Artiste du mois | Kathryn Weisberg

We’re happy to present Kathryn Weisberg as our Artist of the Month! Kathryn was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s 29th Annual Art Competition. Her impressionist oil painting, Route de Lavender (oil, 9×12) is below. Read on to learn more about her style and process! San Francisco, California

Kathryn Weisberg's winning art

Route de Lavender (oil, 9×12) by Kathryn Weisberg

My great aunt Judy was an exceptional watercolorist. Many in my family were artists and musicians. Exposed at an early age to the creative spirit, I started drawing around the age of 5 and painting in watercolor by age 10. I won my first award at the age of 14 in a school competition and afterward never considered myself anything but an artist.

I attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco when it was in its flegling years on Sutter Street. Subsequently, I have studied for two years with Richard Sloan, an internationally acclaimed acrylic painter and have been honored with several other powerful mentors along the way.

After many years painting in watercolor and acrylic I returned to oil as it gives me the greatest flexibility in the style I most enjoy, impressionism. Painting into wet paint and being able to scrape away areas to be repainted is a luxury.

Route de Lavender was painted en plein air in Provence in 2006. I was on a painting trip to the south of France where we spent many days standing in open fields filled with lavender. The warm sun and the smell of lavender along with the late afternoon clouds building in the sky was irresistable.

I work life, sketches, and photos with life being the optimal choice, drawings next and finally photographs where I can’t capture a pose or situation by sittings or lengthy sketches. Travel to remote regions of the world to visit indigenous cultures and search for wildlife does not always lend itself to poses and liesurely sketching. That said there is no substitute for experience with working from life and I use that experience to find the values, color, and nuances of light in areas that photographs wash out or over compensate for in contrast. There are colors in shadows, reflected lights, subtle value changes and edges that a photograph will not reveal. When I use a photograph, I always consider how it will look in life.

Studio paintings can take several days and sometimes weeks. I usually work on 3 to 4 paintings at a time to allow my mind to rest and my eye to refresh as passages of a painting are completed. Plein air pieces are, by necessity, done in minutes. To spend 2 hours on a plein air piece would require a solidly overcast day and a good memory. If I recall correctly, this piece was done in around 15-20 minutes.

I always approach plein air pieces as a study of what is in front of me. I try to disconnect from my thinking and analytical mind and just experience the moment in paint. That is the difficulty and the joy of this type of direct painting. You never really know what you will get and usually it falls in the category of just another study.

I have begun working with conservation groups in the effort to support endangered species projects. The proceeds from some of my prints go directly to those organizations. Beyond that I just continue to be a student of painting. Forty-five years after picking up my first paint brush, I am still learning to paint!

I don’t think I am actually inspired to create art. I would characterize the sensation more as a pull or a requirement. Not painting was never an option and I actually become spiritually diminished if I am away from it for long periods of time. Is there an art gene?

I guess the funniest thing about my art is that I do not define myself by it. I believe it lives its own life from its conception. I never really feel it’s about me, but more about its own desire to come into existance. Almost like it wants to escape the easel and `get on with it.’

There are no words to describe the feelings an artist has for mentors, and I have many, deceased and living, that I owe a great deal of thanks to. I am especially motivated by their teachings and guided by their admonitions. Jim Smyth and Brigitte Curt were especially instructive during this particular painting trip to France.

Paint, paint, paint. It takes miles of canvas to gain understanding. [If you like this quote, click here to tweet it!]

Kathryn Weisberg

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