Kristen Stein of Studio Artworks
Kristen Stein is an award-winning Contemporary Artist living in Suburban Philadelphia. Kristen’s works are currently available on a variety of online venues, boutiques and galleries throughout the US.
Her art has appeared in numerous printed media including posters, books, CD Covers, calendars and program covers. She is the author/illustrator of the children’s books “The Vegetarian Lion” and “Oh Sweet Child of Mine” and the author of “Kristen Stein Contemporary Paintings”.
Kristen’s art has been featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions. In addition, her artwork has been selected to appear in an upcoming film ‘The Roommate” and a new FOX TV Show called “Past Life” both airing in 2010. Her collaborative work “Spirit of Autumn Fire” can be seen in several episodes of “Warehouse 13″ on the SYFY Channel.
Tell us about your business.
I’m a full-time, professional artist and illustrator from Suburban Philadelphia. I work primarily with acrylics on canvas and mixed media. I offer a range of contemporary art including rustic tree landscapes, minimalist atmospheric landscapes, and whimsical enchanted gardens. My illustrations are wild and whimsical and great fun for the children’s books that I’ve illustrated.
My website is Studio Artworks where I offer original paintings, framed ceramic tiles, prints, handcrafted jewelry and other art-related gift items. In addition to my website, I create artwork for several galleries, boutiques, and museum shops throughout the US. Throughout the year, I participate in art festivals and wholesale/retail craft shows as I enjoy being able to meet my customers in person to discuss my artwork and meet other artists and designers. I am currently working at offering my work wholesale to boutiques, catalogs, museum shops as well as licensing my designs for commercial use in product design, print, TV and film.
What inspired you to pursue this business?
I have been creating art for friends and as gifts for several decades, but I started selling my artwork as a business about 10 years. It began as a part-time passion while I was working on my dissertation in Economics at the University of Virginia. I still use a lot of my economics background on the business side of my art career, but my creative side won out and I started selling my artwork full-time in early 2000. I absolutely love what I do and am thrilled that I am able to do it on a full-time basis.
Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?
As an artist, I am influenced by nearly everything that I read, see and hear. I paint from everyday experiences, images, conversations, etc. Even the most mundane can be converted into a beautiful painting with the swirl of a brush. Some of my works start with detailed sketches while others are created from a blank canvas layer by layer until the final painting is achieved.
I like to work in a wide range of styles and materials as this allows me to keep my art fresh and new. My minimalist landscape paintings, for example, allow me to experiment with color and texture while capturing the beauty of a wide open meadow, a line of skinny trees along the road, a field of tall grasses, the great expanse of the ocean, etc. Many of these pieces are influenced by time spent in Colorado, California and Spain.
My enchanted garden series allows me to capture a world of my imagination where birds, snakes, plants, flowers, trees, butterflies, etc. can be expressed in a wild whimsical way. They are bold, bright and wonderfully fun to create.
My art-deco cubist paintings are my story-telling paintings. This style allows me to capture a certain sentiment or tell a story in the painting. The cubist aspects are influenced by the works of Picasso and Gris while the art deco aspects are influenced by the advertising, design and travel posters of the 1930s. Paintings influenced by September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the deaths of my grandmothers are among the works in the art deco cubist collection.
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
I have relatively simple taste. I tend to favor a more streamlined, minimalist approach to decorating and design. As with fashion, my tastes are simple, laid back, uncomplicated. Of course….if you saw my home, you’d know that my art gets in the way of my ideal vision….as I have art supplies and materials in nearly every room of the house. (You never know when inspiration is going to hit! ) I asked a friend to describe my style. She said that when she first met me and found out that I was an artist, she was very curious about what my house would look like inside. When she first saw the home, she said “It looks exactly as I expected”. Her words were ‘casual elegance with artistic flair’. I like the sound of that!
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-”what was I thinking” - do you have one?
On the art front: My husband would probably say the abundance of 8ft stretched canvas that I bought. My reasoning was that they were a great price on sale, but I had to buy about 25 of them! More often than not, I have to remove them from the stretcher bars in order to ship the massive paintings, so this leaves a lot of extra, unused stretcher bars. I love painting on large canvas, but storing them is another story!
For the home: There’s a single, greatly-overstuffed chair that I purchased to match the sofa in our living room. My husband always felt that it was one piece too many for the room. But, now a year later, it’s his favorite chair. I always catch him sitting in it reading to himself or to our daughter. So, I feel I made the right decision.
Describe your dream room.
I love simplicity. Minimalist style….with just the essentials represented. Not one to add a lot of ornamental detail and display elements. I love each room to look like a miniature art gallery, so the rooms would definitely be adorned with original paintings and sculptures. As for colors, I love the colors of the Mediterranean. They are soft, inviting and add an element of warmth that is comforting and put people at ease. I love the feel of the beach and the view of the ocean shore, so I would definitely try to incorporate that feeling into the room.
Tell us about a favorite home decorating or remodeling project.
