I remember planting seeds as a child, kneeling in the earth; the wonder of that experience has been with me all my life. That a speck of a seed, given soil, water and light, could become a beautiful flower, was an event too marvelous to comprehend. My response to this miracle of nature and of life was, and is, wonder, anticipation, joy and ultimately, reverence. This is what I try to express and celebrate in my art.
In my painting I attempt to reflect intimately my impressions of living things or the parts of living things that metaphorically suggest the whole in celebration of being.
Others of my paintings are about seeds. The seeds represent existence before being. I saw them in my mind’s eye and wanted to put their potential in a mysterious yet nurturing and allowing environment.
There are two other variations in my latest work. One takes the form of elongated organic “cone” shapes. The cone is open at one end and may be viewed with the wide part either up or down, suggesting the unity of birth and death, beginning and ending and beginning again…..
The other theme I call “duo”. These forms are two halves of a whole. They are opposing yet complementary – one could not exist without the other. My experience is that our lives are dichotomous. There is our inner world which we share as spiritual beings and there is the outer world which we learn about and must live in – the eternal and the temporal experiences. To unite the two experiences, to allow them to sing in harmony, if you will, is to generate light, love and compassion.
If the viewer can sense something familiar, something elemental and reassuring finally, in contemplating the images I suggest, then I think my work has some worth.
I use the softest, finest quality pastels available and soft cotton paper which accepts and absorbs multi-layers of color. My fingers are my brushes.
I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. During my 31 year career in art education with Milwaukee Public Schools and UW-Milwaukee I explored many different media with my students.
My work has been exhibited in Wisconsin and in the San Francisco Bay Area and may be found in private collections throughout the country.
In my most recent work I am employing acrylic paint, brushing this medium on canvases from small to large. Occasionally I choose watercolor on paper for its freedom and transparency.
However, that which compels me to express does not change. My paintings continue to be my response to the natural world, every component of which is alive, constantly rhythmically and harmoniously moving and changing in response to some mysterious consciousness of the unity of life.
The subject of much of my latest work is landscape, various places at different moments during all seasons.
I can only attempt to describe what my paintings are about; ultimately, they must speak for themselves.
Kathleen received her BA in Art Education at UW-Milwaukee and a Masters in Integrated Arts Education at Alverno College. She worked as an art teacher for 35 years in the West Bend public school system and then as an adjunct instructor in the Art Department at Alverno College for 8 years.
She has lived for the past 37 years with her husband on a 10 acre farm outside of Slinger, WI where she raises vegetables, sheep and chickens. This space affords her endless opportunities to continue exploring and discovering the marvels in nature and the intersections and collisions between nature and humankind.
Kathleen has created both individual and collaborative art installations. Her work has been exhibited in numerous one-person shows as well as juried, group and invitational exhibitions around the state.
My work is reflective of my fascination with the natural world and the interconnectedness I see in all living things including the human race. Each piece tells a story reflecting my interpretation of events unfolding across continents and in my own space. Through my story boxes I try to make sense of the incomprehensible things that are happening in this world. The maps that become a part of much of my collage work are, for me, a statement about the mistaken human belief that there is a way to divide, contain and control the earth and all it is composed of and record this with simple lines, symbols, charts and graphs.
My work incorporates natural materials and found elements to create a more direct link between the natural world and human interpretation. I continue to explore these themes with an endless curiosity and desire to make sense of this world.