Meet the Artist

Artist Statement

I'm a landscape lover pulling inspiration from regional areas and nature for my creative choices; translating the beauty and atmospheric feeling of these places into marks, color, and texture that often result in dramatic shapes, gestural lines, and visual tension.

Though I use reference photos that I’ve taken from my travels for inspiration in the studio, I don't always focus on creating a loose rendition of a photo. Sometimes I will instead deconstruct the image in a very abstract way and infuse my painting with the feeling or ‘mood’ of these places, creating a comforting familiarity or nostalgia for viewers who have also visited and escaped to these iconic destinations.

Most of my travels take me to two regions that couldn’t be more opposite: the SoCal desert and the Hawaiian tropics. Aside from their differences, they have one alluring thing in common: time has a way of standing still and you find yourself getting lost in your surroundings. It’s that feeling of being away on vacation—relaxing, wandering, exploring, indulging—that I enjoy “bottling up” into my work.

– Kristen Guest

Artist Bio

Kristen Guest is an award-winning and published full-time artist and art instructor in San Diego, California. She graduated from art school at Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Art Education, that focused on painting, book arts and printmaking, and has been teaching realism painting since 2004 and abstract painting since 2018.

Currently, Kristen is the Resident Artist at Bernardo Winery in San Diego, where her studio is located, and she is a Mentoring Artist and the Director of Education at Art on 30th, an arts community in San Diego's North Park historic arts district.  Kristen recently became a Teaching Artist for R&F Paints and shares her love and knowledge of their Pigment Stick product line.

Her work is currently represented through Ashton Gallery in San Diego and Janssen Artspace in Palm Springs, and has been displayed on exhibit with The Athenaeum Arts & Music Library in California, Huntington Beach Art Center in California, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in Washington, Jen Tough Gallery on Artsy.com, and Saatchi's The Other Art Fair Online Studios Los Angeles.

  • Education

    2016–2017
    M.F.A. graduate work
    Media Design
    Full Sail University
    Winter Park, FL

    2000–2007
    Bachelor's of Science
    Art Education
    Middle Tennessee State University
    Murfreesboro, TN

  • Representation

    Ashton Gallery
    4434 30th Street
    San Diego, CA

    Janssen Artspace
    255 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
    Palm Springs, CA


    Online Galleries:

    • Saatchi Art
    • Artfinder
    • Fine Art America
  • Publications

    Blackout National Exhibition

    by Ashton Gallery

    Published 2023


    Hi Ho Silver National Exhibition

    by Ashton Gallery

    Published 2021

    Available on Blurb.com


    Abstract Painting: For Today's Abstract Artists

    by Kate Ashton

    Published 2019

    Available on Amazon.com

  • Solo Exhibitions

    2024

    Palm Trees
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    Cocktails + Cabanas
    Sandstone Contemporary Gallery
    Laguna Beach, CA

    2023

    The Golden Land
    Borrego Art Institute
    Borrego Springs, CA

    Java Jitters
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    2021

    Resident Artist Showcase
    Bernardo Winery's Tasting Room
    San Diego, CA

    2019

    Pedals for the People: A Benefit for San Diego Bicycle Coalition
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

  • Group Exhibitions & Awards

    2023

    Small Wonder
    Janssen Artspace
    Palm Springs, CA

    Small Works Members’ Show
    Woman Made Gallery
    Chicago, IL

    3rd Annual Blackout Nat'l Show
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    Utopia
    Janssen Artspace
    Palm Springs, CA

    Autumn Glory
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    Viva Magenta
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    All Mixed Up
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA
    Juror's Choice Award

    A World of Its Own
    Jen Tough Gallery, Artsy.com

    Beach Party
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA
    Gallery's Choice Award

    5th Color Int'l Art Competition
    Teravarna
    Los Angeles, CA
    Honorable Mention Award

    4 Square
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    The Space in Between
    Jen Tough Gallery, Artsy.com

    Righteous Red
    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA


    2022

    Lush
    Jen Tough Gallery, Artsy.com

    7th Abstract Int'l Art Competition
    Teravarna
    Los Angeles, CA
    Finalist Award

    Off the Easel
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA
    1st Place

    6th Abstract Int'l Juried Art Competition
    Teravarna
    Los Angeles, CA
    Talent Prize Award

    Summer
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA

    Solidarity
    Ashton Gallery
    San Diego, CA


    2021

    Hi Ho Silver Nat'l Show

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Off the Easel

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Summertime

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Honorable Mention

    Celebration

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Honorable Mention

    Full Circle

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Honorable Mention

    Tuxedo

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    #Obsessed

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA


    2020

    Multiplicity National Show

    Jen Tough Gallery

    Wintergreen

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Small Works Nat'l Show

    Jen Tough Gallery

    Surf City Arts Fest

    Huntington Beach Art Center

    Huntington Beach, CA

    Inspired Member Annual Show

    Huntington Beach Art Center

    Huntington Beach, CA

    Natural Worlds Nat'l Show

    Jen Tough Gallery

    Flora & Fauna Nat'l Show

    Jen Tough Gallery

    Staff Picks - Curatorial Staff International Feature

    Artfinder.com

    Quarantine Aquamarine

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Hand Selected for The Other Art Fair's Los Angeles Online Studios

    SaatchiArt.com

    Artist of the Month - Curatorial Staff InternationalFeature

    Artfinder.com

    The Many Faces of Red

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Centered on the Center

    Huntington Beach Art Center

    Huntington Beach, CA

    Ones to Watch 2020 - Curatorial Staff International Feature

    Artfinder.com


    2019

    The Power of Small Things National Show

    Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

    Port Angeles, WA

    75 & Sunny

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    First Place

    28th Annual Juried Exhibition

    Athenaeum Art Center

    La Jolla, CA

    Double Trouble

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

    Juror’s Choice


    Monthly Curatorial Staff International Feature

    SaatchiArt.com

    Creamsicle

    Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA

  • Experience

    2024–Present
    R&F Paints
    Teaching Artist

    2017–Present 
    Art on 30th
    Mentor & Director of Education

    2017–2018

    The Art Stash
    Art Instructor

    2016–2017
    Lessons.com 
    Private Art Instructor

    2014–2015
    Inspire SD Studio
    Art Instructor

    2009–2010
    Military Spouses of San Diego
    Art Coordinator & Art Instructor

    2008–2010
    Paper Source
    Retail Assistant & Art Instructor


    2007
    Smyrna High School
    Interim Art Instructor

    2004–2006
    The Art House
    Resident Artist & Art Instructor