“New Paintings of Block Island,” Kate Knapp’s new oils-on-canvas, depict her favorite island places caught in those fleeting moments of perception and transferred to canvas through her dynamic brushwork and vivid palette. They are on exhibit at the Jessie Edwards Gallery on the second floor of the Post Office building from Friday, Aug. 3 through Wednesday, Aug. 15. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“Nature is my muse,” Knapp said recently. “And especially the nature of Block Island, particularly the light and water.” (It is a rare Knapp painting that does not have water as a context.) Painted in the fall of 2017 and the spring of this year, most of these scenes are set in the morning or evening light when angles, colors, contours, and shadows are most evident. Stormy spring days sent Knapp, a plein air artist, inside, but even then, the interior scenes are oriented toward the sea and sky. Knapp’s love of flowers and colorful patterns and her knack for blurring the lines between inside and outside can be seen in her still-lifes of flowers.
Painting outside gives Knapp both deep satisfaction and delight, but also some challenging moments. “Working in nature means working with nature,” she said. This can mean painting faster, with quick, fluid brush strokes, in changing light to catch “the moment.” When she began “Coast Guard Incoming Tide” the tide was out, but by the time she finished, the water had made its way onto the beach and, therefore, into the painting.
Her paintings are examples of what Knapp means when she says “painting is my meditation on Block Island.”