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Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mixed Media Artist, Fine Artist or does it matter.

I was hoping that 2016 would be a great start but some challenges have come my way. Now usually when I start doubting myself, I tend to feel defeated and then give up. It is fear pure and simple. I then start to worry what people will think of me. 'What if I peaked, have nothing else to give, teach or create' I have had my run and now I am back to where I thought I always the background, not putting any attention on myself, in other words, play it safe but very unsatisfied.
This is when the practice becomes even more important!! Even though I am going through these doubts I still show up to the studio and work. The structure and discipline of doing this gives me stability and hope. As long as I still do this I have a chance to continue making a living as an artist. Now during this time I have contemplated whether I should be a Mixed Media Artist or a Fine Artist. Does fine artist mean that I am classically trained and know how to paint traditionally with excellent drawing skills knowing every inch of the human anatomy (especially since my focus is figures and portraits). If I hold onto that definition than I am not a Fine Artist. I went to school and received a BFA in Fiber Arts. I took many classes on painting and drawing but really didn't learn that much in those settings. I found that I liked making paper and creating textural pieces of art as well as weaving. I was able to use my degree to be a textile print designer for the apparel business. My biggest fear was they would find out I couldn't draw or paint , but actually I couldn't but some how I was able to have this career for 20 years so I was very successful at hiding my "lack of skills". I truly believed this and it was partly true. I always was terrified that when people asked me what I did that telling them I was artist and then asked to draw something for them! Now I could render but I couldn't really draw especially on the spot!! O.k. enough of my low self esteem. ;-)

Oh as I am writing this post I see a thread on Facebook on this exact topic! We really are all connected. What a gift to connect and support each other.

When I start to doubt myself I have to actually look back at what I have been able to create for the past 4 years. First I had to learn how to really paint, which I did, but not in a studio. I learned in an online class. It took me a good year of working like a mad woman to get better. I was asked to create an online class. That meant I had to learn how to film myself painting, editing and producing my own classes. Within the next year I had 2 or 3 online classes developed. I was then invited to teach live all around the country and I am now planning my first overseas workshop in Orvieto, Italy. Not bad...right?  Here is a link to this workshop

So I said I couldn't draw, well I got a art journal and started drawing. Here are some of my drawings.Drawing now has become my creative meditation. I love this practice.

I am working on a new online class which will be hosted by Jeanne Oliver. The class starts in June. I named this class Children of the Wild. The class will focus on children and their relationships with animals. I have created little nursery rhyme stories for each painting. It has been so much fun doing research and creating this class. I was able to collect so many beautiful vintage photos of children and their pets that have inspired some of this work. Here is just a few of the projects I have going.

I am now experimenting with oils. This is a piece I created in oils using in a mixed media (there is that word again ;-)) way. Charcoal and oil on watercolor paper.

Here are two portraits I created in oil.

I am really looking forward to taking a 5 day workshop with oil painter, Stanka Kordic. Serious art...right? Can not wait!!

Well I am off to paint. Oh, and while I was going through the downward spiral I received an email that two of my paintings in Ciel Gallery were sold!

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1, 2016

Happy New Years! I used to say on New Years Day that I am glad the previous year is finally over and ready to move on....but this past year has been pretty damn good! I have explored in my depth the planes of the face. I also like to do pencil drawings of faces with the planes. I think they stand out as art pieces alone. Here is one. I think I will be doing more of these!
I love graphite and I love using linseed oil. I have been experimenting using both with some of my paint drawings.

I forgot how much I loved to draw and began to incorporate them into my paintings. The pencil marks have always been a part of my trademark. I use a very fine mechanical pencil-.003 lead...can't get any finer than that. I just love to build layers and layers of these fine pencil marks. What I found is my pencil marks made on top of a linseed application substrate make the marks intense but still has that fine line quality! I got away from the pencil drawings and just started painting but something was missing and it was these marks, these fine lead marks. To combine them with a painterly surface makes a beautiful marriage of line and paint marks. These paintings above is this technique. I have added watercolor first to these paintings and then the linseed oil. Wonderfully the watercolor marks didn't smudge with the application of the linseed, so you have rich drippy watercolor made richly oiled from the linseed. They all were painted on vintage ledger paper. I did add some touches of fabric and plaster.

