Photo Shoot by Karen Matheis

What a glamorous day I had as I participated in a photo shoot.  I was pampered when a professional stylist created my hair and make-up, and an expert photographer designed camera frames.  

This frenzy of activity is in an effort to create a business-like photo of me for potential promotional material.  

I was very impressed with my photographer who took every detail into account.  

Delft Blue by Karen Matheis

Last week, I was in the Old Holland Paint section at my favorite art store.  Old Holland colors are known for their good quality and have incredible hues. After opening the top of a tube and examining, I chose the Delft Blue.  

Wow, Delft is an incredible color to work with, and I am in love.  It  mixes well with grey, giving it a punch. It's pure color has a slight purple to it and is quite vivid. 

I have been mixing Delft with other colors all week long to create a wonderful palette.  I am pairing with a grey orange on some paintings. 

University Of Kansas Medical Center Project by Karen Matheis

Kelly and I toured the construction site for the University of Kansas Medical Center where nine of my paintings will hang.   I was able to visualize the colors and the light around the space.  The lobby of this building will look amazing when finished!

 

Kelly and I with our hard hats at the University of Kansas Medical Center while it is under construction. 

Kelly and I with our hard hats at the University of Kansas Medical Center while it is under construction. 

In the studio: Daily Routine by Karen Matheis

My summer routine includes running six miles in the morning before it gets too hot.  After errands or gardening, I work in the studio.  I listen to Dave Brubeck's "Time Out."  My cat watches me while I paint. 

The studio is a pleasant place to work. There are tubes of paint everywhere.  The windows let in nice light to work with. 

Many hours are spent in the studio, and I spend much time listening to music, the radio, and podcasts. 

Line and Flat Plane by Karen Matheis

 

I am thinking about Barnett Newman's "zips."  His zips were thin lines created by masking off thin portions of the canvas, then painting squares around it.  Sometimes he painted a line on top of the painted squares.  Although some thought he was crazy when he first started his new style of painting, he was very influential for minimalist and colorfield painters. 

Newman rejected the painterly abstract expressionist style when he created his zips.  Newman believed that the modern world had rendered traditional art subjects and styles invalid, especially in the post-World War II years shadowed by conflict, fear, and tragedy. He wrote: "old standards of beauty were irrelevant: the sublime was all that was appropriate - an experience of enormity which might lift modern humanity out of its torpor."

Newman had specific ways in which he wanted to viewer to see his work.  The viewer is to stand about 18 inches from the work.  Newman wanted the experience of a spark when standing before his work.  

 

Working in the Studio by Karen Matheis

Steadily working in my studio.  I am currently working on nine large paintings that are scattered throughout my space.  It's rather messy with plates of paint everywhere. 

Blocking out all external "noise,"  I am present, absorbed in the moment of where I am with the painting.  Training in meditation and pranayama ( breathing) in yoga helps me achieve my goals with staying focused in my work. 

So nice to spend these long days painting.  I start my day with an active run in the morning, and end my days with a nice long walk. 

Color: Red/Purple by Karen Matheis

 A trim of a 1950's house of a friend has led to an investigation and research of (probably lead based) deep red/purple paint hues of this era. Color coordinating windows with the yellow bricks of the exterior led us to finding the original color of the trim under some peeling paint.  

Although red/purple may seem like an unusual color for a trim, my research into this color revealed that this hue was a common color used in 1950's houses, including Frank Lloyd Wright houses.  In one of his 1950's houses where he designed fixtures and chose colors for floors and fabric of upholstery,  Wright included his signature "Cherokee red" as a color for his floors.  

For my friend's trim, the undercoat is a deep red/purple with earth tones. I've been visiting with employees of area paint stores who have explained the chemical make-up of the older style paints.  

Titles of Kansas Landscapes by Karen Matheis

Giving titles to my present landscapes has been a challenge because they represent a fleeting moment of traveling through Kansas fields while moving in a car. The paintings are a result of memory and experience and not of words.   I have chosen to give each series of paintings a title.  

My newest landscapes are titled the "Kansas Series."  The titles include a play of words for 'color field" ( fields with color or color field painting).  Color field painting is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane.  My paintings use squares of flat color that are intertwined in the painting. Each painting is named for particular colors of square