Artist-In-Residence, take two, at the LA Arboretum

"Goji Draco Fabrication" shown with its base image and the reflected foundlings that were used to make the artwork
“Goji Draco Fabrication” shown with its base image and the reflected foundlings that were used to make the artwork. Click the image for an enlargement.

This last weekend at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, they celebrated the official opening to their demonstration garden, Crescent Farm, highlighting steps to create beautiful, bountiful gardens with less water.  To tie into this milestone, I took my inspiration for this artwork from photographs I captured at “the crescent.” The area is abundant with native wildflowers. Additionally, there are interesting garden accents honed from natural materials. I found a mulch of bark laid out in a curved fan pattern. There were pathways lined with lengths of dried bamboo and logs around a tree in a talking circle.

But what really caught my eye was a woven support for an otherwise unkempt plant. What was once a bunch of garden castoffs is now a functional and esthetically pleasing structure. A Dragon Tree provided the material for the weave that now supports a variety of Goji Berry.

The piece I created as Artist-In-Residence at is “Goji Draco Fabrication.” Maybe it would have looked more dragon-like if I had known the source of the brown/orange material. I didn’t learn the identity of the plants until the artwork was complete. Many thanks to the Arboretum staff for helping me identify the subjects of my work.

@LAArboretum  #KarenHochmanBrown #ArtistInResidence #liveart #digitalart #kaleidoscope


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.


Arboretum Artist-in-Residence

The Forecast Is Fern
The Forecast Is Fern

My kaleidoscopic artworks are still on display at the Gallery at The Los Angeles County Arboretum. The show, Reflections In The Garden runs through the end of June, and is housed in the Arboretum’s newly renovated Library.

I’m happy to announce that I will be demonstrating my creation process on four separate occasions, onsite at the gallery. I’m taking my camera and computer and will create a new piece, from start to finish over a five hour period. In each session, I will begin by taking photographs around the Arboretum grounds. I will select an image to work with and then make several layers of the image, reflected in many ways. I will continue with my process until I (hopefully) finish an artwork. Come watch me work.

Join me at the Arboretum!

To get to the Gallery at The Los Angeles County Arboretum, go to the main entrance and the Library is immediately to the left, through the double doors. Admission or membership are required to tour the grounds, however it is not required to visit the Library.

301 North Baldwin Avenue • Arcadia, CA  91007

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

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!

Where did it all begin? Part 2 – My first piece in the series

I was working on Judaic Art but had hit a roadblock. I wanted to have my designs custom printed on silk to make into prayer shawls (tallit). The results were beautiful, but the cost was too high to make them profitable. I was frustrated and needed another artistic outlet.

In January of 2011, I attended an inspirational seminar, Matrix Energetics. And while I did not become a practitioner like my brother, it did lead me to begin my series of photography-based kaleidoscopic artwork. When I got home, I created the first piece, Magnolia Pod-me Hum. The base image is a magnolia pod from a tree in my garden. It was placed there by my landscape designer as his gift to me and as a reminder of his business, Mother Magnolia.

Base image for Magnolia Pod-me Hum

I was looking though the various experimentations I had done with U&I Software’s Artmatic, a modular graphics synthesizer that I enjoyed fiddling with. I found an example I made from a piece of beach rock marked with holes. It was a simple reflection without any further manipulation. But it gave me the spark to play around with the idea of incorporating photographs into the six-pointed stars I had been creating in Artmatic and manipulating in Photoshop.

Holey Beach Rock
Holey Beach Rock

An idea was born. I used the Artmatic parameter tree (see blog post, Where did it all begin? Part 1) from Holey Beach Rock as my starter point. I made many variations on the theme with the photograph of my magnolia pod as the source. I took the resulting renders and imported them into Photoshop to be masked, shaded and layered. I decided the result needed a little something extra so I put in little versions of the magnolia pod and some dots. I can’t remember why I decided to try dots, but they seemed to work and added an extra something. The result was Magnolia Pod-me Hum–the first of what would become a series in excess of eighty pieces and still growing.

In the beginning, I set myself up with some rules, kind of like an assignment. I alway said that I work best under assignment. This time it didn’t come from the outside. My pieces would be made from a single photograph. They would be six-sided symmetry. They would have dots. I made eleven pieces like that until I created Rose Frills In Four which is titled such because I used a four-sided symmetry. Then with twelve pieces in the series, I made my second calendar.

Next time, I’ll talk about the process a bit.




My work featured in Wide Open Digital at Digital Arts: California

I have six pieces on display in the current exhibition “Wide Open Digital” sponsored by Digital Arts: California.

Digital Arts: California - Wide Open Digital


“Wide Open Digital,” showcases exciting innovative work by 67 digital artists and photographers from 22 countries. This show includes 293 images that range, in style and technique, from one end of the digital spectrum to the other. These images represent some of the most talented work in digital arts around the globe, including artists from Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Serbia, and the Ukraine.

Click here to link to the exhibit.

Featured: “Parting the Water” at Bits and Pieces Exhibition at Linus Gallery in Pasadena

I am very excited to have my piece “Parting The Water” in an upcoming exhibition Bits and Pieces at Linus Gallery in Pasadena. 

The base photograph for “Parting The Water” was taken at dawn when the sun was just peeking over the cliffs. The play of light and dark intensifies the division between land and ocean, between wave and break, between spray and sky. The churning of the sea after a breaking wave is veiled in shadow. The depth of color is ominous and unearthly. Sharp edges appear that are unlike the softness one expects from water.Bathed in light, cresting waves form a frame to contain the ocean’s power. The spiraling arms of the central star motif draw the viewer in and around, evoking the ebb and flow of the sea itself. At its very core, a basin offers purification and renewal from its depths.
Bits and Pieces can be interpreted literally as well as figuratively. This exhibition explores images that are, on the one hand, quite appropriately made of bits and pieces and, on the other, can be likened to viewing only a portion of the whole narrative.


*Artwork will be for sale at this exhibition
Opening reception:
October 19, 2012
5:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Linus Galleries
545 S. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105