Kathleen Elsey


March 6, 2009
Energetically Infused with Vibrant Hues...

By Erin J. Smith/CASA

Energetically infused with vibrant hues, the recent work of painter Kathleen Elsey explores themes of interior and exterior spaces.

“It’s about moving the inside outside and the outside inside—that is what people do,” said Elsey, whose solo show Inside Out is currently on display at the Architectural Foundation Gallery through April 10th. “When we go to the beach we bring pieces of our interior worlds outside, our beach blanket, our chairs, our books...”

Fourteen months ago Elsey conceptualized the show strictly as a series of interior spaces to compliment the Architectural Foundation’s focus on design and built environments. But as she began working through the paintings, Elsey realized tdhat it’s not just about inside: “I also like to paint outside where people bring the inside out” Elsey pointed to her panting Table in the Oak Grove as an example, where tables and chairs have been set up outdoors almost like a room in a house. “But,” said Elsey, “the trees around you become the walls.”

The drive to create has been part of Elsey’s life for as long as she can remember. “When I look I see shape and color, and I always see light. It’s what makes me want to paint,” said Elsey. “With color and light I could be excited to paint anything.”

Elsey began college as a math major on scholarship at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, but after taking every art elective she could, she ultimately switched to graphic design. “I always wanted to be an artist, but there was no one to tell me hot to make a living with art,” she said. Graphic design seemed to fill the need for working with her hands, and Elsey enjoyed a successful career including owning her own design business in San Francisco for fourteen years. After retiring from graphic design, Elsey has been painting full –time ever since. She also regularly teaches painting workshops in Santa Barbara as well as in Sonoma, and in Taos, New Mexico.

“Paintings are recordings of my life. They are my memories,” she said. “If I see something that impresses me, I have to capture it in paint. I work fast to get the feeling down.” Elsey told a story about a time she was outside painting with a friend where she found herself painting a light-infused scene despite the gloomy atmosphere outside. When her friend saw Elsey’s painting, her friend said to her, “Kathleen, you see sunshine everywhere.”

Join Elsey at an artist’s reception on Friday, March 6t from 5-7pm at the Architectural Foundation Gallery. The Gallery is located at 229 E. Victoria St. at Garden St. Hours are Tuesday through Friday. For more information visit elsey.com.

© 2009 Kathleen Elsey. All rights reserved. All paintings are property of Kathleen Elsey
and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Kathleen Elsey.
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