Artists create for a lot of reasons--ego, instinct,
livelihood--but author and painter Margaret Krug creates for a unique
reason: to enfold us in the intimacy and delicacy of her personal artistic
vision. Often working on a small scale, sometimes on a surface no larger than a
postcard, Krug paints tender and moving works that are tied to her own memories
and the beloved people in her life.
|Krug uses unusual processes and techniques,
like in this work, Dante's Alley (Pierino), which
was created with distemper and silver leaf.
"I like to paint and draw my family and ancestors, their
mementos, and the places where they have spent time," Krug says. Sometimes the
artist has a frame of reference--family stories and legends that have been
passed down through the generations. But sometimes she doesn't. "More often, I
work from a single, small, faded photograph," she says. But from such meager
references, Krug lets her imagination run free, enriching her paintings by
creating her own stories about her subject.
Krug's most recent work, showing later this month in a solo
exhibition at the Smithy Gallery in Cooperstown, New York, continues in this
same vein. Her latest paintings transport viewers to a fictitious place,
Dante's Alley, around which Krug has created almost a dozen works that mark
different moments in time or different emotions having to deal with places in
this dreamy landscape. In her drawings, she represents members of her family
and tries to instill certain nostalgic feelings for the distant past.
But she also establishes intimacy in her work with the materiality
of her process. To Krug, working with her materials can be meditative and how
she paints with them becomes an art in and of itself. Working with distemper,
casein, egg tempera, encaustic, and silverpoint, among others, Krug allows
herself to fall in love with the process of creating art. "I am fascinated by
materials--the smell, the feel, and the touch--and the processes of making art,"
she says. This rapport with her materials led Krug to write An Artist's Handbook: Materials and Techniques, which is being
hailed as one of the most instructive and interesting books on art materials
||Krug's drawings impart a nostalgic,
historical feel to them.
I was smitten once I opened An Artist's Handbook. It is everything I want in an art resource
guide for painting techniques. The information is clear, and Krug details all
of the painting supplies you could possibly want to use. The pictures are
beautiful and walk you through complex processes step by step. She includes
inspiring works of art from artists past and present to get you excited about
the processes because you can see the possible ends results of these steps. There
are project ideas and painting tips that will show you how to sharpen your
But in the end, I think I go back to the An Artist's Handbook because I could tell I was reading a book from
a person who really cares about what she is writing and wants to share
that artist's love with all of us. What else could I do but pay it forward and
pass this along to all of you? Enjoy!