Audra Hannon Keefe

AUDRA KEEFE on painting:

“Painting is a conversation without words. There is a give and take–first in the creation and then in the viewing. In the making, the first step is to simply put down color and then that color declares what it needs next. Color communicates something so visceral and vital that all one has to do is listen.”


Born and raised in CT, Audra graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in studio art in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to Santa Monica, CA and enrolled in the Design Communication Arts Program at UCLA. In 2006 Audra was recruited to work at acclaimed design studio—Top Design, Los Angeles, CA. Two years later she co-founded Orange Bike Design, an award-winning, boutique graphic design firm. Upon moving “back east” in 2010, Audra refocused her efforts on painting. Audra has sold numerous works of art, received awards, and has been included in multiple international juried art shows. She is an active member in the Brookline, MA arts community where she lives with her husband, son, two kitties, and a golden retriever.


Trying to describe why I paint is like trying to describe why one is drawn to the sunrise. Perhaps one delights in the magnificence of color, perhaps the contrast of dark and light, but more likely one is drawn to the sunrise because it stirs something in the soul.

The inspiration for my work comes as a direct result of the act of making. I approach a blank canvas with an open mind, allowing the work to emerge organically. I tend to paint quickly, I articulate viscerally through motion–moving the canvas and making gestures. I feel a direct connection to the paint, how it moves, and how color plays on the canvas. My work has a bold, graphic quality and utilizes a palette of bright colors.

My aim in painting is to create a visual space where the mind can wander; a place where there is no figurative representation and the possibility for what one sees remains open and endless. I am guided by the idea of “the breathing mind” (a self-described state of awareness where your mind slows down and you are able to take in information without definition or judgment). I liken this state to the meditative feeling induced by staring into a fire; one notices shapes, color, and contrast, but the mind is free to open up and let go. I think having access to this state is increasingly important in our over-stimulated, information-drenched, technology-dependent society. It is important to forgo an immediate answer to any and every question, the most important discoveries come from the human ability to wonder. I hope that my paintings create a space where the viewer can pause, take a breath, and get lost in the canvas.