Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Feature: Chris Krupinski

"Lemons and Grapes" watercolor by Chris Krupinski

Today's Friday Feature is a special one for me.  When I first started painting I couldn't look at Chris Krupinski's work enough.  Her light and realism are amazing.  At my first LWS International show I almost died because I had a painting in the same show with Chris.  I felt so blessed to see a piece of her art in person.  So, you can imaging my excitement last week when she invited me to her home while I was in the Washington DC area.  Not only did I get to she her studio (AMAZING) and get to chat with her and Janet Belich (another favorite artist of mine), Leslie Saeta and I also interviewed her on Artist's Helping Artists  show(a must listen).  

Today you are in for a treat:)  To see more of her work visit her website and  facebook page.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I have always had an intense interest in creativity. Even as a young girl I loved drawing, coloring, and painting. I liked the magic that happened when a plain sheet of paper would be transformed into something from my own hand and thoughts. My mom was an oil painter so I was accustomed to living in a creative environment and had access to creative materials. 

Where were you born?

Esslingen, Germany. My dad was in the service and married a German girl. I was only 9 months old when we came to the U.S.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

 I guess I would live right where I am. It isn’t so much the “where” you live, but the people that are around you. 

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Uh … let me think here … lol. Still Lifes. Years ago I painted a lot of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia scenes. I painted a lot of the old brick buildings. I liked the challenge of painting the complexity of the bricks (and yes, I painted each and every brick). After my son was born, I received a baby quilt as a gift. It was made up of individual 1” squares of fabric of different colors and patterns. I was immediately motivated to try to capture this in a painting. I put some oranges on the quilt, took a picture and started painting. This is when my fruit and fabric era started. As I continued along this road, I noticed how design was becoming more and more important in my work. Everything I used in my still lifes became nothing more than shapes. And the lighting added to those shapes by creating intense darks and lights. Not only were the shapes important, but the lines were too. The lines of folds in the cloths or the design within the cloth served to lead your eye around the painting.

Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

I have always loved color and have found that painting the traditional watercolor wet-in-wet doesn’t work so well for me.  Therefore, I use many glazes of color on dry paper building the color to rich vibrancy. I also use a lot of dry brush to achieve texture. When beginning a painting, I focus on the focal point and paint that area to completion. This sets the tone for the rest of the painting. I cannot paint all over … my mind just does not work that way!

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Winsor & Newton’s Antwerp Blue is my very favorite color. But, on my palette and in all of my paintings you will always find French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, and New Gamboge.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I have a lot of favorite artists and I hesitate to mention all of them here for fear of forgetting one. But, Andrew Wyeth has always been a favorite of mine. I love the attention to detail in his paintings and I love how his color selection is core to creating the mood found in his work. My biggest inspiration though was my high school art teacher. He pushed me so hard and never let me quit. I would think I was finished with an assignment and he would say, “No, you’ve only just started.” I would get so frustrated, but continued to work hard to finish. He believed in me and he made me believe in myself.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

Oh my! Crowing achievements keep happening as we continue through our lives. I remember the first time I entered a national show and was accepted. At the time, that was my crowning achievement. I still remember it … so random. I entered the National Watercolor of Oklahoma show and was accepted. I remember when my first painting was accepted into the AWS show. I opened the letter in my kitchen and actually screamed! Earning signature membership in AWS, NWS was important to me and then to eventually win awards in both shows. I felt honored to become TWSA Master status. I earned the first ever Platinum signature status in Alabama Watercolor Society. I was honored when Cheng Khee Chee selected me as a “master painter” in the first Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary International Watermedia Masters in 2007 in Nanjing, China. Each and every time that I accomplish something with my paintings is important to me. Each and every one of these accomplishments is a crowing achievement. I paint what motivates me and get lost in the process of painting. I NEVER paint to try to achieve any of these accomplishments, the achievement is the validation of my motivation.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I learned a long time ago not to look too far into the future because it will never be what you expect it to be. So, for the most part I look at right now as being important. Right now there are things happening or have happened that I would never have dreamed of so I would rather just bask in these achievements rather than dream of what could be …

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Don’t be so judgmental of yourself and understand that when people look at your work they won’t see what you see. 

Be true to yourself. Paint what motivates you and not what you think people want to see.

Paint … paint … paint. You can only improve through the time you put into your work.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Paint who you are and not what someone else tells you that you need to be.

Chris in her studio

Her amazing studio.  She had it added on to her house.

Her amazing work!!

Chris, Me and Janet Means Belich having lunch
Chocolate or vanilla? 

Ahhhh!!! Depends on the mood I am in!

Your dream vacation spot?


Book or movie?

Book every time!!!

Favorite author?

David Baldacci

Favorite movie?

Field of Dreams

Romance or comedy?


Favorite dessert?

Bread pudding

Night owl or morning person?

Both … just not enough time in the day to sleep!

Thank you so much Chris for your feature and inviting me into your studio.  



  1. Wow Carrie ! Great interview as usual ! Thanks for including me...sorry to horn in Chris !

  2. I so envy you Carrie!!! She's one of my heroes... Would live to study with her some day... Great interview as always!

  3. Carrie - so enjoyed your interview with Chris- such talented artist - thanks for sharing.

  4. Great interview as always. I'm constantly amazed at how many talented artists there are out there, and you seem to find them all. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Chris seems so very down to earth. I love that! Her work is amazingly beautiful!