Our memories of places and experiences are not simply visual recollections of what we saw, but a culmination of all that our senses absorbed at the time. The sounds, the smells, our impressions of and reactions to our surroundings. It is in this intuitive way that Portland artist Karen Silve translates her own memorable moments into abstractions of rich layers, swirls and drips of paint.
Open air markets are cacophonies of stimulation– full of mounds of colorful produce, people talking, laughing, fragrances of coffee, freshly baked pastries and other yummies– all swirl around us. ( Can’t wait for the market here to open for Spring! ) Silve captures the friendly frenzy in her Market Series. ( above & below )
For her Sacred Places series, she explores the impact of a different kind of stimulation, those stolen moments found when we are surrounded by the quiet of nature. Being in Portland, Silve has access to some of the most spectacular natural spaces in the world ( can you tell I love Oregon?! ). A favorite of hers, and mine, is the Columbia River Gorge, whose lush and quiet beauty she captures in paint.
Through our travels, many times I find myself feeling like I’m a bit more attuned to my location and experiences. Perhaps because we are experiencing new places so often, that each one seems enchanting and special in its own way. But there are also times when we fall into the repetition and monotony of every day life and forget that each place and day is unique. Karen Silve’s intuitive expressions of her experiences are reminding me to be fully in each moment, immersing myself into making of a memory.
To see more of Karen Silve’s work, please visit her website. In Portland, her work can be seen at Portland Fine Art, but check out her website for representing galleries in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, California and the UK.
Featured image is Yellow Rapture, acrylic on canvas, 96×48. All images are via the artist’s website.