Recap of 1st Arboretum event

RITG-AIR live 1
Karen Hochman Brown (r), Artist-In-Residence @LA Arboretum

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of sharing my art-making process at The Gallery at the Arboretum Library, (Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden). I started at 11:00 in the morning by setting up my computer station. I am using a MacBook Pro with an external monitor. This enables me to mirror my screen and be able to talk face-to-face with people; they can see what I am doing without standing behind me.

Peacock Art with foundlings
Pumped-up Peacock with components. Click the image to see enlargement.

The next step was to take photographs to use for base images. I found some lovely bird of paradise and some gorgeous cacti. But I honed in on a peacock strutting his stuff. Many peacocks live at the Arboretum in Arcadia, CA, and in fact, peacocks are the official “city bird.”

Once I decided on the image, I began creating layers of kaleidoscopic reflections. The program I use for this is ArtMatic Designer. It gives me some very powerful tools to change the shape of the mirrors. In a normal session, I will render out at least a dozen layers to select from. Click on the image of Pumped-Up Peacock for an enlarged version to see the layers and base images that were used to make the artwork.

For the remainder of the work I use Photoshop. The layers are cut apart, stacked and shaded until I decide the piece is done. This is the first time that I have created an entire artwork outside of my studio at home. I wasn’t sure I could do it considering the time constraints. I did it! I was able to finish the piece in five hours.

Next Artitist-In-Residence event:
April 16, from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm.

The gallery show continues through June 30, 2016.
Check the Arboretum website for hours.


A Valentine gift

Base "doodle"
Base “doodle”

I have been trying to turn my artworks into coloring book pages. I think the kaleidoscopic mandalas that I create lend themselves to this. However, with so much texture in my artworks, I have been unable to translate them into stark black and white. So I have been working with line doodles that I created in Adobe Illustrator and spinning them into fanciful creations that are suitable for coloring. My plan is to make enough of them to create a book, or at least an ebook.

Valentine Coloring Page
Click on image to download full size

For Valentines Day, I am presenting a page that you can download for free! Print at home and color with your favorite crayons, colored pencils or markers. Feel free to distribute this page to your friends. Have fun.

Happy Valentines Day!

My process

Artwork Bird OParadise
Bird Paradise base image
Artmatic demo BOP
Artmatic graphic synthesizer

Every one of my kaleidoscopic artworks starts with a photograph. I’m going to use as an example the piece Bird OParadise. As you might have guessed, the subject is the bird of paradise flower. The sturdy purple and orange blossom shows up against a muted green background. They come together for a natural display of secondary colors. Pay special attention to the blue-violet flower petal speckled in dewdrops emerging from the structural flower’s beak-like sheath or spathe.

I import the base image into a graphic synthesizer program (ArtMatic) for manipulation. The photograph is filtered through a variety of mathematical transformations—stretched, bent and reflected through fractals, polar space and fun-house mirrors. Interesting results are saved as key-frames that can be rendered into large-scale graphic files.

Twelve foundlings for Bird OParadise

The key-framing process allows an image to be animated over time (videos) however, for this series, I only capture the still frames, instructing the software to render the kaleidoscopic reflections. I call the resulting images “foundlings.” I collect the foundlings and tuck them away in a folder, preparing for a digital collage.

Masked foundling

After creating several foundlings, I examine them in large scale—sorting, selecting and sometimes creating more, as the artwork requires. I prepare the selected foundlings in Adobe Photoshop using a technique called masking (think of a digital X-acto with a lot more control). I  gather the masked foundling into layers and manipulate the light and shadow to enhance the illusion of depth in the finished artwork.


Solo show at the Federation

Hanging my work at the Federation
Hanging my work at the Federation

It’s my first solo show and it’s hanging on the walls of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys through March. As part of their cultural arts programs, a local Jewish artist will hang a solo show on their gallery wall. I am their inaugural artist.
I am exhibiting the work from my “Fresh Harvest” gallery.

Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys
114A W. Lime Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016

Artisan Boutique

Please come and see my work:
Sunday November 16, 2014
1434 North Altadena Drive

Pasadena, CA  91107I am happy to announce that I am participating in an Artisan Boutique sponsored by PJTC Sisterhood. I will be exhibiting and selling my new prints on aluminum. This will be a great opportunity to see what this amazing print process does to my colorful artwork. I will have smaller prints on paper available, as well as my new calendar and some other gift items. I will also have my laptop on hand to show off some of my new pieces including animations.


New Project Debut

Karen-Greenscreen-1_02_webOver the last six months, I have returned to an art project that has held my interest over my entire art career. In college, had to opportunity to play with image transfer, a process that used a variety of techniques to transfer printed pages on to paper. I was charmed by the possibilities of re-purposing photographs but hindered by the limits of the technique. When Photoshop was a new program (mid 90s?), I began to play around with this concept anew and have over the years, developed several methods of painting on photographs in the digital realm.

So my newest concept is to take my art into the field. I am working toward a debut date of December 15, to coincide with an artist showcase in which I am participating. By then, I will have worked out the bugs of having proper lighting and a good workflow to be able to make custom portraits while you watch.

Artists Showcase at the Jewish Federation
December 15, 2013 @ 1:00 PM

550 S. Second Avenue
Arcadia, CA

I will be demonstrating my process and maybe even do your portrait!