Thoughts From the Studio Blog

11.02.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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I believe that art has the power to effect our mood. Like when an upbeat song comes on the radio and you just want to dance and sing along. Or the new adult coloring book crazy that aides with stress relief and relaxation. But what about just viewing art, rather than partaking in it? Can the act of looking at art have an impact on our mood? I think it can. There are a lot of studies in to color psychology and color theory. Enough so, so that interior designers and advertisers incorporate these studies into their designs. Think of a spa for instance. The space is decorated and designed in a purposeful way to allow visitors a relaxing environment. Likewise, hospitals often pay close attention to their decor colors  because they know that it can make a difference in patients' recoveries. Major corporations have been known to use specific colors in their branding to temp consumers in to buying their goods, by it by triggering your appetite for instance. So naturally visual art, of which color (or planned lack there of), is a significant element, would also have the ability to impact our mood. But what if it goes even further than that? That is exactly what neurologist, Semir Zeki looked in to in his research. In a series of tests, participants looked at a selection of 28 artworks while researchers studied the participants' brain-activity. What they found was that viewing artwork actually increased dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is one of the main chemicals responsible for feelings of happiness. Participant's dopamine levels increased so much while viewing the artwork the researches likened it to the feeling of being in love. So that you have it- scientific evidence that looking at art literally makes you happier! So, Let's Circle That All Back Around  I believe that art can spread happiness and that color can impact your mood and transform your space. And that my friends, is why I am on a mission to brighten walls and lives with my exuberantly whimsical art. Because life is too short not to enjoy it. And because there is plenty of sadness in world- just look at the news. So why not join me, on a journey to happyland. A journey that starts in my studio, makes a stopover on your walls and culminates in your mind's state of merriment. If you want begin to transform your space and brighten your mood head on over to my shop where happy art comes in all sizes and price ranges.  To read more about Semir Zeki's research, click here Like this post? Join my email list so that you can stay up today on future blog posts by clicking here Click here to return to my full website. 
For non-artists, the art world can seem like a daunting, foreign place. Like many other industries, art has its fair share of special terms and jargon and often non-artists can be intimidated by discussing art. But you don't need formal training in art history in order to hold a meaningful conversation about works of art. So, I am going to break down some of the barriers here so you will slowly but surely become fluent in Art Speak! Ever been to a gallery, museum, or art fair and felt out of place? You are not alone. Many people feel like outsides to the art world. Here are some tips to help you navigate through these situations like a pro. Don't feel like you have to understand the meaning or artist's intent. This is especially true for contemporary and post-modern art. Historically, the purpose of artworks were more straight-forward. A painting or sculpture may have been made to capture one's likeness before cameras were invented, to illustrate a story from religious traditions or historical events, to commemorate an individual,or  to decorate a space, and so-forth . As art began to grow more and more abstract and conceptual in nature (think of all of the "ISMS" during the 1900s) the artist's intent for the artwork began to differ greatly from the previous generations. As art styles became more and more abstracted, artists began to make art for art's sake. Paintings no longer had to represent anything concrete but could make a conceptual statement of just being planes of pigment on a canvas (ex: Color Field paintings by Mark Rothko). Other artists, intend to pose a question to get the viewer to think and reflect. In some cases the artist will be explicit in their accompanying artist statement, dictating exactly the message they want you to take away from the piece. Many other times however, contemporary artists will send the work out to the universe to let the viewer determine their own interpretations. This is where often times the art novice gets caught up in trying to understand modern abstract and conceptual art. Which leads me to mt two tips you can start using today! Tip #1: Don't try to figure out what "it is" or what it means. The same work can mean different things and have different interpretations for each person who looks at it. Instead- Ask yourself how it makes you feel and talk that through. Does it make you happy, sad, excited, uncomfortable? Tip #2: Discuss the physical artwork itself in terms of the elements of art and principles of design, such as the use of space and form, its texture or smoothness, the ways lines and shapes are used. You can say how you like the color choices. The bit of yellow here, and the touch of blue right there. Discuss the materials the artist chose to use, breaking down the artwork to these kind of descriptive words. This is the best place to start and then grow your vocabulary and discussion of your thoughts on your own interpretations with time. So, there you have it! The formula so that you can now feel confident as you step in to the art world! Now get out there and explore all the amazing things our modern artists have to offer!  Like this post? Join my email list so that you can stay up today on future blog posts by clicking here Click here to return to my full website. 
