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Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kate and Kelly's Mixed Media Portrait Workshop

I am very excited to teach with Kelly Berkey at her brand new studio in Kansas City, MO July 13-17 2015. Here is the link to get more information.

It is going to be 5 days of intensive portrait painting. Even though Kelly and I have different styles (and that's a good thing) we both approach art and teaching in the same type of manner. It is not about coming away from a class with alot of finished beautiful pieces, although that can indeed happen, but rather to stretch yourself creatively and be willing to have some set backs. Learning something new takes time and practice and it is often the struggle that will bring you the most satisfaction if you just keep at it.
I went to a workshop in Scotland in October. I got really, really sick and I was out of my comfort zone. Gillian had us sketching outside and my lack of perspective skills showed up very very clearly in my "sketches". I threw all that work out, but that experience made me want to do better. The only way to get better is to practice. I hated drawing buildings because I wasn't good at it but Gillian gave me enough information for me to think about and apply when I got home to my studio. Even the other work I did in the workshop I wasn't happy with. I had all these high expectations of what I should create and I was somewhat disappointed, not in the workshop but with myself! When I got back from the trip all the new information, techniques and philosophy of creating came pouring out of me and I did a couple of pieces that made me realize I had made a jump in my work. I felt these were pieces I could be proud to hang in a gallery, in fact create a body of work. This was profound and more importantly helped me understand what a good workshop will do. It helped me as a teacher as well. I always want my students to come away happy and with beautiful art they are proud of and when I see a student struggle, I feel bad, but now I realize that is a good place to be. It will make you want to go home and try again and again and again and then the beautiful art will happen.
Kelly and I both have a passion for creating and learning and it is very serious business for us but we do like to have fun and laugh so I think this week will be a delightful experience but be prepared to work!!
Here are some samples of some of my portraits:

Now here are some examples of Kelly Berkey's work. Wouldn't you want to learn some of her techniques? I sure can't wait!  Check out her website to view more.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I am teaching at 21 Secrets Art Journaling Spring 2015 online class

I am thrilled to be a part of the Spring 2015 teacher line-up. Here are a couple of examples of my journaling style.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scotland and other adventures

I just got back from Scotland a couple of weeks ago. I attended Gillian Cox's week long workshop. If you aren't familiar with Gillian Cox (Gillian Lee Smith), well then please visit her website. I can't even explain the impact that it had on me. I went there, and because I teach, I felt like I should impress the other students at the workshop. We started out with sketching outside (oh no, my biggest fear)! I never got how artists could just go outside and sketch the most mundane images and make them look interesting. I couldn't even understand sketching something spectacular, especially when it comes to buildings (the dreaded perspective). So any ideas of impressing anyone went right out the window. It was then that I decided to be the student and learn; learn the things I didn't think I could learn. I wanted to leave this workshop with something new that I could use in my own art, not just a bunch of "my" work.
So here is my feeble attempt of trying to draw a landscape with some buildings.
Believe me this is one of the better ones! Yuck, so much to learn and could I learn it? Gillian helped me by explaining more about background , foreground, and midground and how to create that illusion. I got what she was talking about, but still couldn't apply it. When I got home I tried some more,

Not perfect but I was starting to get it. I have been wanting to create environments in my paintings so that my figures would be somewhere. I was so focused on the portrait and figure that the background was of no importance to me, but to create atmosphere, they need to be some where. I have a ways to go to understand perspective, but now I have the desire to draw what I see around me. I actually enjoyed drawing my patio, and will now start including drawing my environment as part of my artistic practice.
Here is some of the work I created in the workshop

I started this landscape with a figure during this workshop. It went through many stages of development

Now when I got home, I really changed it and find my style changing and developing even more

 I have worked on another piece that I like. Here it is.

One of the most important aspects of being an artist is to be a student. I will never stop growing; this will consume for the rest of my life!

I have a new online workshop that will be starting Nov. 24, 2014

I ALSO HAVE CREATED STENCILS!! My stencils can be purchased at Stencil Girl
Here is the link 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I hate when I lose the magic of a piece!

So I have had a couple of months to just paint. Painting for myself on the weekends and during the week painting for my online workshops. I got back from Art Unraveled in August which was my first time and I loved the venue and can't wait to go back next year...but I digress. I seem to have a couple of styles. I love painting whimsical girls in splashy watercolors and I was really pleased with this little one.

She is painted on a fabric book cover. I always love to come back to this playful way of painting. I love drawing and love to draw on top of these watercolor portraits adding bits of collage.
I am working on an upcoming online class "A date with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This is a painting I painted at the beginning of the year when the idea first came to me.

This is my interpretation of a Dante Rossetti painting. I am learning so much about this time period.
Here is my 2nd piece for the class. I first drew a picture of the lovely Jane Morris (wife of William Morris) and then made an image transfer to use as my underpainting. I thought it appropriate to design my version of a William Morris print and used that as wallpaper behind the figure. far so good! I am on a roll and everything is going great and then...........
I found this portrait by the incredible photographer at that time who worked with some of the same models as the Pre-Raphaelites, Julia Margaret Cameron. Google her work, she photographed the most incredible portraits. So I start painting and I like what I am doing.

I really wish I would have stopped here because I loved her expression, I loved the looseness and the unfinished look of the piece, but I thought I better get into some smoothing out and glazing and this is what happened

It became too smooth and I hated the glazing. I think it made it look dirty. I do love the background and the hint of a backyard with trees. I stopped filming for this class at this stage because the class was getting way too long. I had it sitting in my studio for a couple of days,and the first image I created haunted me and I wanted to get back to that place so yes, she called to me and wouldn't let me go till 8 hours later! I finally surrendered and realized I could not get back that original freshness. Note to not try to copy your own paintings. It just doesn't work. That is the magic part of have the craft and the practice going, but at some point the muse (being in the moment) takes over and THAT can not be repeated!

So this is where I surrendered! She looks haunted and exhausted which is what I was after working on her. She finally said 'Time to move on, you have learned what you needed to learn here'. So now I am exhausted but now know I can create like the first image I shared which is the direction I really want my work to go...but this painting was not going to be it. It is just a stepping stone. Heck, it really isn't about the's about the experience!