Kathleen Krishnan, painting from life

From article by Ed Huyck
Growing up, Kathleen Krishnan loved to draw. In elementary school, she was the go-to gal when someone needed illustrations for a science project. As she got older, Krishnan was able to explore her skills at a Waldorf high school for two years, falling deeper in love with art. Life interceded. Going with the wishes of her family, Krishnan looked to a more practical occupation and became a teacher. It was a job she loved during the three decades she taught, often working with immigrant students as an English as a second language instructor.

Still, the itch was there and 12 years ago, Krishnan began to follow her first dream and began a new career as an oil painter. With training, a lifetime of observation and her knack for observing and understanding physical details, Krishnan developed a signature style that merged all of her interests.

Her art “captures people midstream, in everyday activities. They are often looking a bit introspective. The paintings are not just about the people, but the whole composition. I want to capture a moment we can relate to, but also create a beautiful composition,” she said.

To that end, Krishnan employs a variety of techniques. Her goal is to not exactly capture scenes from life. Instead, she will look for elements that can be combined into a full composition. So the central figure may be drawn from one setting, while the surroundings and other key elements are from other spaces.

As a painter, Krishnan does “use reference material. I will paint a flower or a chair. When I compose my own paintings, I’ll take pictures of myself posing or other people. I take pictures of my neighbors. I will change the details when I compose my paintings. I believe in using the reference material, but I’m not a slave to it.”

The paintings in the exhibit are drawn from four different series that Krishnan has worked on in the last few years, including older sets like “Beach Dreams” and “Children of the Fair” and more recent pieces centered on interior portraits and ones that examine outdoor group scenes, including ones inspired by a recent trip to Barcelona.
Kathleen Krishnan
Feb 3, 2012

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