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: Oct 28, 2017 For non-artists, the art world can seem like a daunting, foreign place. Like many other industries, art has its fair share of special terms and jargon. But it is nothing to be intimidated by! So I am going to break down some of the barriers here so you will slowly but surely become fluent in Art-Speak! Let take  a look at a very common word in the artist's vocabulary: Commissions.  Recently someone asked me what exactly is a commission? This particular person has a background in business/accounting where the word commission means something quite different, and did not understand how the same word applied to artists. Let's break it down: For an artist, a commission is a custom artwork created for, and often with some in-put from, a particular client. Commissions have long been a part of the art world. Many Renaissance artworks were commissioned by royalty or religious organizations to decorate their palaces and churches. It is thought that the Mona Lisa was the result of a commission request to Leonardo from an Italian Merchant (who wanted a painting of his wife). Many contemporary artists (yours truly included) still offer commission work. Some artists do not offer commissions and that is entirely their choice to make. For those artists that do offer commissions, there is usually a process that they go through in order to work with you to create your vision, while staying true to the artist's style and process. Let's take a closer look at the commission process; It may go something like this: You discovered an artist who's style you appreciate and who's work you enjoy. However you are bummed to find out that none of the current available pieces are the size or in the colors you are seeking. Or, perhaps you have a vision in your head of a particular subject matter you would like to see the artist create in his or her unique style. These are where an inquiry in to a commissioned work can be a great idea. After the initial inquiry, expect some communication with the artist to go over some of the details you would be looking for in your artwork. Again, this could be subject matter, color palettes, size, materials, etc. While it is OK to tell the artist what you are looking for, be sure to stay open to the artist's suggestions, and allow the artist plenty of creative freedom. The design creation after all is why you like the artist's work so much to begin with. The artist will work out some ideas & sketches to present to you to make sure that it meets your needs. At this point you may be asked to sign a contract and or make a down payment, which if you think of it in a bigger sense, these are both common practice for custom orders of any kind, art or otherwise. Once you have given approval, the artist can get to work on the actual piece. The artist will usually give you an estimated time frame for the work to be done, and depending on that duration may send you periodic updates. Once the work is complete the artist will often send you an photo image of it for final review, at which point a final payment would be made before shipping/delivery. Here are what some of my clients have said regarding commission work I have done: "I purchased two wall hangings for my grandson's nursery. I met with Caren to go over some ideas she was so easy to work with and very open to whatever I was thinking of. They are adorable and I am happy to say I own two of Caren Kinne's originals"-Kim "I have always been a fan of Caren's artwork so when I saw that she was creating characters to depict different people, I decided I wanted one to represent me and my experiences as an independent fashion retailer. Caren made the experience so easy and enjoyable. I gave her my ideas, was shown a few sketches and told her some of my favorite colors. Seeing the finished product was so exciting! This unique piece of artwork has made a great addition to my workspace."-Joelle Learn more about my commission work here and stay tuned for future editions of Art-Speak.  Click here to return to my full website 
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: Sept 17, 2017 So you bought yourself or perhaps were gifted an amazing piece of art. Yay! Take a minute to picture it with me: Its original and unique design caught your eye. There is just something about it that truly speaks to you. Just looking it at it brings you a sense of happiness. You know the colors of the artwork will go SO well with the rest of your style and décor. It will help add that extra touch to make your living room your own personal retreat. But before you just grab some tape (gasp!) or hammer and nails and slap that new beauty up on your wall, you should really should stop to consider a few things. Like, do I need a frame? Or, is it an artwork that doesn't require or perhaps shouldn't be framed? Have you put careful thought into where in your home you are going to display your new treasure? Do you know the correct way to care for and maintain your artwork? Did you know that your answers to eacj of these questions can impact the overall condition of the piece? So, before you hang it on the wall, make sure you have a plan in order to make sure that you can enjoy that special artwork for years to come. Sounds kind daunting doesn't it? Maybe art collecting is new to you and it all seems a bit intimidating. Perhaps with all the other tasks on your busy plate, you just don't have time to scour the internet for research. Have no fear! I have created a convenient, information-packed guide for you, called 5 Ways to Protect Your Art From Damage. And best of all? I am giving it to you for free! Yes, you read that right, FREE! To get your hands on a copy of my guide, 5 Ways to Protect Your Art From Damage, simply click here and be on your way to caring for your art like a pro! Click here to return to my full website
