From Realism to Abstract: Inspired by Southwestern Art

Kachinas at Judy's, Oil, 16 x 20", Karen Gillis Taylor

I enjoyed painting this still life of my friend’s Kachina collection on a window sill in her Santa Fe home. The dolls are very small in scale, and they look like friends to me. I like the shapes and colors found in native American art. The deep aqua blue reminds me of the intense Southwestern sky over the earthy reds and golds.

Kachinas 2, oil, 16 x 20 by KGT

I began some drawings later when I decided to work with the shapes in the first painting: triangles, feather shapes, rectangles, circles and zigzags. The color palette was already there, the bold range of values from black to white. Eventually this painting I’m calling Kachinas 2 came about.  It seems to represent nebulous ideas about these motifs, kind of a dreamy observation. I don’t pretend to understand everything I paint. Maybe I just wanted to explore what shapes and their placement can suggest.

Fish Moon, 8 x 10.5", mixed media, KGT

This is the third piece which came out of the sketches of the Kachinas. The color palette hasn’t changed, and the triangular (fin?) shapes seem to rise out of a body of water where the fish may have been found. Figures are gone, and the pitcher and plates are the only sign of a human presence. There seems to be a mountain by the sea and night sky. This third painting is no longer tied to the original southwestern motifs, or is it?

Drawing from ideas, from imagination creates a new form of expression I don’t find in realism. While I like the challenge of painting from life, there is something exciting about moving into the abstract realm.

These last two pieces are not devoid of representational images. My abstract work still seems to cling to recognizable things, and why not?


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One Response to “From Realism to Abstract: Inspired by Southwestern Art”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    I love your abstracts. I love the connection to recognizable things. Its like a beautiful expanded story with mystery!


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