Emerging Artists | Olsen, Lipking, Pace

Spring Flower Market by Kristen Olsen. painting southwest art.
Spring Flower Market by Kristen Olsen

Kristen Olsen
Kristen Olsen believes in energy. The word peppers her conversations, and energy bursts forth from her paintings in the form of bright colors—red in particular. Pastels found their way back into her repertoire after a 1992 trip to Santa Fe, when she opted to leave acrylics at home because she’d spilled paint thinner in her car on a previous jaunt and didn’t want to risk another mess. Now she focuses on pastels, continuing to dabble in oils and acrylics. “I like pastel’s spontaneity,” she says. “You can push the envelope a little more. The color has energy and excitement.” A propensity for art developed naturally for Olsen, whose art teacher mother gave her pastels and an easel at age 5. Dad was a more practical type, encouraging her to attend school for bookkeeping. “I have a bookkeeping degree but quit after three weeks. I still dump all my bookkeeping stuff into a box and have someone else do it at the end of the year,” she says. Getting motivated to paint, however, is something Olsen finds easy. Her Denver, CO, surroundings help spark and invigorate her work, much of which depicts flowers, landscapes, and street scenes. “It’s hard not to find inspiring things here. I love the variety of living in the mountains and then coming into the excitement of the city. I love the contrasts. It’s the best of all worlds.” Beyond her native Colorado, she has painted in Italy, Greece, China, and New Mexico. Olsen is represented by Contemporary Southwest Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Gallerie DuBois, Aspen, CO; and Gentry Gallery, Golden, CO. —BT

November Wind by Jeremy Lipking painting, southwest art.
November Wind by Jeremy Lipking

Jeremy Lipking
At 25, California artist Jeremy Lipking is painting with a confidence and talent that belie his young age. His expressive figurative pieces seem reminiscent of works by historic painters who combined the tradition of the art academies with an emphasis on naturalistic landscapes and settings. In similar fashion, Lipking prefers to paint his models outdoors, using a cool, moody palette that evokes a sense of mystery. He often chooses locales near his family’s cabin in June Lake, CA. “Most of my ideas come from observing nature,” Lipking says. “Even if I am out on a hike, I’m always noticing the color, design, and rhythms around me. In my work I try to convey the feeling I had when I first experienced those elements.” In addition to nature, he turns to works and writings by Richard Schmid and Robert Henri for inspiration. Lipking is represented by Morseburg Galleries, West Hollywood, CA, and Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA. —BG

Ashwani s Gold Rose by M. Diana Pace. painting, southwest art.
Ashwani’s Gold Rose by M. Diana Pace

M. Diana Pace
M. Diana Pace is not afraid of color. “I have always been drawn to color,” she says. “If you drive past people’s houses at night, you see all these pale walls. It’s as if there’s a fear of color in this country.” In her own way, Pace is working to end that fear with her vibrant paintings. “I don’t really have complex reasons for painting what I paint—I just love them,” she says. Pace’s path to her artistic career has been a winding one. With bachelor’s degrees in business administration and architecture, she held a variety of jobs in her pre-painting days, including legal secretary and insurance agent. But the urge to paint was always with her, she says, and in 1996 she decided it was time to paint full time. Pace takes photographs of roses near her home in Pullman, WA, and on her travels, then picks the best elements of each subject and sketches them on the canvas. She then applies several layers of acrylic paint to achieve depth. Lately Pace has found a new source of inspiration: fruit. “I’m particularly fascinated with grapes—they’re amazing to look at,” she says. “It’s like each little grape orb is a work of art.” Pace is represented by Jan Wilson Gallery, Ketchum, ID; Gottlieb Gallery, Portland, OR; and Art Concepts of Kirkland, WA. —AH

Featured in “Artists to Watch” May 2001