#33: Reaching for beauty in troubled times

It’s just too sad, the world.

Preliminary sketch in my 11×14″ sketchbook of “Reaching for Beauty”

Lately I’ve been trying to fend off massive attacks of feeling rather worthless in the face of what’s going on in the world— I mean, the nasty stuff. The unbearable tragedies. The unforgivable actions of hatred, anger, violence. The incomprehensible behavior of those we call terrorists. The inexcusable shootings, kidnappings, rape, and other things too awful to mention. And of course, the other nasty stuff, like outbreaks of disease, hunger, and what-have-you.

As an artist, I am not trained to deal with global tragedy. As an overly sensitive soul, I have a hard time even processing it. As a relatively privileged and fortunate person, I grapple with guilt at how I can “help.”

My simple response has been to reach for beauty, and to make art that might offer some solace in troubled times.

To that end, my recent show “Reaching for Beauty” is now installed at a lovely little gallery in historic Wickford, RI: Coastal Living Gallery. Some new work, some not so new work, some little organic sculptures, some interesting thoughts. I am reaching for beauty these days, as the long cold winter and the incredibly sad state of affairs in the world have taken a toll on me. If by chance you find yourself in Rhode Island, please come join me for some joy, lots of color, and the opening reception of my show “Reaching for Beauty” on Saturday, April 11, 4-7 pm. (Awesome views from the deck, right on the water, in Wickford, RI.) Show runs from April 1-April 28, 2015.

p.s. To read a recent article and interview about my work, click here. As the author says, “A single artist might be powerless in impacting the world, but an individual can be profoundly changed by beauty.”

36x36", acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

“Reaching for Beauty” 36×36″, acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

Coastal Living Gallery

83 Brown Street North Kingstown (Historic Wickford) RI 02852

Located behind Beach Rose Café on the pier.

Open Tuesday – Friday 9:30-2:30 and by appointment, chance & special event. 401.612.6121


#28. Post-show challenges (or, getting back in the saddle)


“New Territory” 53×65″. mixed media on Fabriano paper. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

There’s a huge sense of relief after delivering a body of work to a gallery, and leaving it there with the gallery director… the next time you see the work, those paintings (or whatever it is) that you’ve pretty much lived with every day for months— are all installed in a stunning space, beautifully lit, waiting to be seen and experienced by others. [I’m truly fortunate to have my work currently showing at The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, at the University of Connecticut. The Gallery is dedicated to the memory of the late Alexey von Schlippe (1915-1988), an innovative and accomplished painter, born in Russia, and former Professor of Art at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point.] 

When people begin showing up for the opening, with wine in hand, saying complimentary things, congratulating you, it’s a grand feeling, for a couple of hours.

It is wonderful, if stressful, to spend months getting ready for a show, have it be installed, and then have a big opening. You see old friends, talk about your work, get congratulated. And then…. it’s over.

There is a post-opening grayness that settles in a day or two later. Getting back into the studio and trying to pick up where you left off just doesn’t happen, at least for me. That said—I’m immensely grateful and happy to have my recent work hanging in a beautiful gallery for six weeks, and it is a great feeling. (Of course, it would be icing on the cake to have the work sell.) But—getting back into the saddle is a challenge. Time to make new art. In order to make it happen….(it’s inevitable….) it’s the perfect time to… clean up the studio. ’Nuff said.