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: Aug 6, 2017 It was during my time in my graduate courses that I began to hear about the concept of visual culture. Historically in the art world there is often an elitist stigma of what constitutes something to be labeled as art: essentially traditionalist views of what art is. Hierarchal categories such as fine art, craft or kitsch are frequently mentioned. However, some of the most notable artists were the ones who abandoned the status-quo, were rejected from the formal salons, or transitioned from commercial design to a studio practice. Take the Impressionists for example, at first they were laughed right out of the Paris Salons and now are one of the most loved painting styles of all time. Or Andy Warhol who had a career in commercial advertising before he transitioned to the fine art field. So when I first learned about visual culture it really resonated with me. Essentially the idea that art, in one form or another, is all around us and is a reflection upon our culture. In the United States, and I am sure many other industrialized nations around the world, we are bombarded everyday with visual imagery and design. From clothing to book covers, furniture, buildings and landscaping to TV and boxes on the shelf at the grocery store, to kids toys and cartoons, and magazine layouts- design and aesthetics are all around us. Notice the details of the chair you are sitting in, someone designed that. Think of iconic logos that are recognized all over the world (here's looking at you Apple, Coca-Cola, Mickey Mouse); an artist designed that. Where language has barriers, images can make connections across cultures. Having grown up during the computer age, I can't help but notice how the concept of visual culture as only become more cemented in our world with that revolution. I am old enough to remember life before computers, but also young enough to have had computer class in elementary school. As technology improves we have only added additional means to display visual imagery every day. And the art world has taken notice. Art and design that once would have been snubbed by the art world is now a popular part of it... Graffiti anyone? This combined with the Post Modern support for appropriation, taking ideas from the past and recycling them to incorporate into new artworks breaks so many of the old concepts of what art is or could be. How liberating! So if you are like me and easily smitten by good illustration, packaging, and design, next time you pick up that thing that has caught your eye think of the behind-the-scenes artists who just added to our collective visual culture. Click here to return to my full website
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: July 4, 2017 "Silas" by Caren Kinne, color pencil & resin It's hard to believe that another 4th of July is already here! Hope everyone out there is enjoying the summer, fireworks & all things 4th of July this sunny Tuesday. As some of you readers may know, my current artwork has merged with my family tree research project that I started digging into several years ago. Little did I know what amazing people I would find in my lineage. Ten of whom, I am dedicating this posting to today. Having grown up in Massachusetts, the Revolutionary War and colonial times were frequent topics in history classes and field trips alike. While many of my friends found it dreadfully boring, I was always quite intrigued with this time period. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon my 6-times Great Grandfather Silas, who was the first of my ancestors that I learned fought for their freedom in the Revolutionary War. Little did I know how strong my ancestral connection to American Revolution would be, on both sides of my family. So, without further ado, here are my 10 ancestors who fought, and in some cases died, in the fight for freedom: -Silas Seward (1760-1848) Fife, CT Militia -Brotherton Seward (1724-1776) CT Militia, Died fighting near Ft Ticonderoga, NY - Midian Griswold (1763-1829) 7th CT Regiment, Sheldon's Dragoons, Cavalry -Jonathan Griswold (1741-1823) Private, 5th CT Regiment -Abel Hunt (1736-1816) 1st Lt. in Capt Hodges Company, Col.Fisher's Regiment, NY Militia -Capt Adam Kasson (1743-1828) 3rd CT Regiment -Asahel Humphrey Sr (1747-1827) Sgt, CT Militia, Bigelow's Artillery Co - Solomon Heath (1741-1776) Sgt, MA 1st Berkshire Company -Ithiel Battle (1752-1827) Private under Col John Ashley's command -Joseph Bunnell (1733-1807) Private, CT Waterbury's State Brigade I feel I would be remiss if I didn't also include the women who supported the cause & households while the men were away from home and at battle: Abigail Crane Seward, Annis Wadkins Griswold, Elizabeth Weeks Griswold, Betsy Caulkins Hunt, Dolly Taft Kasson, Prudence Merrill Humphrey, Chloe Johnson Heath, Keziah Taylor Battle, & Abiah Kirby Bunnell. So keep an eye out for these names as I continue working on my ancestry inspired portraits. Want to celebrate with "Silas"? Prints are available here. Lastly, Thank you to all who fought for our freedom, & to those who continue to do so each day. Happy 4th of July! Click here to return to my full website