Well, that would be two projects that are currently in their planning stages. We have an outdoor screened-in sun room. We’d love to fully enclose the room and have it extend from our family room. Ideally, it would become my studio with an outside entrance and French doors leading to the family room. The other project ‘in the works’ is our kitchen. We bought a beautiful old 1930s Tudor. The home is fantastic with many art deco features throughout the home. But, the kitchen is in need of updating. It is a galley-style kitchen…long and narrow. We want to open up the kitchen to take advantage of the light and allow for a greater ‘gathering’ space. Needs to be a room where we can entertain friends and allow people to congregate while food and/or drinks are prepared.
What’s your favorite color or paint swatch?
I LOVE Ralph Lauren paint colors. Especially the colors and textures in the River Rocks collection. Do I have to pick just one? If so, it would probably be Ralph Lauren Canyon Fossil ( ).
We used Eastern Amber (Behr) ( ) for our dining room. My husband is from Spain and this muted mango orange color gave a perfect Mediterranean feel to the room.
For creating my paintings on canvas, I love using ( )Burnt Sienna by Lukas Cryl Studios.
What are your five favorite pieces of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
- My grandmother used to collect sea glass from the shores of Kelleys Island in Lake Erie. I use a lot of the pieces she found in the jewelry I create on my website. I also filled a vase with the sea glass pieces and display crystal dogwood branches in the vase. It’s so cheerful and pretty to see when you enter the dining room and I just love seeing the light reflect off the glass.
- We have wonderful wooden furniture made by my dad. I love the clocks that he’s made for us and a gorgeous side table that he made when I got married. They are heirloom pieces that will be cherished.
- I have paintings from many artists displayed throughout our home. In most cases, these paintings were purchased directly from the artist and hold a special place in my heart. Not only do I consider these artists friends, but I love that I was able to talk with them directly about their painting and design process. It makes each piece much more special.
- I have a wonderful sculpture from Paul Rigby, whom I met at a group exhibit in which we both participated. He loved one of my paintings, I loved one of his sculptures and we traded from our collection. I love seeing the piece as I walk through our dining room.
- I found a wonderful metal sculpture of a couple. They are greatly elongated and greatly out of proportion, but I absolutely love their odd bodies and the way the light shines through them and casts an even more odd and long shadow on the wall. A bit haunting…yet beautiful.
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
I love our dining room. It’s painted in the Eastern Amber, Mediterranean shade that is so inviting. It’s a comfortable room with great light. It also has gorgeous stained glass windows that are original to the 1932 home. It’s a wonderful room to chat and enjoy coffee with a friend, or sit down for a full dinner party. Easily my favorite room of the house.
Who are your favorite designers?
I honestly can’t say that I have a favorite designer. Not being an interior designer, I have immense respect for all designers, their tips and expertise. I’ll leave the choosing of favorites to those ‘in the know’.
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites?
- Decor8 : Holly has a beautiful blog full of wonderful decorating and design tips. Lovely to look at….helpful to read. I love it.
- Design*Sponge: Love this site! Gotta love a site that features finds inspired by “Labyrinth” … one of my favorite movies!
- MyShoppingConnection and IndieSpotting: Love Erika’s finds on all things handmade. Great site. Bright and cheerful and always full of great finds!
- ScoutieGirl Blog: I love Tara’s enthusiasm for all-things handmade. She’s such a wonderful advocate for artists and is dedicated to helping advance the handmade movement.
- Unique Women in Business: An amazing group of business women helping and supporting one another as they grow their business.
What are your favorite books, design shows and/or magazines?
- Have always loved Architectural Digest. Great way to daydream and wish that you live in one of the homes profiled in the magazine.
- In honor of my dad, I definitely have to choose This Old House. Countless magazines and TV episodes were watched. They bring back fond memories when I see the episodes now with my husband and our daughter.
- I enjoy the modern home plans, design tips and products featured in DWELL magazine. Always something that catches my eye, or inspires me with lines or geometry.
- Living, Etc – Great design tips, decorating advice and wonderful photos.
- Home & Design Magazine. More great pictures, design tips and features.
Is there a design or decorating tips you’d like to share with The Decorating Diva.com readers?
Since I’m not an interior designer by trade, I think I will leave the decorating and remodeling tips to the professionals. But, as a fine artist, I can offer a little advice about caring for original paintings.
Here’s a tip about how to care for a painting on canvas when the stretched canvas starts to loosen. If the canvas starts to pucker, or stretch away from the stretchers, you can usually turn the painting over and spritz the back of the canvas lightly with water. Or, lightly rub a damp sponge on the back of the canvas. When the canvas dries, it will tighten up the sagging spot. Also, if you plan to hang your painting unframed, you can wire the painting directly from the wooden stretcher bars on the stretched canvas. But, if you frame the painting, the wiring should be done to the actual frame to avoid stretching the painting.
Original paintings, framed ceramic tiles, prints and handcrafted jewelry available through Kristen’s website “Studio Artworks”.
Website: Studio Artworks
Twitter: Kristen Stein Art on Twitter
Facebook: Kristen Stein Fine Art on Facebook
LinkedIn: Kristen Stein Fine Art at LinkedIn
The Decorating Diva, LLC would like to thank Kristen Stein for sharing her beautiful artwork, inspirational artistic journey and her wonderful advice on caring for fine artwork.