Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cuban Cars & Indiana Spring

"Cuban East German Side-car"  11" x 14", oil

As the 1950's and 60's cars are so pervasive in Cuba, I thought I should at least paint a couple before I ended my Cuban Series.  This East German side-car was just parked on a street full of groceries (as in Europe, side-cars double as a poor man's back seat of a sedan).  Then, I wanted to paint a scene with a 1952 Chevy that I just loved.  We were waiting for part of our group of painters to tour the cigar factory, so I wandered and found this side street with a great composition and a wonderful old car.  The sliding factory door added an abstract element to the texture of decay that pervaded the side street. 
 "Havana Side Street", 14" x 18", oil

I also entered "The Cuban Lady" in the INDIANA NOW juried exhibition which will be on display all summer at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette Lafayette, IN.  See Events on my web site for the hours and location of the museum.   At the Opening, I was very pleased to receive an Honorable Mention Award from over 600 entries. 
Every April, I participate in The First Brush of Spring paint-out in New Harmony, IN which is sponsored by the IN Plein Air Painters Assoc. and the Hoosier Salon Galleries.  In the center of this, tiny, magical, 19th century town is Sara's Cafe.  This year, because my husband plays banjo and likes to jam with others, we (rather he) gravitated to the side of Sara's Cafe under a large porch (in case of rain).  Although I normally paint standing, I decided to get really comfortable and sit.  And boy! was I glad I did because the reflections of the sky and the buildings across the street in Sara's front doors were such fun to paint!  Of course another added benefit was the fancy coffees and sandwiches, with a Wine Bar next door to celebrate a finished painting!

Now the summer is just beginning with planned trips to the beaches at the Inland Ocean of Lake Michigan and the Pacific Ocean in Oregon.   How I do love to paint water....   
Thank you for your interest and please pass this blog on to your car loving friends.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Painting Cuba

Earlier this year, my husband and I joined the group of painters that Eric Rhodes, publisher of Plein Air Magazine, took to Cuba for a trip of a lifetime!  We've always been interested in Cuba, having lived during the rein of the dictator Batista, the subsequent Castro revolution, and the American embargo.   The Cuban people are amazingly resilient, having been ruled by one dictator after another beginning with the Spanish. Unfortunately, the 50 year American Embargo  has forced Cuba into a devastating economic isolation which has had many harsh consequences for the Cuban people like the food supply and repairing their architecture. However, unintended consequences have made Cuba famous for the ubiquitous and lovingly preserved Classic Cars of the 1950's and 60's.

"Cuban Lady" oil, 16" x 20"  studio painting

The Cuban people are exceedingly friendly and seem very happy.  This woman in my painting is relaxing on a Sunday afternoon on her second story porch in old Havana,looking down on a beautiful tree lined boulevard called the Prado, filled with tourists.  My husband, Howie, is a musician and took his banjo so music was a very important component for both of us on this trip. The local musicians invited us (I played spoons) to play with them at every turn--which made the trip very special indeed.

Our Plein Air group consisted of seventy painters and thirty spouses, the big group was then divided into three smaller groups of 33 whom we usually traveled and ate with.  We all ate breakfast together in the hotel. Then each group was dropped off in one location of Old Havana in the morning to wander and paint whatever struck or fancy, then together again for lunch in a local restaurant, and painting in a different location in the afternoon. If we wanted to go somewhere else on our own, we could take a taxi back to the hotel.  We were like kids in a candy store, only candy for the eyes. Old Havana felt a little like Venice or maybe old Barcelona, with its Spanish Colonial architecture.  The group also got to enjoy the Cuban Art Museum with a very informative talk of important Cuban artists and their expressive paintings relating to Cuban history.

During the week, we traveled out of Havana, along the coast to Cojimar, Hemingway's home, and further into the countryside to a Spanish Sugar Plantation ruin where we loved painting the ancient house, bell tower, and stone walls.  The main house was in the process of being conserved.  To keep my backpack as light as possible,  I took Twinrocker paper, drawing sketches and painting watercolors, and of course lots of photos to use later in my studio for oils.   Here are some pics:

"Cuban Sugar Plantation Ruin"  11" x 14" watercolor on Twinrocker watercolor paper

"Cojimar, Cuba"  9" x 12" drawing with watercolor on Twinrocker drawing paper

"Broken Dock" 11" x 14" watercolor on Twinrocker watercolor paper

Well, I hope this has given you a taste of Cuba and our painting trip.  I drew other sketches and painted 5 studio oils after I returned while playing the Cuban CDs we purchased from the small three and four piece bands we heard in the restaurants.   You can see all of those Cuban paintings and drawings on my web site.    Also, my current website Newsletter which has completely different photos of Cuba, and all my Studio oils of Cuba can be seen by clicking on "Newsletter" on the home page, then "Archive".  Enjoy!

