Category: Artist Talk

Reflecting on 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, I’ve been busy mapping out plans for 2017. And by busy I mean scribbling notes on everything and talking my husband’s ear off. I already have a list of commissions, multiple shows and gallery exhibits, and a very long list of ideas bouncy around my head. But a conversation I had with my daughters at lunch has me reflecting on this past year. As we were eating sandwiches one of my girls said, “I really miss you being our art teacher, but I’m happy you are home and doing what you love.” And for some reason those words kind of hit me. This year has been so jammed packed with amazing opportunities that it almost doesn’t feel like this is my first year as a full-time artist.

I truly want to thank every single person that helped make this dream a reality for me. Those of you who bought a piece of art, those of you that offered kind words, those of you that came to my gallery opening, those of you that have helped with my children (mom, I’m looking at you), those of you that have shared my work for your friends to see. I wish I could invite you all over for a big dinner at my house. I would give you each a big hug, a plate of food and a piece of pie. Until I find a way to make that crazy idea possible, please accept this as my sincerest thank you.

A story about “St. Louis”

I thought I would share a little story about one of my paintings. I painted this a few months ago and titled it, “St. Louis” which may seem strange since it’s a painting of flowers. I named it after a trip my husband and I took this past fall. Ryan had planned on attending a pastors conference at the St. Louis seminary. And since I had never been to St. Louis, Daisy and I tagged along.

The first day we did typical tourist sight seeing since I had never been there before. Then the next day he went to his conference and I spent the entire day in a quiet hotel room painting. There was even a Dick Blick art supply store just a few blocks from our hotel. It was amazing; a day with no agenda other that to paint and take care of a tiny baby. I turned up my music, set up a make shift studio in the corner, Daisy took a long nap and I painted. By the end of the day I had a good chunk of my painting finished and was waiting for Ryan to get back so we could go to dinner. And that’s where things got interesting. When he got back I told him about my exciting day of art making and that I even scored a free burrito at Chipotle because of our cute baby. I was over the moon happy with this rare day. He was looking at my painting while I changed my clothes for our fancy dinner out( another rare thing). And then I heard a loud thud followed by, “Kati, I’m so sorry! Can you fix it!?” And let me just tell you those are not the words you want to hear when you are having a pretty much prefect day. He had accidentally knocked over my painting onto my paint pallete. Blobs of paint scattered all over my panel of flowers.

So, what did I do? I cried. Like a big baby, crocodile tears and everything, cried. I was so upset I even decided I didn’t want to go out to dinner. I wasn’t mad at him because I knew it was a accident and he already felt terrible. And I wasn’t upset because it was unfix-able. I was upset because that was my day’s work and within seconds it was gone.

Now that I’m typing this it seems completely ridiculous behavior like something our two year old would do. But I’m telling this embarrassing story to demonstrate how art is such an emotional process. The art I make is so intertwined with who I am, my thoughts and my day to days. These paintings I make are a part of me. So when you buy a piece of art from an artist, remember, it’s so much more than just a pretty thing for your home. It’s their emotions, their experiences, their passions, their trial and error, their success and failure, their baby and their livelihood.

A few weeks later I finished the painting. I kept areas of paint blobs by working them into the composition. I wanted the reminder of how it was created. I liked the reminder of how imperfections can also be beautiful; they create a story. The painting itself also has symbolic meaning other than pretty flowers, but that’s a story for another day.


I’m almost 21 weeks pregnant and anxiously counting the days until spring. Weeks are flying by and yet winter still feels overwhelmingly long. Caleb and I have been spending time around the house avoiding the cold. I’m trying to enjoy these moments instead of counting the days until I can be barefoot outside again. These are the last few months that it will be just the two of us home during the day and I kind of want to savor every little moment.

A Secret About Artists

The girls and I have been spending some time painting together lately. I put two little easels next to mine in my “summer studio” and gave them a stack of blank canvases. We listen to music; get our hands covered in paint and our feet dirty from being barefoot. And we paint. We paint whatever we want. The three of us sit on the small airing deck, but each in our own little world. Sometimes I just sit and watch because it amazes me how natural it is for kids to create. They don’t over think what they’re going to draw or the colors they’re going to use. They just do. They just make art.

