My recent series draw upon the rich landscapes of the Western United States, Greece and Italy. This body of work traces its inspiration from the culture and images I found as I traveled. In painting landscapes and images of these three countries, I explored the light and texture of the land and culture. Although the terrain of the countries and regions within the countries themselves are similar, I was often struck by the differences. As I traveled to the new locations and observed these differences I had to adjust my perception. By connecting to the core of the new location, I was able to open myself to the distinctiveness and visual impact of that particular place. As a first generation Greek American I have always had an intimate relationship with the land of my parents. In painting landscapes and images of Greece I explored the land and culture that has shaped my life. While carrying out the study of the Western United States and the Mediterranean land I was moved by the intensity of the landscape and I gained an understanding of why the culture developed with such a mystical inclination.
The still life images integrated with landscapes are a central part of my paintings. The objects and figures are placed on a ledge that frames the image and draws the observer into the intimate viewpoint of the painter as the subject is explored. This work focuses on the symbolism of the still life and the arresting impression of the rural and natural settings. I make no attempt to picture every detail of a scene of a landscape, rather, I present what seems to me to be the visual essence of the place. I strive to depict the light and mood of the scene that I am inspired to paint. My paintings capture the quality of the landscape at that moment such as the ephemeral light of dusk or of light shaped by the clouds. I interpret such an image and record that moment of time to convey that place as it once existed. The still life is often symbolic and includes my sketchbooks, objects associated with the location and other selected items with which I have a personal connection. As stated by Iliana Schoinas “this connection with the objects facilitates the still life to personalize the landscape and to contribute to the feeling and understanding of what it was to be in that particular location.”
Katherine Pappas Parks