Artwaves: Creation Series in Watercolor

Dec 5, 2016

Trinidad painter Kathrin Burleson joins Wendy Butler to talk about The Creation Series, her watercolor exhibit.

Inspired by the book of Genesis, she says ancient texts are often "pulling on archetypes. So often, those things touch us in a way that's almost irrational."


The Creation Series is at HSU's Third Street Gallery through the end of 2016.

Informed by a family background that embraced both Protestant and Greek Orthodox traditions, religion has always been an important part of Burleson’s life and artwork. But she says that she does not consider herself a literalist when it comes to Scripture, instead preferring its metaphorical potential. She is motivated to find profound realizations through her work, stating that, “Life is so beautiful and so precious and so brief.” In her ongoing Creation Series, she uses the first chapter in the Book of Genesis as a springboard into her exploration of the Creation, as seen from her studio door, using her observations of local flora and fauna as her subjects.

Though the order of the series follows that of the Biblical seven days of creation, Burleson says that she is looking to convey a more general narrative about spirituality, life, and growth, allowing the viewer to find their own meaning within the work. In her own words, “If an artist expresses something that is authentic, then something will be passed on.”

Via Facebook:

The Creation Series is based on the first chapter of Genesis, and is an ongoing theme of my work. Not surprisingly it has evolved over time. It’s one thing to try to paint a “formless void” with the obvious challenges inherent in that, but when I got to “every living creature of every kind” I knew that I needed a strategy. I also knew that this series may never end, much like Creation itself.

I live in a rural area on the coast of Northern California, home to the giant redwoods. My studio is bordered by forests and overlooks the ocean, so the obvious solution was to work with the tiny ecosystem of which I am a part. Most of the creatures included inhabit my small part of the world—with a few obvious exceptions inspired by my travels.