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: June 4, 2017 Fishmint by Caren Kinne This third installment of art inspiration is brought to you by the Surrealists. If you look up the word surreal in the dictionary or thesaurus you will find associations like: beyond real, strange, bizarre, fantasy, nonsense and dreamlike. In art-speak, the surrealists were a group of artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who established what would become the Surrealism movement in the arts beginning in the 1920s. How interesting it must have been to sit down with this collective in the Parisian cafés they would frequent to discuss their philosophies on life and art; or to play with them in their drawing game “Exquisite Corpse” (interesting name, I know. More on that later). The foundational thought process behind the Surrealist movement was that of connecting with one’s own unconscious. Freud’s theories of psychology were very prominent at the time and there are many connections between Freudian theory and the Surrealist’s process. There are two main branches, so to speak, of Surrealism. The first deals with autonomy. Think of it as free writing…. Listing words or making marks without much conscious thought, so that the inner subconscious can come forth in its truest form. The other section, if you will, is more related to the dreamlike, or unusual juxtaposition of objects. I consider Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte’s work to fit more with the latter. They are also two of the most well known surrealists, and for good reason: their work is still captivating to this day. If you visit my archive (here) you may pick up a direct correlation between my own work and the dream surrealists. My paintings Bicycle Vending Machine and Fishmint, among others, were part of a series I did that looked directly into this concept of pairing everyday objects and images together in unordinary ways. While the Surrealists often sought for answers from their subconscious however, in my series I was more focused on pairing similar shapes, adding a touch of whimsy, humor and a dash of nostalgia. I think what I love most about surrealist art however, is their fearless approach to imagination. Their creativity held no bounds. A lobster phone? A sunlit sky over a dark-as-night street?  An image that quite appears to be raining men (and no I am not talking about the 80’s pop song). Of course to look at these they make no sense- and that’s the strange and wonderful point! The surrealists were able to create magical, impossible worlds. While I no longer work on my juxtaposition series, my current musings and portrait work does still have the influence of creating harmonious, otherworldly figures and images. Much of my work has an underlying hint toward a joyful utopia. And sometimes we all do just need to escape for a little while. So Here are TWO fun Surrealist Escapes for you to enjoy right now! #1) Destino If you have not yet seen this short video collaboration between Salvador Dali and the one and only Walt Disney you are missing out. Check out the video here #2) Remember I mentioned that crazy sounding game the surrealists used to play called "Exquisite Corpse"? Grab some friends, family, or co-workers and have some fun: - Get out a sheet of paper and pen - Fold the paper so that there are the same number of sections as there are people playing. - The first person begins a drawing in their section and extends the lines just over into the next section of the fold. When done, fold back your completed section so that only the little extension lines show in the next section of the paper. - Pass the paper on to the next person to add to the drawing starting with the lines where the person before you left off. -Continue the above drawing, folding and passing steps until you are back with the first person. - Unfold the paper so all can see the crazy silly fun Surrealist drawing you all made! Warning: you may laugh reallllly hard! Click here to return to my full website www.ckinne.com
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: May 7, 2017 Pop art has long been one of my most favorite styles in the history of art. Dense, saturated colors, bold lines, and simple iconic compositions are common in this art style. Pop art came about as a rejection of the Abstract Expressionist movement that was the "it" art style after WWII. With significant cultural shifts taking place as the 1950s moved in to the 1960s, Pop Art made its debut in the United States and Great Britain. While Abstract Expressionism focused on an expression of the inner-self in sweeping, gestural strokes and drops of paint (think Jackson Pollock), Pop artists began to incorporate a flattening of the surface in terms of way paint was applied. The ever popular textural application of paint was abandoned for smooth surface applications. Screen-printing, primarily used in advertising and commercial art, began being applied Andy Warhol who himself had transitioned from the commercial to the fine art world. The removal of the visibility of the individual artist's hand, as well as repetition became an important characteristic of the Pop art movement. Ben-day dots, typically seen in newspaper print, found their way in to the technique of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein who made paintings resembling scenes from comic strips. In terms of subject matter, the pop artists focused on easily recognizable objects, people and animals. A banana, box of steel wool, a cow, comic strips, magazine cut-outs, soup cans, celebrities....any image of popular culture or mass consumption was a prime selection to star in a pop art painting or sculpture. Compositions