Karma Kitaj grew up in a family that was immersed in the arts, thanks to her mother Jeanne Brooks Kitaj’s passion for art, music, and reading. In her early years Kitaj lived with her older brother who achieved fame as a figurative artist when she was an adolescent. His talent and genius dissuaded her from attempting to put brush to canvas. It was only after he died in 2007 and his son bequeathed to her his brushes that she began to study painting.
While hosting a TV show called “Alivelihood: New Adventures As We Age,” Kitaj met Sandra Shuman, who invited her to her art studio. Kitaj instantly fell in love with color. shape, line, and texture. She studied with Shuman for several years using acrylic and collage.
A friend introduced her to the technique of encaustic, an ancient method of painting using hot wax. This medium engaged Kitaj because of the touch and smell of the wax and the ability to layer pigmented wax on board, creating transparency or opacity or 3-dimensional surfaces.
An inveterate life-long learner, she has taken numerous courses with the top encaustic painters in the US. She has attended yearly workshops at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown and Truro, MA. She studied with Corina AlvarezDelugo, Laura Moriarty, Dietlind van der Shaaf, Tracy Spadafora, Lorraine Glessner and many others.
Kitaj also began making encaustic monoprints using techniques taught by Paula Roland. She studied with Alicia Tormey to learn about using burnt shellac to make filmy filagree surfaces.
Kitaj’s new work features abstracted human figures in oil, mixed media, sometimes painted over encaustic pictures. Inspired by courses with Provincetown painter Laura Shabott and her protegeee, Alana Barrett, and with California artists Robert Burridge and Melinda Cootsona, she is on a new path of adventure and learning.
She and her husband Jeffrey Cooper live and work in Western Massachusetts with their adorable dogs, rescued from the streets of San Miguel de Allende. They study Argentinian tango with world renowned Fernanda Ghi and ride horses, English style, keeping them fit and active, mentally and physically.
Her work has been shown at:
Artists’ Cooperative, Wellesley, MA
Group exhibit that I curated at the Brookline Interactive Group, Brookline Massachusetts’ television station, “New Adventures: Artistic Expressions in the Second Half of Life
Maud Morgan Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
Crowell Art Gallery, Moore Free Library, Newfane, VT
Fox Hill Residential Community, Westwood, MA
Illuminations Exhibit, Yawkey Cancer Center, Mass General Hospital, Boston
Morini Gallery, Mansfield, MA
Deerfield Valley Art Association, Northfield, MA