Artist and Designer
Portfolio > Paintings
Karla started painting lessons at age 9 and hasn't stopped painting since. We'll spare you the early years...
Churches, especially old churches, are infused with layers of worship and prayer. It is a palpable feeling one gets when walking into the space; it feels holy.These paintings express that sense of the sacredness.
The process of painting these churches took on a ritualistic, almost prayerful tone as I created them. The time I set aside to paint each week began to feel a lot like time set aside for prayer or meditation. I would enter the usually quiet empty space of the art building, perform the ritual preparations of filling my water jar, setting out my brushes, and squeezing paint out its tubes. I would get to work and before I knew it, four hours may have passed. The focus on mixing exactly the right colors, painting the tiniest details, and having complete control over my breathing and the movements of my arm, wrist, and fingers made the rest of the world fall away. The act of painting really can feel holy. This is why I named my gallery exhibit Holy Spaces: for the holy space that is a church and the holy space of creating the painting.
-Artist Statement, Karla Hovde, 2015
cam·era ob·scu·ra. noun.
- A darkened box with a convex lens or aperture for projecting the image of an external object onto a screen inside it is important historically in the development of photography
- A small round building with a rotating angled mirror at the apex of the roof, projecting an image of the landscape onto a horizontal surface inside
ORIGIN early 18th century: from Latin, ‘dark chamber’
Camera obscuras have fascinated me since I first visited one in England when I was a child. For this project, I built simple camera obscuras in various locations on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University. I blacked out the windows, leaving a tiny hole less than ½ inch in diameter. A beam of sunlight coming through the hole projected an inverted image of the outside scene onto my canvas, which I traced.
No, tracing is not cheating. If I wanted a lazy, easy option, I could have sketched each landscape in about three minutes, rather than the hours it took me to set up the camera obscuras to trace the images. I don’t think you can understand why I chose to invest the time to set up the camera obscuras until you yourself have experienced the unearthly feeling of turning a room into a camera and witnessing this tiny hole, the only source of light in the room, flip your whole world upside down.
The painting style I used surprised even me: the source of the images was literally photo realistic, yet the painting is a bit abstract. The series of four paintings preserve a feeling of the time between seasons: summer and fall.
-Artist Statement, Karla Hovde, 2013
This painting series is meant to emulate churches' stained glass windows. It was hours of equations and geometry to create these designs, but worth it for the unique look of this series.