are typical very simple and bold giving the object of choice an iconic-like status. Undefined backgrounds that are implied by color and/or simple cast shadows are also common. Bold and graphic outlines are often seen along with flat planes of bright colors. Inspiration from pop art creeps in to my own work. I love to work with a wide array of color, and many of my works incorporate a simplistic, centralized subject matter, defined loosely in space by cast shadows alone. Want to create your own pop art inspired work? Here is a take-away project for all ages! Make a Pop Art inspired painting of your favorite candy! First find a reference image of your favorite candy if needed for sketching- better yet go treat yourself to that favorite candy bar and save the actual wrapper! Lightly sketch out the outline on to your surface of choice (you can use any number of items to paint on: any think weight paper, canvas, an artist panel, even cardboard or wood lying around the house! Utilizing your outline as a map, apply bright paint colors. Pick a bright fun color to use as the background. Try to embellish the image by using black or white outlines for contrast. Try to apply the paint in smooth even layers to avoid seeing thick brushstrokes- after all the Pop Artists tried to avoid the visibility of the human hand in the finished image. Feel free to share photos your completed paintings! Click here to return to my full website
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: Apr 19, 2017 I am excited to announce I was recently included in a special edition publication by Art Habens Contemporary Art Review along with 8 other talented artists from around the world! Check out the full interview here! Click here to return to my full website
11.01.2018
Caren Kinne artwork
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Originally Published: Mar 14, 2017 One of the most frequent questions I am asked about my work is: "What are they"? I have been approached with a wide array of interpretations regarding my on-going portrait series: lively TV sets, aristocratic fruit, other-worldly beings, unique veggies, the list goes on and on. For those of you who have read my artist statement, you may know that I don't like to give them such specific labels. And for good reason- I love to hear your creative interpretations! But alas, since it is quite often a question, let me take this opportunity to shed some light in to how this series came to be. So, let's take a step back....      When I was 16, I was fortunate enough to go on a family trip to Mexico. Rather than staying in the typical resort area, we stayed in a small, two bedroom house in a tiny fishing village south of Cancun. I loved the authenticity of the small town and wanted to soak up all I could of the Yucatan culture during our short time there. We did some exploring and visited the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, and it was downright stunning.      Fast Forward several years, and I am browsing the bargain bin section at Barnes & Noble, when I stumble upon a coffee table book on the Maya. Recalling my fascination with my trip to the Yucatan, I buy the book. It is here, in the photos and illustrations,  that I discovered the remarkable Maya Glyphs. Simple lines and shapes beautifully arranged; I am smitten! Ancient Mayan Calendar Glyphs These images start to appear in my works as exact copies of particular glyphs, in patterns I create in printmaking, drawing and ceramic relief. However, at this time my main art-making focus was on a series of surrealistic, rendered paintings. Eventually my surrealist rendered paintings began to lose momentum and zeal, mainly due to the fact that: 1. They were laborious; and 2.Given my perfectionist studio tendencies, as time went on the actual painting process was less enjoyable for me. So, eventually I just stopped fighting it and turned away from the rendered paintings in favor of the direction I was going based on inspiration from the glyphs. I realized one of the things I found captivating about the glyphs was how, to me, they seemed to have biomorphic qualities. Perhaps, it was in part that as a child I was always fond of stories which involved fantasy lands and endearing creatures. Think: Wonderland, Oz, Dr. Seuss and Roger Hargreaves. Ultimately,  I began to envision little beings taking on these shapes and lines that I saw in the glyphs. And so it is from here that my portrait series began to develop and evolve. You can take a look at both my surrealist, rendered paintings as well as my early prints and drawings of the glyphs by visiting my archive, here. A Brief History on the Mayan Glyphs:      My studio practice and educational training has resulted in an intensive study of Ancient Mayan art. For the Maya, writing was often an important component of their artwork. Their language is considered as some of the most aesthetic and complex in the world. Mayan Scribes were skilled artisans themselves, and many artists were scribes--working with various materials from paint to stone. Scribes held a high place in Maya society, as not everyone knew how to write. Sometimes scribes were even members of the royal court. They also had their own patron god called the Monkey Scribe. The Maya written language was both pictorial and phonetic. Some glyphs represented sounds and could be combined together to create words. Other glyphs were strictly pictorial representations. Today, researchers are able to decipher most of the glyphs. Click here to return to my full website
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