Artist Statement: Watercolor Work
I paint from life. My watercolors are a tool through which I explore my direct experience, from encounters with everyday objects to complex life events.
My work embodies my belief that all we experience is intertwined. Perhaps that is why the organic detail that fills many of my paintings seems so animate. I see my subjects as separate from any label attached to them. In pieces like "Time" and "Circuit," for example, I transform a simple sketch of a mechanical object into something distantly related to that object, yet liquid and alive.
My paintings tell stories, but in free verse, not prose. Each panel of the multi-paneled paintings can stand on its own, yet the panels are connected thematically and through subtle elements of texture, color and line. In "Dinner at Chez Panisse," for example, the threads of the meal's tastes mingle with each other one paneled course to the next.
Geometric patterns and spatial relationships have interested me from an early age. The works that investigate symmetrical patterns and depth seem to draw from a different internal source than my more flowing works.
I often begin with a simple pencil sketch. I work in partnership with the brush, paper, water and paint, and let the materials guide me. Often, I'm surprised by what I produce. Although I will start with a firm concept, the paintings sometimes evolve on their own accord, with compelling new ideas emerging in the midst of the painting process. I frequently alternate between projects, letting each one rest. A piece can take me between a day and several years to complete.
I love stretching the boundaries of watercolor technique. Sometimes I incorporate different colored inks, or use the watercolors in forceful ways. By combining these techniques with watercolor's more traditional translucent and flowing quality I create depth and vibrancy in my works.
About Kathy Canfield Shepard
Kathy has been painting with watercolors since 1994, and has studied drawing and painting at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. Her works have been shown at the Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and online at the Period Gallery (www.periodgallery.com).
In addition to painting, Kathy owns and operates Canfield Design Studios, Inc. (www.canfielddesignstudios.com) a web and graphic design firm specializing in arts, nonprofit and small business clients. She has held full-time web design and production positions with two major web development firms, and had extensive freelance experience with three additional firms. She received her multimedia interactive design certification from the Pratt Institute.
Kathy has enjoyed a successful career as a French horn player since 1985. She has played with orchestras and ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, Detroit Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and with such artists as Lenny Kravitz, Leonard Bernstein, Frank Sinatra, and Joni Mitchell. She has credits in over a dozen Broadway shows (including 8 years in the orchestra for the Broadway production of Les Misérables) and can be heard on recordings, film scores, radio and TV. Kathy is a member of Chamber Music America and the International Horn Society. She holds a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and a masters degree from The Juilliard School.