Having worked for 14 years as a commercial artist, Audra Keefe has spent the last three years pursuing a career in fine arts.
An abstract painter, Keefe paints large, colorful pieces using acrylics. Striking about her work is the process she uses which requires a lot of energy and movement.
Ahead of the annual event, Keefe took some time to answer questions for the TAB about her art, her need to create and her process.
How did you get into it?
I grew up in an artistic family. My grandfather and mother both painted. Thinking back I always created art. I even painted an impromptu mural on my bedroom wall when I was 10 years old–thankfully my parents encouraged creativity. I graduated from college as a studio art major. Then in search of a career went back to school for graphic design. I spent years working as a commercial artist, but always felt the need to get back to painting.
Painting is a very personal experience–it moves something in me. There is a healing and resolution that comes from finishing a piece. I often think about why I paint. The only answer that I keep coming back to is: I do it because I have to. There is something inside me that needs to create.
Describe your process.
My process begins with color. I pick a palette of colors that have an interesting relationship. I pour paint directly on the canvas and swipe the canvas to briefly mix the paint. From that point on I rely mostly on the movement of the canvas and gravity. I spin, twist, and tilt the surface to create a sense of suspended liquid motion.
My favorite part of the process is the beginning, the blank canvas stage. I find the potential for what the painting will become very exciting. There is a great sense of hope and possibility in that moment.
Do you have a favorite piece?
That is hard to say. I like a lot of different pieces for different reasons, but I do tend to be drawn to my largest paintings. I think my paintings communicate more effectively at a large size.
I view my paintings as a sort of visual dance – an expressive dialogue with the viewer. I have worked to create a unique visual language that is born from active painting techniques. The most frequent question I get about my work is “How is it done?” I like hearing this question because that means that the viewer is thinking about the process.
Brookline Open Studios is an annual event dedicated to supporting local artists by allowing them to host open studio sessions around town. During the event you can find Keefe, along with two other artists, at the Village Wellness Center, at 33a Harvard Street on the third floor.