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Art people: Kim Carlino | painter

  • Kim Carlino works on an art piece, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Kim Carlino works on an art piece, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Artist Kim Carlino is gaining recognition for her paintings..

    GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
    Artist Kim Carlino is gaining recognition for her paintings.. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kim Carlino stands in front her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Kim Carlino stands in front her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kim Carlino talks about her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Kim Carlino talks about her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kim Carlino works on an art piece, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Artist Kim Carlino is gaining recognition for her paintings..
  • Kim Carlino stands in front her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Kim Carlino talks about her artwork, Friday, in her Cottage Street Studio in Easthampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • A piece from Kim Carlino's artwork series "Coming From and Going To" is displayed in her Cottage Street Studio, Friday. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

You could call what painter Kim Carlino does riffing on polypropylene.

Carlino’s paintings are colorful, fluid creations, accented, in places, with intricate lines and grids. The work the she does at her One Cottage Street studio in Easthampton is a study in the interrelationship between shapes that occur in nature and man-made structures. The paintings, made by combining watercolor paint and ink, also are informed, in part, by her musical background: She is a classically trained pianist who now plays the baritone ukulele, just for fun.

“I’m influenced by its structure, repetition, improvisation,” Carlino said. “My work is really improvisation on line and color.”

Carlino, 35, is working on a series called “Cosmological Formations,” in which she creates organic forms, using watercolor and ink on sheets of polypropylene, which is plastic, and later adds the structured lines. She’s fascinated, she says, by relationships among colors; in recent work, she’s added neon orange and hot pink. (“If you’re going to use pink, it’s got to be hot pink.”)

The improvisation comes, in part, she says, with the changing relationships between the ink and paint on her work surface, and the surprises she gets when she returns to the work after things have settled.

“The ink pushes the paint,” she explained. “When it dries, it gets this kind of striation and granulation. It will be completely different when I come back tomorrow. As it evaporates, it changes.”

When she starts a piece, she says, she has no idea what she’ll make.

“It’s all in relation to what came before it. I’m looking for the moments where shapes start to come out ... the interaction between the watercolor and ink.”

Working on those sheets of plastic frees her to improvise, she says, because she can easily wipe them down and start again if she’s not happy with the results.

“I hear a lot of friends who are artists talk about that blank page, being afraid of it. But I don’t get attached to the outcome because I don’t know the outcome right away,” she said. “I’m never afraid to try putting something together. That’s built into the whole process.”

As Carlino works, she doesn’t try to make identifiable shapes. In fact, just the opposite; if she sees something emerge that looks like it exists in the real world, she’s likely to make changes.

“The moment that it becomes too recognizable is the moment that your mind holds onto that and can’t take in the subtlety of all the line,” she said.

There’s a playfulness about Carlino’s work that, she says, is consistent with its improvisational nature.

“My studio is a happy space. Every time I come, I like to play. I want to make work about movement and gracefulness — work that makes me smile.”

— Kathleen Mellen

For information, visit www.kimcarlino.com

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