skip to Main Content

About Karen Brighton MA

Artist Statement

Crowds in City landscapes have formed one important strand of ideas for my paintings. London in particlar has always fasinated me and some of my work is directly shaped by my time working in London and being involved in City life.

I loved watching the crowds and the blur of people mingling together, but all strangers in their own worlds and endeavours. The sheer speed of modern life lived in a landscape shaped by a combination of history and need.

As Baudelaire the poet said, “the modern artist should walk amidst the ebb and flow of the metropolitan crowds, and become one with the movements as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy”. I try to reflect those thoughts in my work but also give life to the wonderful achitechure of the City.

The research and inspiration for my work often comes from wandering the streets, going to and fro across the City, taking photographs and commiting images to memory. Groups of figures play on the eye forming rhythmical patterns of movement in locations and against achitectural gems.

Crowds in Cty landscapes have been the subject for many of my  paintings. London in particlar has always fasinated me from my time working there and being involved in City life.

Figures stand out from the darkness, still recognisable but sometimes barely discernible. I see the dark and the light and colour, and have reflected this in the reality of my images.

Often very little colour, it could be winter on the streets in some paintings, or early morning sunlight in others. I use oil applying the paint with brushes and rags. Working the paint across the the canvas, leaving surface traces of physical movement and energy; making marks that taken separately look undistinguishable, but collectively, because of their relationship to each other, are recognisable as being figurative. Stepping up close to the canvas the brush strokes seem almost abstract, when you step backwards the world becomes recognisable again.

More recenly having moved to the counrtyside, I also have found myself studying the landscape in a similar way, producing paintings that capture what I see, the rawness of the land.

So different from the City streets, and using a different process to do this, thick paint on board, scratching and working into the layers of paint, until a recognisable image emerges; and a half glimpse of a cottage or a telegraph pole or a gate post hidden away helps give a sense of place.