Karen Cunningham is a contemporary artist based in Ottawa, Ontario. She had a career in the commercial arts industry as a graphic designer, illustrator and manager. With a diverse range of illustration styles she collaborated with corporate and public clients whose publications were then distributed nationally and internationally. Now as a full-time artist, her acrylic paintings focus on aspects of the Canadian shield landscapes. Karen has exhibited her work in the Ottawa Arts Associations shows, Ottawa School of Art Boutique, Minto One80five, and fund raisers for the Ottawa School of Art and Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.
The inspiration and palette of my paintings are taken from landscapes of the Canadian Shield. With the element of form as the fundamental motivator in my paintings, I seek robust vistas that have a compelling emotional appeal.
As a designer, I developed a short hand of calligraphic marks to do thumbnail sketches. This discipline has continued into my artwork. Following my first reaction to a landscape, my composition starts off with fluid, gestural brush strokes. I manipulate the acrylic paint by flipping back and forth from transparent to opaque shapes to create passages of energy. This process allows my painting to take its own direction and shape its own conclusion.
My approach to painting is by “letting go” and trusting in what emerges. Then through the layering of colours and textures, I interpret the feeling and atmosphere of what I experienced.
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