California Dreamin’ in Springs

Kris Warrenburg worked on her study for a painting of the hills of Northern California in her Springs studio recently. Morgan McGivern

    When Kris Warrenburg built her house in Springs in 1999, she used a bedroom as her graphics studio. The garage was intended as a space for stained glass and painting, but when her daughter and granddaughter moved there in 2001, Ms. Warrenburg’s garage became the studio for all her work, including her own design company, Cyan Design, her photography, and her painting and mixed-media art.
    Ms. Warrenburg was born and grew up in Northern California and took art classes starting in elementary school and continuing through Diablo Valley College, where she concentrated on watercolor and oil painting and ceramics. Originally a watercolorist, she branched out into acrylics, photography, and mixed-media “heartwork,” which incorporates stones she finds that look like hearts.
    Much of her graphics expertise was learned on the job when computers “were just becoming the tool to use,” she said recently. In her business Ms. Warrenburg designs books, logos, Web sites, and ads. Logos she has designed include those for Project MOST, Dave’s Grill, the Springs Seedlings Project, and Empty Bowls. She designed Charles Waller’s Web site, Eve Eliot’s Web site and meditation CD packaging, a site for the late Elizabeth Delson, and many more.
    Since living on the East End, she has designed the book “Penline Drawings” by Eleanor Leaver, Bernard Goldhirsch’s poetry book “Something Else,” and over 50 computer instructional books for Sybex.
    On her father’s side Ms. Warrenburg, née Johansen, is the granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants who settled in Oakland, Calif. Her maternal grandfather was the son of a German immigrant who settled in Nevada. An aunt of hers who was a painter influenced her, and in her parents’ house she found a charming painting of the family’s cow house that had been on her Uncle Juergen’s property in Norway. Another relative painted it and it now hangs on her wall.
     Ms. Warrenburg was also encouraged by her mother, who, when she saw the drawing of an elephant her daughter made in kindergarten, gasped and said, “That actually looks like an elephant!”
    She has been getting back to painting recently, and many of her pictures are of landscapes and seascapes. Her studio, however, has room for much more than painting, partly thanks to the huge wraparound desk she bought from a friend. It has lots of storage space, which helped give her more room in the studio for her easel work and photography.
    Ms. Warrenburg has taken plein-air watercolor classes with Miriam Dougenis, among others. She paints in her studio and outside as well. She has shown her work at Guild Hall, Ashawagh Hall, and other East End galleries.
    Up on the wall of her studio is a study for a larger work of the golden hills of Northern California. She used “iridescent rich gold” paint, which produces a subtle, layered effect. Ms. Warrenburg, whose family lives there now, said she occasionally really misses the countryside she grew up in.