Kat Corrigan, Painter of Fresh Paintings
I am inspired by light and shadow, how color works together to make areas pulse and recede, and the way brush strokes and layers of paint can influence emotional responses to a work. My work is expressionistic, in a realistic manner. I paint on black allowing some of the black to show through; this contrasts against the brightness of the colors in a way similar to the luminosity found in batik.
I have been painting for twenty years, more seriously since 2007, and nearly daily since 2010. Committing to a daily painting has caused a great maturation in my technique; my decision-making process has become intuitive and automatic, to the point where my efficiency has reached epic proportions. I need to be able to paint a work quickly and usually in one sitting, or it doesn’t feel as “fresh” as I like it. Often when a piece isn’t working I find it easier to gesso over it and start again.
My influences have been literary, spiritual, personal and artistic. I read voraciously, fiction and non, and prefer visual writers and poetry. John Singer Sargent’s brushstrokes caught my eye through their tangible translation of the sense of touch in a brushstroke, and Alice Neel’s psychological portraits have demonstrated how to explain personality through the use of contrast and color. Of course, Vincent VanGogh’s hysterical and wise use of textured and energetic line have encouraged me since childhood.
A piece is successful for me when I want to keep looking at it. When I have truly captured the essence of the animal in a portrait or the deep purple tones of the shadows in a street scene, I am in awe of myself. That is when I feel I am being an instrument of the art itself. The work exists somewhere – I am simply translating the vision.
And if you must know more…
Born to an electrician and a teacher/artist, Kat spent her childhood between two brothers and two younger sisters, bringing home any pets she could get her hands on, including worms, frogs, tadpoles, fuzzy caterpillars, a small squirrel and many pet rocks. Her mother freely encouraged any and all creative tendencies, supplying more materials than could be used. Ceramics, macrame’, origami, large rolls of butcher paper, scrap wire and mud were regular media in exploration. Trips up to the North Shore and regular week long summer trips in the Winnebago to other states with the entire family and sometimes mom’s parents instilled a love of travel. Dad’s ability and willingness to enter into conversations with complete strangers was at first embarrassing, but advanced to a desirable trait as Kat grew up.
Through mom’s insistence, all the kids were regular winners of ribbons in the various art categories at the Dakota County Fair and several times at the Minnesota State Fair.
At St. Benedict’s during her senior year, Kat stumbled into the oil painting technique she still favors today, painting her first large series of work in a month. Working monochromatically in blues and greens with small strokes, she covered about fifteen hand-me-down canvases, the smallest two feet by three feet. Large paintings of whales, these pieces have been seen at few shows since their creation and a few, lent out to acquaintances, have disappeared, echoing Kat’s fear at the time of all the work ending up in her parent’s garage… which is where they sat for a few years.
The speed and productivity of this first output has continued to occur annually at Grand Marais at the Art Colony under the guidance of artist Elizabeth Erickson, founder of the Women’s Art Institute and also of WARM, the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota.
Kat’s work is collected around the world.