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Meet Kathleen Conover

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Conover.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Raised in Fullerton, I chose SDSU for college, majoring in Art, of course. Art was always my first love. Although encouraged about my work I was also discouraged because “you cannot make a living as an artist,” was the mantra of teachers and professors. Ten years later, located in Northern Michigan with my young family, I had successfully applied my creative talents in various directions, but it all felt like “spinning my wheels.” Finally deciding to follow my soul I went into “ART” wholeheartedly.

I earned my Master of Arts Degree from Northern Michigan University, emphasis in painting with a minor in printmaking. Focusing on Watermedia over the next few years, I traveled to study with the masters and heroes in my field and painted, painted, painted! Techniques, history, communication, etc. can be taught academically, but an artist must put their time in at the easel to truly learn their craft, find their voice and travel their personal journey.

Awards in national and international competitions, articles in Art Magazines and Watermedia workshop teaching allowed me to be a part of the Watermedia world from my small northern Michigan community. Ownership of my own gallery, The STUDIO Gallery, Marquette, Michigan, has been an excellent business and venue for my work, allowing me to paint while being available to customers. After 25 years of ownership, I am selling the business for new adventures and will focus more on my online gallery, KathleenConover.com.

Now I find myself in a position I am most grateful for and never could have imagined. Having earned an international reputation, I am invited to exhibit works in many countries, have taught workshops in fascinating locations like China, France, Turkey, Ireland, Mexico, etc. as well as many locations in the U.S. Most enjoyable are the invitations to judge national and international competitive Watermedia exhibitions. This is truly an honor! On occasion I pinch myself. The Art World is a wonderful place, and YES, you can make a living as an artist!

Please tell us about your art.
Watermedia (transparent and opaque watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and water-soluble drawing media) are my chosen materials to work with because they have a “spirit” of their own. They truly demand creative decision making all along the painting process. I love that mental activity. Watercolor, specifically, can be controlled but it is the energy and motion of the uncontrolled medium that I work with at the beginning of my paintings to catch that spark of excitement, magic combination of colors mixing, granulating, separating and presenting to the world an organic aspect of pigment and water that can’t be duplicated by the human hand. Energy, motion, and connectedness is one aspect that inspires me. It is what I give to my work and what it gives back to me.

I paint in a few series of works. Most interesting from my northern position and deep cold environment are my “frozen crystal paintings.” I can catch the frost, freezing and thawing patterns of ice in watercolor by actually putting my paper and pigment outside in 20-degree weather. This is that uncontrolled, nature-made organic “magic” that I can’t produce by hand. But I can develop finished compositions from what I have been given. A far distance from the sunshine of San Diego… I often say, “it’s this So. Californian making lemonade…”

Other series of works include:
My current competition and museum exhibition pieces are in the “Industrial Evolution” series which are quite controlled. I truly enjoy painting abstract works, also. Paintings with imagery are often symbolic using horses, dragonflies, broken Greek statues, etc. Colorful florals are always fun, and as I travel, and teach, I paint landscapes from all over the world. Diversity in my work keeps me from getting bored!

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Follow your heart! If you love the arts, then give it your all. Being an artist is not a 9-5:00 job. It is a lifestyle. It IS work. But if you love what you’re doing it is the best work in the world. I love this quote by Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The best source for my work is my website, KathleenConover.com. As I close out my gallery of 25 years, it will be more active than ever so keep posted…

Check out my Blog and please sign up for messages as I will be releasing originals and limited edition Giclee reproductions, only seen in my gallery up to now.

Contact Info:

  • Website: KathleenConover.com
  • Email: conoverart@gmail.com
  • Instagram: conover_watermedia
  • Facebook: Kathleen Conover

Image Credit:
Kathleen Conover

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