Painting with light

In her oil paintings, artist Karen Sill tries to perk up the canvas with color, whether she’s painting a whole garden or just one or two flowers.

This week, the La Crescenta resident is working on something new. She’s painting the master bedroom suite of the Frank Lanterman House in La Cañada Flintridge. She hopes to finish it in time to display it in the Foothill Artists League Show there on Sunday.

“This is my first interior,” she said.

“And I’m enjoying trying something new. When we took a tour of the house and saw the master suite, I couldn’t resist and thought I’d give it a try.”

Sill has a love for interior design, and when she saw the space, she said, it looked like a peaceful, restful place to read a book.

“And the light is filtering through the French doors and it’s a comfortable, homey place,” she added.

Most of Sill’s subjects are gardens, but she also paints seascapes and large florals. In Sunday’s show, she is displaying a 36-inch-by-30-inch painting of two lavender irises and another 12-inch-by-16-inch piece of vibrant orange poppies.

“In the painting of the two irises, I put lavenders and blue and I have a lot of sunlit light pouring through the leaves,” she said.

She defines her technique as realism with impressionistic strokes.

“The impressionist strokes are a little looser than a photograph and I put a lot of light coming through a source,” she said.

Sill is the strongest realist painter of the group, said fellow artist Margot Lennartz.

“She paints in impressionistic realism,” Lennartz said. “She is true to reality, nothing abstract. But she uses an impressionistic style — small brush strokes — in her larger paintings instead of long strokes.”

This is the third show for the Foothill Artists League. The group has been painting together for more than six years.

Lennartz is the coordinator of the group.

“I try to keep them together,” she said. “I guide them with critiques, and plan outdoor painting events — plein air. It’s my life.”

The group is a good support system for the artists, Sill said.

“We have a good camaraderie, bounce ideas off each other,” she said.

“It’s our therapy group. We lift each other up when we need it. We have a strong loyalty and connection to one another.”

Three years ago, Sill and Lennartz decided it would be fun to do a group show. Members are showing 100 paintings in this Sunday’s show, Lennartz said.

What Sill likes best about doing a show is talking to the public, she said.

“I enjoy the interaction — meeting people — and it’s a good way to connect with other people,” she said. “If they are happy seeing my work, that makes me happy and brings me a lot of joy.”

One of her favorite memories is of a show at Descanso Gardens.

One of the painting on display was of San Juan Capistrano Mission.

“A guy had seen the painting the day before, and he ran up the hill and ran out of breath when he came into the gallery,” she said.

“You are so happy they are getting the painting because they really love it. And I put a lot of love into my work.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World