Being outdoors and creating art are essential to me. Through my artwork, I try to honor the peace and beauty of the places I find most captivating: the Rural Midwest, the Mountains, the Beach.
Creating woodblock prints has enabled me to simplify my landscapes by focusing on masses of color and relationships of form. Each hand-pulled print is unique, with carved texture to express organic detail, and varied color roll techniques.
I love both the thought process and the physicality of making woodblock prints. Planning how to translate an image into a woodblock print involves many considerations: How many blocks are required? How will I layer colors and shapes to achieve the composition? Deciding just how stylized – or not – I want the image to become. Then, I enjoy preparing and smoothing the wood surface. Choosing the tools to achieve the right effects. Allowing a certain amount of “chatter” in the areas carved away, creating an embossing effect or color-layering opportunity. I create variable editions and monoprints, as my printmaking process involves altering an image through different harmonies of color.
Being a lifelong student of art means always learning and evolving. My study of art history, travels and hobby as a gardener all influence my artwork. Changing-up my techniques and subject matter keeps my work fresh: whether painting landscapes, still-lives or abstracts, creating multi-media collage, knitting, or carving woodblocks and printmaking… All of it reflects my intention to express relationships of color, light and form.
I actively support the arts and enjoy working on public and private projects that build art appreciation. Over the years, I have helped organize and participate in multiple art-related programs and events for community organizations and schools.
Beth McKenna has a BA in Art History from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the University of Illinois. She is involved with exhibitions at the David Adler Music and Arts Center in Libertyville, Illinois and is an active staff member at The Art Center in Highland Park, Illinois and the Evanston Art Center. Her artwork has been exhibited regionally in several solo and group shows, and hangs in private collections nationwide.