Now with these I started adding soft pastel and white oil bars. I now have a love of pink! I am always into the earthtone colors but I saw touches of pink in some paintings especially areas like the eyes so I tried that and love it! My final touches of course are done in pencil!

I have been teaching my Fabric Book now for a couple of years. Each time I teach it I figure out more and more techniques. I especially like this one. Either photo transfer a face or draw your own on to the plaster fabric and then apply inks and white paint. I like to imbed them so that the face and figure become incorporated into the background like a fresco wall that has been worn away. I love to use stencils and especially applying stencils with plaster onto translucent silk organdy yummy. Oh and at the top I plastered a piece of vintage lace to imbed that face even more. Very fun to do!! I will be teaching the book class at Art and Soul Portland 2016 as well as a venue in Michigan in April.

Now here is something very different! I met Julie Thompson a couple of years back and we became instant friends. We roomed together at Art and Soul, Virginia Beach this past year. We had an ongoing conversation over the couple of days we were there....much laughter and tears. She is someone that I felt I could confess everything to and visa versa. After one extremely intense conversation one night, Julie woke up early and did some drawings . When I woke up and saw them, I just had to sit down and feel the joy and excitement of what she made. I wasn't sure what it was for but when she told me it would be a collaboration with me I couldn't stop thinking about it. We made a promise to each other that we had to do this and we decided on a deadline. What we originally planned was to create a fabric book using Julie's brilliant technique of wiring for the spine. The book covers would be wings and in between would be several signatures of my plaster fabric. I couldn't wait to get started. In the meantime we were asked to teach at Barb Montague Solem Vivi Magoo lovely retreat in Irvine Cal. in June 2016. We still hadn't worked out the book project but aqain Julie came up with a great idea of creating an angel with the same materials and process. This is what we will be teaching in June. Here is the link for more information.
The book will take a little more time but we will be posting soon on that one.

Now this is a piece I did awhile back. I sold this painting to my brother as a gift to his wife. This is truly a miracle and a lesson in forgiveness. There were some family issues going on and we couldn't seem to resolve them. I felt a deeper and deeper wedge between us that frankly I didn't see how our relationship could ever mend. I received an email from my brother saying that my sister in law has been following me on Facebook for several years and she loves my art! I was absolutely stunned!! I never thought they thought much of me because of some of the decisions I have made in my life. I felt judged and frankly I judged them as well. Therefore I just wrote them off as sad as that sounds.This purchase has opened up our relationships to new beginnings and hope. Art truly changes lives. If I wasn't an artist and I didn't have this piece of art I probably would have gone to my grave with unresolved issues with them. I am so grateful for this and so blessed that I can communicate with out words to be heard.

