Karen Jewell-Kett

First Hand Studio


My paintings are about time, nature and the immediacy of the moment. I want to show the feeling and atmosphere of a point in time–the sharp taste of lemonade on a hot summer day, the way it feels when the sun beats down on you from a blue cloudless sky, or the cool promise of a moonrise in spring.

To connect to this sense of nowness and physicality when I paint, I use tactile, layered surfaces and the immediacy of thick pigment to engage the senses and remind us of our connection to the real world. When I teach, I work with each student to help them discover a direct connection to the world through their own, personal style.

In my abstract works I like to explore things that are not usually expressed in pictures. I explore emotions or how things taste, or feel, or sound, beyond what they look like. What is beyond the visual surface? An honest and curious exploration of life begins with questions like these, not answers. Answers are not interesting to me because they close the doorway of possibility and imply that there is nothing else to reveal. Questions compel and engage the human spirit.

I begin my work with a question and continue in a process of open-ended exploration. I allow the paint and surface to reveal both designed and unintended consequences. In this way I work around an idea, become open to the possibilities, unearth more aspects and then polish it to bring out its innate luster. As this exploration unfolds and grows on its own, I am led to a more interesting place than I could ever have known or planned in advance.