Virginia artist Krys Von Tornado speaks several languages and has lived in several countries, and everywhere she lives, the neighbors comment: “There is no surface safe from Krys. She’ll paint anything anywhere.”
When not standing in front of the easel, she paints murals on her walkway, driveway (one even half-mile long), huge pictures on the outside house walls, bathroom walls, stairways, mailboxes, sheds, fences, decks, cabinet shelves and such.
When asked where she preferred to live, she used to answer: “Wherever the neighbors didn’t bother me with their music or loud TV.”
Finally finding silence in the house on a hill in a heavily wooded area, the artist is now surrounded by peaceful nature and protected by three well-trained German Shepherds. The day begins before sunrise, walking her dogs through her own forest where she finds inspiration to paint. It’s not uncommon to find her at dawn sitting on a fallen tree drinking her first cup of tea.
Throwing weekly tea parties, Krys is appreciated by neighbors and art collectors. If you enjoy a cup of hot tea, just drop by. You will always be welcome.
Before Krys Von Tornado’s success as an artist, she studied psychology and gelotology (study of laughter) and made her living by writing and lecturing — neither of which made her as happy as painting.
The art is not disturbing nor shocking, not even sad. Her artist’s statement is short and clear: Find the good.
In order to survive as human beings, we are wired to detect danger. Krys’s art invites us to see behind the distraction of the conspicuously bad and to discover the bright side of life. “If my painting has made at least one person smile and feel the healing endorphins, it was worth the effort to be painted.”
It’s noticeable from her art that she loves people. Most of her masterpieces show people that she knows or at least exchanged energy with in person. Like the young couple in her picture “Lovin’ All Mountains and Hills.” She drove into the mountains in search of an interesting scene and found a shady place where she could see a mountain overlooking the water. “My painting was halfway finished,” she tells, “when a young couple came into my view and laid down to sunbathe.”
“They didn’t notice me since I was in the shade. The lady laid on her stomach and began to read a book. She wore a yellow bikini and her yellow covered derrière was encroaching on part of my view. I found this amusing because it resembled hills overgrown with blooming dry land cress. The man was happily admiring the mountains and the yellow cress hills.”
Krys discovered a tattoo on the lady‘s thigh through her binoculars and recognized what it was — Venus von Willendorf! The tiny Venus figurine is approximately 30,000 years old and was discovered in an Austrian village, Willendorf. Her present location is in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. Since Krys is originally from Vienna, she interpreted this as a special sign to include in the painting the young couple and the Venus.
Another example: “Enchanting in the Café Terrace.” Krys was enjoying tea in a café when she noticed Van Gogh’s painting, “Café Terrace,” hanging over a neighbor’s table. “The young people sitting at that table covered a big part of the painting but it wasn’t irritating for me, just the opposite.”
“The couple seemed to blend with that beautiful picture. I had the impression that they were sitting in Vincent’s “Café Terrace” and I don’t know who was more enchanted, the young man kissing the hands of his love, or me watching them.”
“Behind every painting of mine, there is a story. Mostly light and humorous, which is typical for me taking the world with a pinch of salt. “Sommer Dream 1” and “Sommer Dream 2” are amusing. Since I spent the biggest part of my life in the big city of Vienna, I am not familiar with such phenomena like wasps’ attack. I was weed eating and I had not noticed a yellowjacket nest, when suddenly they swarmed out and directed their swords against me.”
“I was running home at the speed of light but they followed me and even crawled under my dress. Some hours later, I was swollen and sitting in burning pain, “licking” my sting wounds and feeling sorry for myself. I must have been stung approximately hundred times even if I found only six wounds.”
“Sommer Dream2” shows the artist as a tick. “What are the odds that two of my closest family members, living on two different continents, get diagnosed on the same day with Lyme disease caused by a tick bite?” she pondered, “I must be the tick!”
Her friends didn’t like the painting but it was accepted to West Virginia’s representative gallery “Tamarack — the Best of West Virginia,” where the submitted work has to receive a strict jury approval which guarantees a high level of the exhibitions. It sold before the exhibition even opened.
The story about the painting “Tempus Neminem Manet” (Time waits for no one) is rather mysterious.
At the end of winter she was driving down a road and saw white houses on a hill surrounded by wide patches of melting snow. She stopped the car, overwhelmed with the beauty. “I held my breath as though I could stop time and the inevitable disappearing of snow. But time was running, and the clouds were galloping across the sky like a giant speeding antelope.”
The painting was displayed in several exhibitions, very much admired but never bought. “A lady asked to have it wrapped when her husband came with another painting in hand that he just bought. Another time, the buyer noticed he had forgotten his billfold; they asked the gallery manager to keep the painting wrapped because he planned to buy it when he returned the next day, but he never came back. Another potential buyer was waiting for the painting to be wrapped, called his wife telling her excitedly about his purchase, when she stopped him explaining they didn’t have enough space on the wall for such a large picture. It was like it was cursed. I laughed and kept saying that the painting just wanted to remain in my house.”
Two years later a lady called asking about the painting’s availability. She said that the white houses on the hill were built by her father who had lived there almost until his death. “He was very sad when he had to leave his beautiful property because he was unable to take care of it any more. The day I felt that irrefutable desire to paint it, he wasn’t there any more, he was dying and asked the hospital staff if he could go and see his house one more time. It never happened.”
Her most recent painting is “Father-Son Strong,” and has received already three awards. “It’s interesting how little boys try to be like their dads, and then when they become teens, they want to be nothing like the dads. When they are in their fifties or sixties, the time of rejection, distance and competition is over and the sons develop a strong connection towards the father; full of acceptance, forgiveness and respect for the difficult job of being a father. I find the power of this deep friendship between older adult sons and their fathers most fascinating.”
Visit Krys’s sites to see more of her art. Or drop by her forest studio for a cup of tea. You’ll always be welcome!
Facebook: Krys von Tornado
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