Discover Local Artists: Choosing the right sofa

Get your priorities straight. And don’t choose a painting for over the sofa. Pick out the painting first, and let it inspire its surroundings — your home environment. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

When artist Carol Korpi-McKinley moved into her Palm Beach Gardens home, she already had her gorgeous collection of paintings ready and waiting to be hung.

Carol Korpi-McKinley in her studio

So, for her, the question that stumps others –“What painting should I hang over the living room sofa?” – just would never come up. Rather, she asks – “What environment should I create that would best showcase my art?”

And as you can see, these rooms absolutely do extend her colors, themes, dreams and schemes, right off the canvas and into the midst of her everyday life.

Korpi-McKinley, a long-time and prolific painter, is a master at making a flat surface three dimensional (her site, studio-ten, gives an idea of the scope of her work) so she can certainly offer the rest of us some thoughtful observations. For her, at the very heart, a painting is not just a window into another world, it’s a window into this one, as well.

These exotic animals feel right at home in Korpi-McKinley’s living room.

Because decorating is mostly visual, it’s important to set the mood of your home with the things that are going to make the biggest visual impact. Almost always, that revolves around the artwork.

•  Since I specialize in creating large paintings, it was important for me to pick out furnishings that would accent and enhance my artwork. So, I picked out neutral tones for the large pieces – sofas, rugs, tables – and accented with bright pieces that carried the themes of the current artwork throughout the house. The accent pieces are themed around desserts, fruit, palms and animals. The textural elements of each room are also themed around the current paintings. For example, I used leopard-print throws and pineapple pillows.

These paintings of lovely landscapes, flora and fauna set the stage for serious dining

•  I love decorating with large-scale paintings because they make a big impact on my mood. I want to surround myself with things that make me feel happy and at one with nature — things that are warm and cozy, sometimes fun, and sometimes exotic depending on the room. I want to feel comfortable in my sanctuary around things that elicit good energy.

Eat your cake and have it, too. Who said paintings don’t belong in the kitchen?

•  I enjoy my dessert paintings in the kitchen and decorated around them, because they remind me of how good life can taste. I hung my animal paintings in the rooms where I sit and talk because they make me feel like I’m connected to a more peaceful nature, and they remind me that we are always surrounded by friends – some of them are just a little bit furrier. I think large vistas work well in smaller rooms, because they create a sense of space.

•  I sometimes go against the trend of hanging paintings at eye level, and hang them higher, because that creates grandeur since they loom from above. I also like to display pieces that are different from current popular decorating notions because it conveys a sense of my own distinctive personality and it reminds me to stay in tune with my personal happiness and joie de vivre.

Written for Palm2Jupiter

Discover Local Artists: How Sweet It Is!

Do you crave something sweet?

Are your eyes bigger than your stomach?

4-by-5-foot Banana Split
Carol Korpi-McKinley

If so, wet your appetite (and feast your eyes) on artist Carol McKinley’s “Junk Food” creations: enormous 10-foot tall ice-cream cones, 4-by-5-foot boxes of maxi-candies and humongous cake rolls, banana splits, and patisseries…

…which are on exhibit at the Lighthouse Center for the Arts’ exhibit, “Multiple Sins” through September 25.  A reception is scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

She paints to elicit joy, she explains. “I used to do more serious paintings to work out my angst, but after I was done with them, I never wanted to see them again.

3 by 5 foot Ice cream sundae

“How can you not look at an ice cream cone and not feel happy?”

Most of her “Junk Food” canvases, she said, are representational of the “artist’s obsession with idolizing a single object and making an icon of it.”

Also, she adds, it allows her to indulge her sweet tooth. For her candy paintings, for example, she went through almost four boxes. “That added up to several dozen chocolates.”

Her “Junk Food” series started out because she wanted to send a card to her husband, John, who’s

crazy about sugar. They were dieting at the time, she recalls, and she decided he’d really like to have some ice cream.

“I knew that would make him happy, so I bought eight gallons and 30 toppings. I’d photograph the concoctions – ice cream melts too fast for still lifes — and he’d eat them when I was done.”

3-by-5-foot Ice Cream Cone With Cherry on Top

That was eight years ago. Recently, though, she quit smoking, and started a diet to lose a couple of pounds, and sure enough, that precipitated another “Junk Food” phase.

“I do seem to supplement this series every few years when I go on a diet. On an unconscious level, I guess I can justify eating my reference material.”

(McKinley loves sugar, but she’s not stuck on it.

She also paints landscapes, abstracts and animals.

Carol and John, by the way, are trim. They mostly dine on veggies and health food. – except on the weekends…)

Prices of her original canvases range from $4,800 to $15,000. Large-scale limited edition archival prints range from $1,450 to $1,620.

Also featured in “Multiple Sins” are Barry Seidman’s series of photographs, “Drinks” and “Smokes.”

The Lighthouse Center of the Arts is at 373 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta. Hours are 10 a.m. through 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All events are free to members and $5 for nonmembers.

For information, call (561) 746-3101.

4-by-5-foot Box of Chocolates
4-by-4-foot French Pastry Window