Continuing the Conversation

Artist Statement

I stand before the canvas with no plan or knowledge of what I’m going to paint. The blank canvas and I stare at each other. I make the first move, drawing random lines—horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curvy, zigzag.

The act of painting, moving my hand across the canvas, is pure freedom—and fear. I continue to draw lines, wipe parts of them away, then redraw and wipe parts away again—joining, obscuring, and overlaying these lines many times. Different linear elements clash and struggle to be together—to make sense together. This process continues until the lines create forms that connect to a feeling or resonate with an experience I recognize.

In making these random gestures, a silent conversation begins with the canvas; a conversation that continues throughout the painting’s creation; a conversation that is a give and take. This conversation is important to what I paint. The paintings mirror what I’m feeling even when I’m not sure of what I am feeling. The colors and forms of the painting evolve—each telling me what to do next.

I seek a connection between the invisible feelings and the external imagery. When the synthesis is achieved, the conversation is over until a new conversation begins in another painting.

Author Headshot

Each of Karen Starrett’s paintings contain a silent conversation that evolves in the process of its creation. As Karen develops forms and experiments with color, she conveys an aspect of her life hinted at in the title of each painting. For Karen, the challenge and pleasure of painting is in the process of working toward a synthesis of color, form, and inner vision. Karen is a graduate of Rutgers University and an alumnus of the School of Visual Arts.