Park City-based artist ‘getting unstuck’ after struggling with creativity during the pandemic
Create PC provides venue for local art
The COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s social unrest did a number on Park City-based artist Karen Millar Kendall.
“You think since we were in COVID lockdown that I would have all of this time to create and do so much work, but my creativity was stifled,” Millar Kendall said. “There was too much noise in my head, and a lot of stress and worry. I found, personally, that I couldn’t get to that creative center of my brain, because there was so much going on.”
The artist was able to quell the noise enough last November to begin painting again.
“I decided to pick up a paint brush and let something come out,” Millar Kendall said.
She painted an abstract work called “Out of Darkness,” which she recently sold at Create PC, the Arts Council of Park City and Summit County’s pop-up gallery at 544 Main St.
“Painting the piece was finally a way to release all of the stuff that was blocked up inside of me, and I’ve been painting quite a bit ever since,” Millar Kendall said. “It has been freeing and nice after getting unstuck.”
Create PC, now in its third iteration, will remain at the Main Street location through the end of April. (See box of participation artists).
The Arts Council of Park City and Summit County first launched Create PC in the fall of 2019 at 660 Main St.
The idea was to give local artists and creative entrepreneurs a venue to create and sell their works. The gallery moved to 825 Main St. the following summer, and then relocated to its present location earlier this year.
“Create PC has been a wonderful outlet for the creative process,” Millar Kendall said. “Although it’s a smaller space that the others, we’re able to work there to paint and make creations, which is fantastic.”
The venue also gives artists like Millar Kendall a chance to connect with the community.
“It gives us artists great opportunities to exhibit and talk about our works with those who stop by,” she said.
Millar Kendall considers herself an eclectic artist who paints everything from abstracts to landscapes.
“I’m maybe a little bit ADD,” she said. “I can’t stay focused on one thing for too long, because I get too many ideas in my head.”
But once Millar Kendal starts doing something, she’ll work on it, practice the technique and “play with it,” she said.
“I did one national parks painting using a tight palette-knife expression, because I had a friend in mind who was in love with the Grand Canyon,” she said. “I liked the technique, so I wanted to do more of those types of paintings, and those works became a collection.”
Millar Kendall went from those precise works to painting abstracts of house plants.
“I know that was really random, but it was more freeing,” she said. “I needed to get out of that tight palette-knife method, and found that I liked the freedom, so I decided to do more of the plants.”
The full abstract works usually come in the moment, according to Millar Kendall.
“They come when I just want to play with paint and put it on the canvas,” she said. “I just want to see what comes out, and, honestly, those tend to be my favorite paintings.”
Millar Kendall enjoys working with oil paints on her works.
“I love that oils are malleable,” she said. “I like how you can blend and layer them, but I am curious about doing mixed media with underline layers of acrylic and then putting oils on top. I think that will become my next experimentation.”
Millar Kendall cites her uncle, a painter who now mostly works as a sculptor in North Carolina, as her main artistic influence.
“He was the inspiration for my plant collection paintings,” she said. “He had an old 1960s abstracted plant he painted, and I remember wondering if I could do a modern take on that.”
Throughout her youth, Millar Kendall’s favorite classes were art.
“I would paint pictures of rock bands, and portraits of the members of Aerosmith,” she said.
Millar Kendall stepped away from art in college, and spent 30 years teaching special education.
“I started dabbling in art again toward the end of my career, and when I retired from teaching, I began doing it full time,” she said.
Millar Kendall’s next step in her artistic endeavors is to share more of her work with the community.
“The one thing I appreciate about Create PC is that it’s giving me a platform to get my art out there,” she said. “It’s brought me a lot of exposure, and that is important if I want people to be able to look at a work and know it’s one of mine.”
When: Monday through Wednesday noon-6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday noon-8 p.m.
Where: 544 Main St.
• Sharon Backurz of Zenzee
• Scott Bantle
• Janet Beckham
• Mitch Bedke
• Art Coccaro
• David Cornwell
• Naomi Doyle of Cade & Co.
• 4 Silver Queens
• Garth Franklin
• Carol Granger
• Nan Gray
• Kris Hanaman
• Olga Hegner
• House Forty Eight
• Rhonda Hypio
• Robert Johnson
• Rabia Karatela
• Emily Quinn Loughlin
• Mark Maziarz
• Linda McCauslan
• Sara Means
• Karen Millar Kendall
• Nina Miller
• Anna Leigh Moore
• Morgan Mullins
• Lisa Nevot
• Richard Pick
• Alix Railton
• Frances ReMillard
• Lisa Shine
• Bill Silliman
• Len Starbeck
• Eric Warner
• David Wiener
• Ida Yoked
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