Carrie MaKenna

Studio & Gallery, Denver Colorado

About Carrie MaKenna

     “Color, texture, and movement give voice  to our shared experience of life, love, beauty and nature.”

     My artwork has evolved over three decades to include rich textures and a delicious color palette of sixteen liquid acrylics that allows me to explore abstracts, landscapes and portraits alike.

      I typically begin by creating texture on the canvas using a thick lightweight acrylic paste that allows me to build up the surface, and sculpt and sand it before adding paint. I use a variety of elements such as dried paint and found objects to create additional texture. I like to work quickly and get a lot of paint on the canvas at once, using an array of implements, brushes and my hands to move it around.

     The overarching intention for my artwork is to create a respite from the challenges and stresses of modern life by reminding viewers of their interconnection with the natural world, cycles of time, and with each other, through memories, thoughts, feelings and hopes and dreams.

     I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art and a Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling Psychology, as well as a lifelong interest in and exploration of worldwide, universal spiritual studies and a meditative practice that guides and informs my art making. My artwork is in collections in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Austria and the UK.

     I work from my studio in Denver CO where I share a creative life with my husband Craig Rouse and
our Studio Dog Riley.

     It is my intention to create art that portrays an experience of the world that cannot necessarily be seen. My paintings, drawings, and sculpture are generally the product of my spiritual and meditative pursuits. They are images of my experience of the intuitive senses that underlie, surround and penetrated the regular three-dimensional world we're used to perceiving.
     Some of my earliest memories involve looking intently at the world and making art. I was first enthralled with coloring books, as many children are, and spent many hours contentedly coloring. Later I got my first camera, a hand-me-down Brownie. I took "artsy" black and white photographs of the sky and clouds. By junior high I was teaching myself how to draw the human body proportionately by looking in the mirror and discovering where different parts of my body met up with other parts. When standing, where was my elbow level with my waist, my wrist with my leg? What about when I raised my arms above my head? How much of my face did my hand cover? I taught myself body proportion this way.
Although I took art classes in high school and in college and got some experience with techniques and practice with different modalities, I didn't realize a true level of creativity until I was on my own after college. My breakthrough project that I assigned myself was a series of six masks based on Greek gods and goddesses. The foundation I used was heavy formed cardboard packing material from electronics shipping crates. For the first time I gave myself the freedom to really push the edge of my creativity and do whatever it took to create these masks the way I envisioned them. I allowed myself to cut and attach and rearrange and used every kind of material.

Since then my work and creativity has progressed steadily. There have been two additionally significant breakthroughs. One was the opportunity to show my work on an annual basis in group shows with my spiritual community. The other was observing my fellow students at Naropa University while they pursued their art-making with abandon. These two opened the door for me to really let go and get creative. They also led me to a way of accessing the intuitive images I now portray. I look forward to growing and deepening my art for the next half of my life.

My formal education includes a BFA from Colorado State University in Graphic Design and Ceramics, and a MA in Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy from the Naropa University. Additionally, I have a wide variety of training and certificates in business management, healing arts, marketing, spiritual arts and public speaking and training. I'm on a long and winding path less traveled.

I'm a 4th generation native of Denver Colorado. My great-grandfather was an artist and sign painter in Denver. And I live happily here with my husband Craig (an amazing graphic designer and artist and our dog Riley.

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