News Column

Utah artist paints big and bold to capture rocky landscapes

July 12, 2014

By Sara Jane Pohlman, Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.

July 12--A talented landscape artist from Utah shared her story of art and the dramatic West she has been painting for 25 years during the opening reception for "Way Out West" at the Knowlton Fine Art Gallery on Saturday.

Kate Starling, whose paintings appear in the July/August show, gave a talk to about 50 fine art enthusiasts and shared her art and some personal photos in slideshow presentation. A new member of the Plein Aire Painters of American, Starling lives and paints in the Rockville area of Utah. She's called it a passion for 25 years, and remembers making time to put paint to canvas even when her children were young.

"When Jim would get off work, I'd have dinner on the table and the house mostly tidy, then I'd hand him a kid and drive off to go paint," she said.

Her mobile studio is built on the back of a 1985 Land Cruiser, where she can balance large canvases in the back. With the really big paintings, like six feet by six feet, Starling likes the feeling of being able to walk into the scene, and almost smell what it's like inside. Recently, old trucks and ravens are catching her fancy among the rugged rocky landscapes of Utah. Sometimes, she and her husband, along with other family, will caravan out to remote sites and hang out for four or five days, painting, climbing and driving off-road.

Starling agreed to an interview with the News-Sentinel. Below are her lightly edited responses.

Q: When you think of the West, what do you visualize?

A: The openness of the country, and the lack of people. Old trucks remind me of the West. It's so dry and there's no salt on the roads and no salt in the air, so they can last forever, until the dry grass grows over them.

Q: What's your favorite moment while painting?

A: There's a point after the conception of the idea, when you're just knocking it in and masking out the canvas before there's any detail. That's when you can tell, okay, I've got something I can work with.

Q: What do you do in the middle of a painting when you can tell the original idea just isn't working?

A: Definitely, I change it. At that point, you can still do things to fix it. You can scrape paint off, rub something out, change it over here, or over there.

Q: What's the farthest you've traveled to paint a particular scene?

A: Well, I've been to France, so ... [laughs]. Normally about an hour or so. I don't want to waste gas, or painting time.

Q: Why is it important for you to work in plein aire?

A: It's quiet and clear, and you can see the relationships between the colors and the values and your subject. I can think out there, and its where my inspiration comes from.


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Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)

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