The beauty and truth of visual language transcends the simplistic and often awkwardness of verbal language. This beauty and truth are what attracts me to painting. Painting is an opportunity to define deeper meaning when the simple spoken word will not satisfy. The universal visual language of painting translates human emotion and specific experiences into a visually poetic dialogue easily recognized and understood.

I am inspired by nature’s designs. Although color, shape and form are all very important in my paintings I do not carry any preconceived notions about the composition to any painting. In order to control the fluidity of watercolors and liquid acrylics, often, I paint flat. To get an abstract view, I rotate the painting and view it from unusual angles. I continually scan the painting to see where the next stroke will feel balanced. I paint intuitively, each mark I make dictates where the next mark will be placed. There's a sense of satisfaction in the expressive, gestural strokes I make, in that they are uniquely mine, much like a person's handwriting or like the signature brushstrokes made in “Starry Night” that are uniquely Van Gogh. It is authentic to me as an individual and an artist.

Movement is an aspect that’s integral to me, like the movement in Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” or the movement of the flow of materials in a Helen Frankenthaler painting. The physical act of painting becomes a poetic movement itself, like a dance or ceremony. Therefore, each painting is an important aspect of an overall ritual. A ritual important both in my art and my life, balance. To consider a painting "finished", each mark I make must be balanced by another until the brush strokes are "woven", in a sense, together, adding to the overall balance until it feels complete.

Karen Kauffman

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© All words and images: Karen Kauffman, 2006.
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