EDUCATION: I loved drawing from the time I could pick up a pencil. All through school, my notebooks were filled more with drawings than the math and science they were supposed to contain. I won my first art competition at age 6; the judge predicted I’d be an artist when I grew up. I studied fine art at the University of Alberta in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I received my bachelor’s degree there, as well as a Master of Printmaking.
MEDIUM AND SUBJECTS: My current passion is working with colored pencil. I’ve done some botanical still lifes and animal drawings but, for the most part, I’ve concentrated on portraiture. I find it thrilling to see people “come alive” on my drawing board, emerging from the paper with photographic realism. At present, my time is spent working on portrait commissions, a business that is slowly growing through word of mouth.
ADMIRES THESE ARTISTS: Because of my interest in portraiture, some of my favorite artists at present include: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, for his dramatic use of chiaroscuro; Jan Vermeer, for his exquisite, poetic interiors and sense of light; Chuck Close, for the way he uses detailed realism combined with large scale; and Norman Rockwell, for his warm and humorous illustrations.
BACKGROUND OF AFTER THE PARTY: This is a drawing of my younger daughter, done from a photograph of her taken while visiting my parents in Arizona. I remember so well her reaction to being there, feeling the warm Arizona sun on her skin, smelling the scent of orange blossoms in the air. I wanted to capture that sense of light and warmth on her face, the bliss she was feeling, the sense of total relaxation that only the young can achieve after a hard day at play.
FAVORITE PART OF PAINTING AFTER THE PARTY: My favorite parts were drawing the fabric, playing with the colors to heighten the sense of light and shadow and rendering the balloon, with the challenge of creating transparency and reflection in its surface.
DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS: I’ve always thought of art as a spiritual pastime-a way of life, rather than a goal to achieve. I’ve had some great moments in my art career such as winning several awards in international art competitions. However, I think the real joy is just being involved in something I love doing. For now, I’m happy to be embarking in a new direction with colored pencil. I’m content to wait and see where it will lead me.
Kate Mesch is an assistant editor for The Artist’s Magazine.