Kristen Stephen

I wanted to connect with the theme of the residency ‘Once upon Water’. I am going to dye the canvas at home using black India Inks. I will then stretch the canvas over a stretcher. I will transport different colour inks and the canvases to the island. There will be five dyed canvases that are 30 x 40 inches. I am then going to photograph Lake Ontario each morning and use the inspiration for the colours of my paintings.

My work is about creating beauty through the style of Abstract Expressionism. I am an abstract painter, who responds intuitively to my artistic materials. I dye my canvas using India Inks, stretch it over a stretcher and then use various inks to complete the painting. I have discovered that I am making paintings of beauty as an escape from the harshness and strain that still exists; Work that has a calming and introspective feeling on the viewer. My meaning of beauty is creating a happy visual respite for the viewer using inks and glitter on canvas to culminate together organically. The colours and techniques transformed my perspective of painting and conceptual view of art by personally developing a technique of dyeing the canvas that reflects my idea of beauty for the viewer. I have been searching for the meaning of beauty for healing and how to achieve it through painting. Painting for me is an obsession, spontaneously arising from my subconscious onto the canvas. I want to encapsulate viewers and transport them to a place of ease, through colour planes of glitter and softness. My work has been shown both Nationally and Internationally.


Kristen Stephen was born in Amherst, New York, and moved to Canada when she was six years old. Kristen spent her teenage years in Niagara-on-the-Lake where she developed her interest in the arts working in her mother’s gallery. During her time at the Gallery she met many Canadian artists and developed an appreciation for a diverse spectrum of techniques and artistic perspectives. After pursuing an Arts and Culture degree at Brock University Kristen moved to Toronto where she attended Ontario College of Art and Design University, majoring in painting. Kristen currently lives in Toronto, Canada with her two children and a rescue cat named Gisele.

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