the Botanically-Inclined Artist
Kathy is an American artist living and teaching in North Carolina with a focus on edibles, NC natives, and decaying plant material using watercolor, ink wash, or graphite to create highly detailed images on paper.
She has always had a fascination for plants. Raised in the concrete sprawl of the Los Angeles suburbs, the daughter of a Dutch gardener, Kathy's father taught her the joy and wonder of growing herbs and flowers in their small yard at a young age.
Graduating from California State University, Fullerton with a Master of Art in Illustration and Design, she taught college level drawing and design courses for several years while freelancing as an editorial magazine illustrator. Kathy's work at this point was figurative, focusing on the human condition.
After moving to North Carolina over twenty five years ago, the surrounding beauty of the verdant Piedmont landscape rekindled her interest in plants. While working as an elementary art teacher and nature educator, Kathy took up classes in Botanical Illustration at the North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC Chapel Hill, where she changed her focus to portraying plants. She now teaches at the garden and is part of the faculty of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certification Program there.
Kathy also gives workshops at other venues throughout the year.
Her watercolors have been exhibited in the American Society of Botanical Artists I\Annual International Exhibitions, the NYBG 4th Triennial Exhibition, the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Annual and the Birds in Art International Exhibition (Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin).
The taste of a juicy ripe heirloom Tomato, the sound of dried Silverbell pods and Broom Sedge blowing in the breeze, the sight of a rainbow of colors on the waning blades of Deer-Tongue Grass in early Fall, the feel of a prickly Coneflower seedhead after a goldfinch has decimated it or a crunchy dried Sycamore leaf, or even the smell of a decaying pumpkin. The senses are an integral part of our everyday lives. Close observation distills everything except the essentials of what one experiences; tiny details that would normally be passed over, I choose to paint, inviting the viewer to come in close and let the outside world disappear.
I am not drawn to the promise of the ephemeral beauty of a flower, but to the fruits, seeds, waning leaves, and life past its' prime, the presence at the end of a life cycle, subjects that one faces daily as one moves on in time. Small icons of plant life that surrounds me is what I depict. Most of my subjects come from around my home and studio, the remainder from the farmer that supplies my food. This is my world, one which I take part in daily.
My work is an illusion of reality, like the Velveteen Rabbit who becomes real, I paint in layers until the subject feels real to me and may just fall off the paper if I wish it so. The glow of a platinum print, the aged look of an old botanical, this is what I try to capture in my ink wash and watercolor studies.