I have so many people comment on how talented the girls are at art, especially Daniela. They say things like, “Oh, she was born with your art gene.” But I thought today that I’d share a little secret with you. I don’t believe there is this “art gene” that people always refer to. Every child is born with an “art gene”. My kids are no more artists that yours. Don’t believe me? Come sit in my art room when I am teaching preschoolers to paint. Actually, I don’t even have to teach them to paint; I just show them how to properly use a paint brush. And then they make art. They paint trucks, and mermaids, and circles and whatever comes into their mind. Children are born artists. Creating is natural for them.

So why isn’t everyone an artist then? Some are just better at making art, right? Well, yes and no. Art like anything else in life takes practice to be good. Some of those little preschoolers will fall in love with painting and they will want to paint all the time. And each time they make a doodle, fill in a coloring book, or make something with play dough, they are practicing art. Then one day someone will tell them they are good at art or that they are not. The ones that are told they are “good at art” will feel inspired to keep creating. But instead of telling those that are “bad at art” to practice more, they are often told that art is just “not their thing”. And that’s when kids decide they are no longer an artist and that art is something special for just a few people to enjoy.

Daniela is good at art because she truly loves art. She has been painting since before she could walk. She has watched me create since she was little, so for her art is just a normal part of life. And when she rolls out of bed the first thing she does is grab her art supplies. She creates art all day long. When she’s watching TV, she folds origami, creates little books or makes bracelets. She draws in her sketchbook when we are driving. She doodles on the bulletins during church. Seriously, all day long this kid is creating something.

Lila is also a very talented little artist. Since she is my stepdaughter, she definitely doesn’t have my “art gene”. When Lila became a part of my life she was just barely 3 and one of my first memories of her was scribbling all over the walls. I remember Daniela’s shock because she knew that was not the proper use for crayons. I think it was then that 5 year old Daniela decided she was going to make Lila an artist too. She started teaching her to color. They have been making art together ever since.

So maybe you’re feeling like art really isn’t your thing. Maybe art supplies feel a tad intimating. And maybe letting your young children make a mess with paint sounds about as fun as dropping a brick on your foot. Let me just tell you that your art skills really don’t matter. Want to test my theory? Go draw a tree for your three year old. You know that stupid looking tree with the trunk, broccoli looking top and hole in the center for an owl or squirrel? Yes, that tree. Then draw a sun in the corner with the tacky looking rays and smile. Now give it to your child and watch her think you are the most amazing artist she has ever met. And she will be right because you are probably the only artist she has ever met. So let your inner artist out and make some art together. I promise you that preschool artist in you is still down in there somewhere.

Oh, Dear

Oh Deer

                    Oh, Dear  – 11×14  oil on wood panel    

About four months ago I bought new brushes because I was going to start painting again, but they sat on my dresser waiting for me to use them. Seeing them each morning made me feel guilty about not using the stupid brushes that I paid for or the talents God gave me.  Yes, I’m creative, yes I’m an art teacher, but deep down I’m also an artist. There was a time in my life I couldn’t go a day without painting and now months slip by without me even touching a paint brush.  And it makes me sad.  So why don’t I just paint?  The ideas never stop and the desire to create is always there, but I make excuses.  These excuses look a lot like piles of laundry, dirty dishes, kids that need me and a baby who’s crying. All of these things were true this morning, but I made time (my husband is awesome) for a little painting.  It felt great and I’m pretty sure my brushes were happy too.  So here is my attempted to make time each week to paint again. I don’t want to be a liar, so if my artwork doesn’t appear on this blog every couple of weeks, someone come yell at me.

Waiting and Painting


Everyday I wake up hoping that maybe today will be the day that I get to meet my son or daughter.  Every little contraction or discomfort and my heart skips a beat, but I’m still waiting.  I’m trying to stay busy to keep my mind distracted as much as possible.  I started a new painting of some roses from our yard.  Maybe I’ll finish it before the baby makes its grand entrance.