Through the unique usage of color, light and spirit, K.L. McKenna’s style captures the landscape in a most unexpected way. Her paintings are not just paintings of landscapes but color harmonies of a very high and unusual order.
K.L. McKenna’s inspiration for the west comes from childhood summers she and her family spent prospecting for fossils in Wyoming with her paleontologist father. Her scenes of Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming and Montana reflect her enthusiasm and spiritual connection to the geology of the west, where she paints on site with the idea of ‘place” in mind.
K.L. McKenna, a resident of Woodstock, NY and Ward, CO, has had extensive experience working for museums and top exhibition design firms in New York, such as Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Albert Woods Design. In the 1980’s, she also worked throughout the United States and Canada as a graphical user interface designer for major banking firms such as Citibank, First Boston and Lehman Brothers.
K.L. McKenna was awarded a U.S. Patent for “The Geozoo,” an educational toy design. She studied color first with Mary Buckley at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and oil painting later with Nicholas Buhalis at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston, NY.
K.L. McKenna participated in the Artist-In-Residency Program at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ where she completed 12 paintings which were exhibited at the museum in 2009. Her oil “Little Colorado River I” was chosen to be included in the museum’s permanent collection. She has also exhibited 24 of her paintings at the Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, GA, where “Wind River Canyon, WY” was chosen for the museum’s permanent collection. She has participated in the annual auctions “Expanded Horizons,” Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT, and the “Annual Buffalo Bill Cody Show and Sale,” Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY. She is listed on AskArt.com, and she has exhibited in a variety of galleries across the United States and in Germany and Africa. Her work is also included in many corporate and private collections.
She is currently on the Board of Trustees at Pratt Institute. She is Vice-President of the Arts Society of Kingston (A.S.K.), which she cofounded in 1995, and holds memberships with the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum and the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, KS.
The energy that flows through my hands and onto the canvas is something that I describe as my Color, Light and Spirit technique, which has become my signature. My life’s work is to illuminate the mind in an exciting new way – not to defy tradition, but to expand assumption.
Through my formal education, I was trained to discover color in shadow and to use many hues and values to create light. The use of line and space in my compositions combine abstract elements with the figurative, which are sculpturally fused by bright color.
My paintings of the west begin on site where I have spent my summers for over 40 years. The reds of Wyoming and Arizona – the brilliant yellows and greens of Colorado and Montana are my passion and inspiration.