K.L. McKenna uses the term "Color, Light and Spirit" to depict her style of painting. Her goal is to create the illusion of light with color and to capture the spirit of place. Her inspiration for western scenes comes from childhood summers spent in Wyoming and Colorado with her paleontologist father prospecting for fossils and dinosaurs. As a 13 year old in 1969, she ran the Grand Canyon Colorado River in wooden cataract boats where she was awed by red canyons, buttes and the blue skies of Arizona.
K.L. McKenna considers herself to be an abstract figurative artist, meaning that within the use of abstract elements, figurative shapes are still recognizable and tangible somewhere between realism and complete abstractionism, leaning more toward the abstract side.
As a New West Expressionist, she does not paint the traditional western scenes that are rooted in Russell and Remington, but rather, she supports a more unique and independent interpretation of the west, largely influenced by the post-impressionists of the last century. She is not so much a western painter as she is a fine artist who paints in the American West.
K.L. McKenna started off her early art career as a photographer. Her photographs of the 1970's reflect the ongoing interest in portraits, street life and landscape scenery. Her sense of composition carries through the different mediums.
In addition to being a painter, K.L. McKenna, who has a Masters Degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, has worked on a wide variety of interesting design projects over the years. She is currently designing interactive color with custom printed fabric for quilts using a variation of the Amish traditional "Diamond in the Square" geometric design.