Kathe Fraga – New Paintings at Museo Gallery, Whidbey Island

It was such a joy to take a road trip to Langley, Washington from our little Island–even if it was a wild weather day filled with lightning, thunder, fog, rain and sunbreaks (welcome to summer in the Pacific Northwest). We were off to see my new collection of paintings at Museo Gallery. Owner/Gallerist Sandra Jarvis always creates such beautiful shows. My work was paired with a variety of colorful and absolutely stunning glass pieces as part of the Whidbey Island Glass Invitational at Museo. I’ve shown with one of my favorite glass artists, Kait Rhoads, before so it was a welcome pleasure to see my painting A Rustle of Feathers, A Whisper of Love paired with her lovely pieces in the entry of the gallery. I took a few pictures to share with you. Hope you like them! (The show runs till the end July.)

New Series: Love Poems, 5 paintings

It’s been a busy time in the studio. My show opens June 30th at Museo Gallery, located in one of my favorite places: the absolutely charming little town of Langley, Washington. (I think I’ve mentioned it before–the fabulous Inn at Langley is there and there are so many things to love including the town’s own Whale Bell to ring if there is a sighting off the beach!)

I have a new series that I’ll be including in the show–it’s called Love Poems. There are five paintings in the series: #1 “Loving Embrace”, #2 “Sweet Mystery”,  #3 “”Soft Kisses”, #4 “Dreaming of You”, #5 “Always.”

Olioboard (a website for creating virtual rooms) allowed me to create a “room” with the new series–it was so much fun. Please check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for visiting my blog!

New Paintings–Deer, Birds, Hares–for July Show at Museo Gallery, Langley, Washington

Langley by the Sea is one of my favorite spots in Washington. The main street is nestled  right next to the beach and is lined with charming shops–the incredible Inn at Langley is just steps away and the town is filled with flowers, art and great places to eat–Prima Bistro is wonderful!

Grey whales slap and spin in the blue Saratoga Passage–there’s a new whale bell to ring every time one waves a fin! It’s such a special spot!

That’s why I am delighted to be the featured painter for the July show at Museo Gallery. It’s their annual Glass Works Show and I’m looking forward to being part of such a colorful presentation.

Detail from a 48 x 36 inch painting.

My work is all about romance and relationships, garden and les fleurs.–I love the old world look of European murals and the combination of exuberant color and pattern of vintage tapestries. It’s a big influence on what I’m painting now: patterned birds inspired by the sea-tumbled Blue Willow china shards I find in the sand; flower-covered deer running across fields of orange and pale green; a decorated hare and bird meet under the moon in a tree; a peacock takes command of the canvas in turquoise and deep green surrounded by fat red blooms.

Detail from a 40 x 16 inch painting.

Then there are the botanicals: creamy white blossoms against pink and blue…

The show will run from July 7-31 — hope you can make it!

Kaller Fine Arts, NYC and Washington DC, now representing Kathe Fraga paintings/commissions

I’m so happy to announce that my paintings are now represented in New York and Washington, DC by Kaller Fine Arts. I have long admired the beautiful work represented by Candace Kaller–her background in the arts world is amazing (see more here) and I am honored to be on the KFA artist roster.

I’m now working on a commission with  Candace for an East Coast client and it’s really exciting!

I love the collaboration between a gallery/client/artist. Before the project started, Candace was able to present my work in person to the client to show the unique texture and sheen of my frescoed Chinoisserie-inspired canvases.

The challenge was which colors to use for the client’s unique dining room space. I was given two pink options and a brown, along with a picture of a beautiful multi-hued Oriental rug (that I loved).

I painted three 16×12 inch sample boards using my botanical imagery that the client had requested and sent them to her so she could see each one in her room (see photos of the three boards below). What better way to see how the light works with each color and how the finished canvases might look in situ.

I am so happy that the soft chocolate brown background with pink blooms was chosen. Now on to the finished matching, custom ordered 42 x 24 inch panels…and yet to be decided are the border bird or deer imagery. Stay tuned!

Delighted to be featured in the Bainbridge Island Review-article by Constance Mears

It was such a pleasure, a couple of weeks ago, to spend a few hours chatting with Bainbridge Island Review reporter Constance Mears for this article. She’s an artist herself, in addition to being a writer and a poet, so the conversation flowed so easily. Thank you Constance for taking the time to come and see my studio and my paintings!

Beach Roses, Summer Rain: New for Museo Gallery Garden Show

Beach roses, so wild and sweetly scented, are one of my favorite flowers on the island. They gather along the rocky sandy shores, dancing and playing in the wild spray from the salty sea.

During the winter, their dark skinny thorny branches are filled with tiny bright red hips–a little spot of color to chase away grey windy days.

But when Spring’s cold sun starts to call out welcome to the snowdrops and the daffodills and the crocuses, we know that the wild beach roses can’t be far behind…I love them for their independence, their strength and their loyalty–they bloom without any help from anyone summer after summer and fill the air with their sweet scent, made even more lovely when it rains, as it often does, in summer, down on petals, down on sand.