I have discovered oil painting and I don't know if I can go back to acrylics again! I will most likely continue to teach acrylics, but for my own personal work, it is time for me to really start experimenting with oils. I have taken an online class in oils by Tony Pro. I love how he paints and his palette!! He starts his portraits with the planes of the face. There is much to absorb so I am learning from the pros while I figure out my way of using oils, which I am sure will become very unconventional!! There is an oil painter, Ann Gale, that totally brings me to tears with her work. Check her out, I absolutely love the way she paints and the emotion in the eyes. I am over the moon and would love to study under her. That is one of my big wishes. She is a professor at the University of Washington and I envy her students. I must make this wish happen!!
Now I hate to end on a sorry note but I wasn't really sure where I should put this in my post. I normally don't post about my personal life here, it is always art centered, but this just happened and I am so heart broken. We got a dog 6 months ago, Karter. He is a German Shepard. I never had a big dog before, let alone a big intelligent dog. John raised several shepards and his view it is the only dog to have! I wasn't sure and a bit intimidated but I fell in love with him. He was a rescue dog from Dogs by Andy, a obedience and protection trainer. Karter was fully trained and it was our job to continue training him. Shepards like to work! It was so rewarding! As the months went by it was very apparent that Karter was a one man dog and that one man was John, my beloved of 13 years. I was feeling quite lonely in my studio with no pup to hang out with me there. So the answer was for me to get my own German Shepard! We found Bella at the same place we got Karter. Oh was this dog a beauty and so much energy!! We met a couple of times and tested Karter with her so we thought everything was fine. After just 2 nights a horrible thing happened. We were taking them for a walk and I came across a stray dog. I felt compelled to find it's owner which was close by,. John had both Bella and Karter. When I came back to get Bella, the leashes got tangled and Bella nipped Karter on the face.They got into the most horrific dog fight. John and I tried to pull them apart. John's arm was bitten up pretty badly. It seemed to go on forever. I finally was able to pry Karter's mouth off Bella's neck and it was over. I thought for sure Bella would be ripped up to shreds but not so. There was blood everywhere so when we finally got them home and inspected both of them there was not a scatch. It was all John's. We both went to the emergency room and John had several punture wounds. I had a large hematoma on my arm from the force of pulling them apart. We were told from several people that we should of just let them stop on their own but I can't do that. My first reaction is to protect and do whatever is possible. I didn't even think of possibly getting bitten on my face while being in the middle of 2 shepards fiercely fighting. You see I never had children . It just wasn't meant to be but there was always this emptiness. I couldn't help thinking that the best part of me will never be explored and that is to be a mother. The only example I have to relate to is owning and loving animals and doing whatever it takes to protect them. I think I probably would have made an awesome mom. But I digress, we took Bella back. Karter is quarantined at our home for 10 days and most likely we will find him another home. John and I both agree that we need to adopt a pup and raise it ourself from the beginning. Another wish I have this year is to find that animal that will complete this little family we have. I still love German Shepards so maybe that will be our puppy. Another thing I learned about myself is that I am pretty much of a bad ass , at least John thinks so. I guess I kind of have a macho thing by wanting a big bad ass dog. Thanks for listening to my tales of woe as well as all the beauty and lovely things that have happened to me this past year. Till next time.....kate

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall reflections

Before I get into my blog post I wanted to let you know what teaching gigs I have coming up:
I will be teaching with eleven other women online starting January 2016 . It is called Love Art Happy Life e-course. Here is the link to sign up and get more information on the class. In my portion of the class I will be studying Edward Burne Jones. Hope to see you there.

I am teaching my Fabric Book class at Donna Downey Studios, Dec. 12-13 2015. It is one of my favorite classes to teach. Everyone, no matter what level, comes away with a beautiful heirloom.

My Orvieto, Italy workshop is coming up fast. I started planning this almost 2 years ago and it is not too far into the future now. If you are thinking about coming it is not too early to sign up! I have been working on this course the past year so that I have a wonderful workshop experience for the students. I have several books on the Frescos of Italy and will be incorporating some of those images for inspiration for the class. I can't wait to share this experience!! Here is the link to hear more.


My birthday is in the fall and once summer is over and I feel that ever so slight change in the seasons I can feel my roots and my beginning. I always dreaded my birthday for so many years; getting older for me wasn't graceful but for some reason that has changed. I don't mind the aging process anymore. In fact I probably feel the most content as I grow older now. I have developed some really wonderful relationships as my teaching takes me all over the country. I just came back from taking a 5 day class with Gillian Cox at Random Arts. Phyllis Peterson opened her home to me, Gillian and Pam. Did we ever have some wonderful laughs.....I mean the deep belly laughs that create wonderful memories.

 We did some wonderful art and Gillian's art and teaching style brings all her students to tears. My work I did in the workshop never is quite as good as I want it to be, but I am learning and stretching new ways of painting so there is always a learning curve. I have been teaching for a couple of years and developing my style. I made a decision to become a student again and learn from artists that I respect and know will stretch me. Remember I was trying to figure out my story after taking her class in Scotland. Well I did find my story and I will be sharing it very soon once I get a few pieces together. I was overcome with emotion as that story was revealed to me towards the end of the day.Here as some of my humble pieces I did in the workshop. I am now home and will have some time to really absorb what I have learned and take what I need to continue my art path. I have a couple of months to hunker down into my looking forward to it. I have been on the road so much and now I can do my work.


While we were up in Saluda for the workshop a couple of the students and myself were part of an art exhibit at The Studios at Flat Rock. It was so special to share it with Gillian and the students!!

I am playing with a new technique using fabric, watercolors , linseed oil and graphite. I will be teaching some of these techniques in Orvieto. I love the aged and mysterious look it achieves.

That is it for now. The next time I blog I will be 61. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.