I was inspired by the words of Canadian artist Barbara Caruso  (1939 – 2009) this week. Caruso spent her career investigating and conquering what she called colour phenomena, line and form. She is perhaps best known for her large canvas Colour Lock series and her writing. Between 1966 and 1979, Caruso journaled about her practice and life as an artist living in Toronto in A Painter’s Journey Volume I and Volume II and to my mind, there is no better account of the ins and outs, ups and downs of choosing a creative career.

My favorite Caruso book is Wording the Silent Art  and it was there that I read about a series of drawings Caruso began in 1973 . Caruso was interested in line as measure. She began by making a stencil of different size shapes and began drawing the shapes over each other until the page was filled with lines. “Draw a line, the space of the page is interrupted by it, acting with and against it and a dialogue begins.” (p110) Ever experimental, Caruso played with her lines. Some shapes were drawn with one continuous line; others with a series of single lines, “each drawing [becoming] a new event.” (p111)  Caruso’s series was created with graphite pencil but I chose watercolor pencil for mine so I could experiment with shadow and smudge.  In each of our drawings, I think “the elements configure and reveal necessity; fundamental realities unfold. All this is visible for the conscious eye.” (p163)

Image: Bound/Unbound – watercolor pencil on paper by Annis Karpenko


Discovering the art of Barbara Caruso
A Painter’s palette in prose

All images and content © Annis Karpenko
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