In the little hidden spots on the island, where the beach roses bloom and the path to the water is hard to find (unless you know), wonderful little blue and white shards of aged and cracked and old vintage blue and white china–usually the Blue Willow pattern–sometimes peek out from the dark craggy rocks. Finding one is like finding gold!

These two new paintings (one shown below) are 12×12, a pair, and called “Beach Roses, Summer Rain” in honor of these lovely flowers and our island beaches…I’ve even included a few pieces of “gold”–china shards from generations past, such stories they could tell!

You can see them at Museo Gallery, Langley, Washington as part of the April Garden Show, opening April 7.

Paris: Color, Croissants, Pillows and the Maison et Objet Show (Calling Barney’s New York!)

Paris-such an inspiration!

We’ve just returned from this magical spot–so many images swirling in my head: the abundance of eye candy at the Maison et Objet show, the narrow cobbled streets and courtyards of the city, the stone interiors and worn wooden staircases of the old apartments where we stayed, the incredible friendliness of the French, and the food–ah, the food. And the wine. And the chocolate eclairs. Oo-la-la!

But what enchants me the most about beautiful Paris is the layers upon layers of the hidden stories of each scarred and weathered wall, door, street, building. The people of this place have come and they have gone, but a massive and thick and unyielding French door, for example, set right on an uneven tiny sidewalk has guarded a passageway to an old city mansion forever–perhaps it started its life hundreds of years ago painted pink but if you look closely, you can see somewhere along the timeline, it was washed in green, then blue, then black and with each scuff and scratch, a patina of age and history emerges that is so haunting and so lovely…

 

This is what I bring back to the studio. I paint and I think of Paris, of red and orange and turquoise doors, of fat pink roses and brown and buttery morning croissants, of  old ivory lace fluttering in a mottled window, of thick black ironwork, tamed to swirl and dance up and around grey, rain-washed steps. Pattern upon pattern, story after story, all told without even a whisper of a word, pas un mot.

This is one of my newest Paris-inspired paintings. I call it “Paris Morning.” The deeper blues are new in the studio and the dancing roses in the cream borders partnered with beach china dots and marks on orange reflect what I adore most about Paris–the lovely jumble of images and hues and cultures that never stop: morning to night, there is always something  more to see than you think you’ve seen…

This was my first visit to Maison et Objet, the huge (an understatement) home show just outside of the city. We are getting ready to launch our new silk and cotton/linen pillow line based on my paintings and we were curious if this show might be a good fit. Here is one of the silk pillows in the collection based on my painting “Her French Kimono” from my French Wallpaper series. (And, by the way, we’re looking into producing wallpaper too!)  Don’t you think this pillow would look wonderful in say, Barney’s New York or maybe Neiman Marcus?


This pillow is called “Morning Light.” I love Love Birds–a recurring theme in my work.


This pillow is called “That Beautiful Morning” from my Botanical Series.


But, ah, Maison et Objet! We were struck by the exuberance everywhere. The first thing we could not possibly ignore and wanted to take home–it was love at first sight–was a chair that in some other life might have held court in the court of a French king–large, carved, twirly and fancy, usually gilded and gold. This one had a fresh new personality– it was painted big and bold in  orange with a matching orange upholstery. And I think this chair set the tone for the entire show. Tangerino tango!


 

Wit and color and fun were in the air and even though we were hearing so many speaking French and German and Italian and Japanese and more–everyone understands (and seemed to love!) the language of red and blue and purple and pink– on dishes, on drapes, on rugs, on pillows. Fantasy and the fantastic is what called out to us. And inventiveness and imagintion and delightful creativity.

The cheerful taxidermy-inspired heads of pink elephant lamps glowed around one corner, tables and chairs made of colorful and worn recycled African fishing boats called to us from the next. Vintage rugs of every pattern had been cut up into squares and all dyed one vibrant color to create new rugs–zing!


This is a show that sparkled with optimism and humor and beauty…just like Paris itself, n’est pas?

Now back to painting and pillows and  back to Paris…soon! (If you’d like to see more of my images from Paris and what inspires my work, please visit me on Pinterest. For more information or to contact me about my paintings, visit my website. Selected prints of my work are available through Grand Image (designers only) and Artaissance.

’tis the season – Red inspires

We love the holidaze here–the old house has plenty of nooks and crannies to decorate with hand cut snowflakes, vintage ornaments, and lots and lots of old Santa mugs.

And Christmas plates. Love old Christmas plates-each one different, each one so special–it’s how we decorate the dinner table Christmas Eve.

In the middle of the ribbons and the wrapping paper and the glitter and the glue and bows and tags, I’m painting. It’s chaos of course but the season is so kindred to my paintings and what I want to express with my work: when I clomp up the old dark stairs to the attic and look around the cobwebs and squint in the half light to see faded labels from last year letting us know where all the treasures are–Santa photos, ribbons, the family ornament collection, Nana’s hand-crocheted little Christmas doll dresses–I’m reminded once again of what inspires my work. It’s this: the old stories, the generations, the love of many families in a home, many colors, many wallpapers, much love. My work is about old walls and discovery and layers of love and time.

Inspired by red, one of my latest paintings – “I Always Knew,” 36×24″ – available at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island.


Wishing you a wonderful and warm holiday!