Studio Update: Spring Explorations

Here we are in April and it already feels like June here in Germany. Only weeks ago we had a frigid cold snap and now we are looking at 80-90°F weather this week. Like most people, I am very tuned into the seasons, especially seeing them unfold outside of my studio window. For the past few weeks, my work has been reflecting the change. My colors are lighter, brighter, and my marks more energetic. As the days have gotten longer and the mornings much lighter, I’m also not working in the dark anymore in the morning, like I was back in January.


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the saying, “the sap is rising.” It seems to be true of everyone and everything this time of year. People get more energetic, happier, possibly more agitated as everything comes to life. And the trees and plants are all going through this, literally. I think about this as a potentially violent process, too. There is always a dark side to nature. Last year’s dead leaves and vegetation becomes food for this year’s growth. The birth of baby animals means (often) food for the predators…. For me, you can’t properly honor nature by only capturing what is pretty or glorious.

That’s why abstract art is so great for expressing the opposing forces and hallmarks of nature. Here are a few pieces I finished lately.

Heather Kerley, “All Things,” 2018, Mixed Media Collage, 30 x 40 cm.


Heather Kerley, “Life Cycle,” 2018, Mixed Media on Yupo, 28 x 36 cm.

I don’t remember a time when blue did not figure prominently in my work. Blue relates to skies, oceans, lakes, and seas. It is the color of a night sky filled with stars. It symbolizes depth and tranquility, but movement, too. If the color blue relates most to water out of all the elements, sap cannot rise without water, so it is coursing through everything.

Drowned King is one of a series of works I did recently thinking about William Shakespeare’s the tempest  and the verse:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2
Heather Kerley, “Drowned King,” 2018, Acrylic and Oil Pastels on Canvas, 70 x 70 cm.

Here are two more recent works with lots of blue.

Heather Kerley, “The Bridge,” 2018, Mixed Media Collage on Paper, 24 x 36 cm.


Heather Kerley, “Untitled,” 2018, Mixed Media on Yupo Paper, 28 x 36 cm. 

Spring is transition, change, possibility, creation. A time for dynamism… how are you embracing the season?

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