book, "the Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse":


"the reassertion of harmony and the healing of alienation is a basic theme of Matisse's art."


I am of course not Matisse but I could hope these images head in that direction anyway.

The "new painting at last for 2016", after further reflection, has morphed into "Birds & Bees Arabesque" in 2017.  Hopefully it is now finished.....I like it better anyway.  


I was having trouble getting started after producing very little in 2016.  In thumbing through art books and catalogs, I came upon photos of Matisse in his old age (my age) doing his cut-paper works.  So I decided to give that a try.  I painted up a bunch of sheets of paper with acrylics, using an ancient Egyptian palette.  By cutting and gluing I created four maquettes that I could work from to make some 20" x 30" paintings.

I heavily textured the surface of the canvases and panels I intended to work on, with spackle and pumic gel, sanding them down when dry with a belt sander.


I have done these four panels and am now working on a 30" x 30", with ambitions for a 30" x 60".

The method is certainly not original and the resulting images aren't profound, but they are really fun and have me looking forward to working again, so for now I'm happy.



Italy made me want to draw and this trip introduced me to Lucca and it's pre-Renaissance imagery.

I drew on canvas this Longobard angel, then Leonard Cohen died, so this became a tribute painting to his haunting poetry and songs.


Here it is October and I finally have one new painting to add to my website!  After having my studio in storage half the year, shoulder surgery in February, moving house in July, traveling in September, I can at least say I did one painting in 2016.  This is an addition to my 2013 series of Arabesques, an enlargement and elaboration on a composition I did then and reworked until I destroyed it.  So out of the ashes, so to speak.  

Arabesque with Birds     36" x 36"  acrylic on canvas


I liked this quote from "Lisette's List" by Susan Vreeland, a novel set in the south of France, dealing with paintings by Pissarro, Cezanne and others who painted in that area.


"He knew that beauty gave comfort, that there was solace in the play of colours against one another, and upliftment of spirit in the grace of an arabesque curve."

In February I had my left shoulder replaced so while I'm in recovery I have been reading a lot (Netflix too).  In "A House of My Own:  Stories from My Life" by the Mexican American writer Sandra Cisneros there is a chapter about painting her house in San Antonio, Texas purple, and the community reactions to this choice.  


In this piece she says "Color is a language....a story....an inheritance.  !Que Vivan los Colores!"  I agree for sure.  

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