Painting Peace

Kris Warrenburg looks to nature for inspiration.


"Bolton Windmill" feels serene.

Image courtesy of Kris Warrenburg

A monarch butterfly rests gently on a golden flower. The radiance of the petals and insect’s wings in the green field pull you in as you absorb the tranquil energy. This may sound like a stop on a nature walk, but it’s actually a painting.

The artist, Kris Warrenburg, creates art that she says “reflects a desire to find peace and evoke it in [my] audience.” Inspired by landscapes and impressionists such as Claude Monet, she does just that—exudes serenity—in her watercolor paintings.

Warrenburg, who also does photography, mixed-media art, and graphic design, is the communications director for the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. Before taking on the position a few years ago, she spent 15 years in East Hampton, N.Y., where she “expanded” her horizons as artist.

 She enjoys creating what she calls “heARTwork,” and explained, “it’s heart-shaped rocks I put together with wood and different objects. I have the most fun coming up with titles for things.”

She titled one piece Amy Winehouse, art that is a birdhouse Warrenburg crafted out of wine corks. She created the birdhouse, and others like it, in East Hampton to help a friend with breast cancer raise money for charity. Additionally, Warrenburg designed visuals for Mindful Bus, a wellness board game conceived by for a psychologist.

 “You start out in the swamps, then you go through the meadow, and eventually make your way up to the mountains to a fulfilling rich life,” she said about the game.

Warrenburg said her artistic talent emerged at an early age. In fact, a lifelike drawing she did in kindergarten of an elephant so impressed her mother, that her mother immediately enrolled Warrenburg in art lessons. Her mother’s instincts paid off.

Snow—and wanting to be near her grandchild—brought her back home, to the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. Much of her work reflects the beauty of the natural scenery from East Hampton and California.

The way Warrenburg gets into a creative zone is reflective of her work: “It’s mostly settling down, centering myself, and being here and now. If I get distracted at all, I find that I don’t do it as well. It’s almost like meditation.”

Warrenburg’s goal this year is to visit Alameda’s shoreline daily and take photos at the same spot. “Seeing the mist come off the water or a crystal day, or not even being able to see the mountains on the other side, is fascinating to me,” she said.


Kris Warrenburg’s work is featured at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. The Quiet exhibit, inspired by the noise caused during the election, runs until April 1. Her solo show, Watercolor Landscapes, hangs there June 9-July 9. See more of her work at


Published online on March 1, 2017 at 8 a.m.

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