For those of you who are within driving distance of Lafayette, Indiana, I'm going to give an evening program  "Painting Cuba" at the Lafayette Art Museum on Tuesday, May 17th from 7-8:30pm with Howie's help.  There'll be photos of Cuba, with those CDs playing in the background, all the sketches, watercolors, and the five studio oil paintings.   Also, I am honored that the "Cuban Lady" was accepted in the soon-to-open INDIANA NOW juried exhibition at the Lafayette Art Museum which will be on display all summer.  

Happy travels this summer, and please share this blog with anyone you think might enjoy it. 
--Kathryn Clark

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Paintings of Yosemite

Goodness, I see that I haven't posted the oil paintings that I finished last fall of Yosemite after sending my last blog, which was who knows when...
  "Half Dome Rising"  14" x 18", oil.  

"Climbing Yosemite"  14" x 11",  oil
As we looked at the huge cliff in front of us, my cousin thought he saw a tiny blue speck about half way up the mountain.  Another cousin, a birder, had his handy telescope with him so we tried to see if there were climbers on the rock face.  Yes, indeed there were!  Then I zoomed my brand new Panasonic camera to the full 60X and WOW! I could see the climbers through my camera lens.   So this studio oil was painted from my photo reference.  There were two climbers, and this guy was trying to make his way to his partner who was at the other end of these ropes.  Didn't want to look too long in case, you know,  there was an accident. 

"Yosemite at Dusk"  16" x 20", oil

"Curry Village Tents:  Yosemite Valley"  9" x 12"
We slept at Curry Village, a grouping of about 200 canvas tents with wooden floors, bathrooms down the trail.  The few lights shining on the tents at night were quite intriguing.  

While living in San Francisco from 1969-1972, we unfortunately never had the time or money to go to Yosemite so I was quite excited to be able to finally see and experience the amazing cliffs and waterfalls.  If you should have the opportunity to go, be sure to jump at it!

Thank you for patiently waiting all these months for another blog.  After I finished these paintings, my studio was under construction for five months, having a wall built to replace an old garage door, six additional windows, and the outside replaced with siding.   Consequently, I was not painting for many, many weeks.  If you know others who would enjoy this blog, please forward it to them.  You can see these and other paintings on my web site at    

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Discovering Yosemite

Although Howard and I lived in San Francisco for three years when we were in our late 20's, we were way too poor to go to Yosemite then.  Needless to say, I've regretted that we didn't somehow make the journey. Finally this summer we had the opportunity to go with my cousin, a geologist for the National Geological Survey, as our guide.  As he studied this cliff, he noticed a tiny blue speck and concluded there were climbers waaaay up there, about half way to the top.  With my 60X zoom camera, I got this shot of one of the pair.  Just being on a tall ladder makes me nervous....

We stayed at Curry Village,  a grouping of about two hundred canvas tents on wooden bases, which gave us the true camping experience, complete with a bear box to keep anything a bear might like tucked away in a steel container by the door of the tent.  All the sounds of nature at night were magical.  I do want to paint a nocturne of the tents soon.

I have yet to paint the exciting scenes in Yosemite itself, but I did complete three paintings of the days before going to Yosemite.  One day we drove down the coast from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, and I took a photo reference of the soft mist pouring in between the coastal ridges.  The next day we made our way toward Yosemite seeing gorgeous rock outcroppings. We were getting close!

"San Mateo Mountain Mist"  oil, 16" x 20"  $1450

"The Climb toward Yosemite", oil,  14" x 11",  $950

"Anticipating Yosemite"  oil,  16" x 12",  $1150

Before long, I'm to give the Goudy Lecture at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and, upon returning, I'm looking forward to painting those amazing cliffs and waterfalls of Yosemite!  Stay tuned!

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey.  If you'd like to see more of my paintings, just go to my web site at

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jurying the ALL MICHIGAN 87th Regional June 4 -- August 5th

Howard Clark and I were honored to jury the 87th Regional Exhibition at the Muskegon Museum of Art in June.   It will be hanging until August 5th, so go to Muskegon for the Lake Michigan beach and the amazing Art Works!

"Best of Show"  by David Huang
(raised copper bowl from one sheet of copper with gold leaf interior and silver rim, and amazing surface relief)

It was the largest exhibition that I have ever juried.  Here is a photo of a few of the entries hanging back to back and belly to belly, floor to ceiling.  409 artists submitted 725 entries (a record number!)  However, it was an ideal situation for jurying because we could see all the actual art works with none hiding in stacks as is often the case.  As pieces were eliminated, the museum staff moved the ones near the ceiling down to our eye level so we could see them in an ideal setting.  It was a thrill to see so many beautiful works of art in all media including painting in oil, watercolor, and acrylic, pastel, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, fiber, photography, sculpture, encaustic, metal, and jewelry, basically any media, so pardon the odd angles and glare from the lights on the glass.  You can see the raised copper bowl in the lower left corner of the photo.

Having experience with almost every media helped me judge the craftsmanship of the works.  My undergrad major was in ceramics, graduate major in printmaking, then I exhibited art works in paper pulp, drawing, photography, watercolor and oil. We spent two full days choosing the exhibition.  The staff said that we had probably eliminated enough by the end of the first day, and we were very happy with the exhibition as it stood.  Then the next morning the Museum Curator told us that we would have to eliminate at least 50 more.  Yeow!! What a shock that was!  So now, when painting friends, or I, get "rejected" from an exhibition, I can certainly understand that it often comes down to the space available in the gallery.  Finally, we had them set aside our favorite art works in order to choose the Awards, not thinking about the media.  But we were happily surprised that those art works included almost every media.  Here are some of them which I photographed with my Ipad as we looked at them.
Large Acrylic painting about 5 ft long  by Nathan Margoni, Gordon Hall Memorial Award

2nd Place large photograph by Sean Lancaster

Honorable Mention watercolor about 15" x 11" by Michelle Brown

Large charcoal drawing about 30" x 40" by Jason McChristian, Curator's Choice Award

Honorable Mention Sculpture assembled from found objects by Nat Rosales

Now you can see what a thrill it was for us to see these beautiful art works "in the flesh!"  I was also asked to jury the Illinois State Fair's Professional Division for this years exhibition and awards, but the submissions were entered over the internet on digital files via a Juried Exhibitions Company.  It was so difficult to see the art works on a computer, even on a large screen which I have.  It is soooo much better to drive the actual art work to the exhibition site so the juror can see the real thing!  I know how much extra work it is for both the artists and the venue, but it is completely worth it in order to choose the best pieces.  After selecting that exhibition digitally, I will go to Springfield to see the actual art works in order to give the awards. 

As you can see, June was a very interesting month!  If you can get to Muskegon to see this exhibition before August 6th, , I think you'll find the trip well worth it.  Thank you for our interest in these musings, and please forward this to all your friends who might be interested. And you know that I always enjoy hearing from you. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Featured Artist at the Brown County Art Guild in June

"Garden Roses", oil, 11" x 14", $850

During the month of June, from June 2 -- June 30, about twenty-five of my oil paintings will be featured at the Brown County Art Guild in Nashville, IN.  Nashville is a quaint, tourist destination in the southern Indiana hills, and with The Guild,  it was the hub of the famous Indiana Hoosier Group of painters at the turn of the nineteenth century.  The Guild is dedicated to preserving the paintings of Marie Goth and others from that group.  Membership in the Guild is determined by the members themselves.  I'm proud to be a member and support this mission.

The Opening for this exhibition will be this coming Saturday, June 13th, from 5-8 pm.  The Guild is located at 48 South Van Buren, Nashville, IN 47488.  Other contact information:  phone 812-988-6185,  I hope you can come to see my paintings this month and enjoy all the other shops and galleries in Nashville while you're there. 

"October on Moot's Creek" oil, 16" x 20",  $1250

"Disembarking the Tiburon Ferry"  oil, 16" x 20", Sold

"Delayed by Rain"  oil, 18" x 24", $1500

If you would like to see more of my paintings, here is the link to my web site:  Thank you for your comments and support. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PGA Senior Championships at Pete Dye Course, French Lick, IN

PGA Senior Championships at Pete Dye Course, French Lick, IN  May 19-24, 2015

In anticipation of the PGA Senior Championships at the new Pete Dye designed golf course at the French Lick Resort, a friend and I spent two days painting there.  We soaked up the gorgeous, wooded vistas of Southern Indiana from the spectacular layout.   Pete Dye created the jaw dropping views by removing hundreds of trees from the second highest spot in Indiana and carving out, he says, "his best inland course".   For all you golfers, don't miss the Senior Championship tournament.  The tickets range from $15-$35.  Here's the scoop:

The Indiana Plein Air Painters were invited to create paintings of the course with vistas. We'll have our paintings on display and for sale during the Championships and thru the summer at the Historic West Baden Springs Hotel with it's huge, interior dome.  This not-to-be-missed hotel is part of the French Lick Resort and is connected to the French Lick Casino by an antique trolley. 

The weather was perfect, so, needless to say, we had a great time painting in the late afternoon on the day we arrived. My first view was painted from the back veranda of the old Taggart mansion, now the club house, looking west at the 2nd Hole, 369 yds, Par 4. 
"Hole 2, Pete Dye Course, French Lick, IN."  Oil, 11" x 14", Gold frame, $950

The next morning, we woke very early to catch the morning mist and the raking light of the sunrise.  My second painting was of Hole 9, 410 yards, Par 4.
"Hole 9, Pete Dye Course, French Lick, IN"  Oil, 11" x 14", Gold frame, $950

These two views and all my paintings can be seen on my web site at   Please feel free to email me at with comments and inquiries, and forward this to your golfing friends.  Remember, I always enjoy hearing from you. If you haven't had the great pleasure of visiting French Lick, IN and staying in the West Baden Springs Hotel, I hope you will soon.  This summer has gotten off to a great start!