Watercolor artist Katherine Klimitas presents a collection of warm and captivating animal portraits. Visit her website to see more of her portfolio.
I was born with a genetic bone disease that caused my bones to break easily and grow abnormally. My parents and I stopped counting my breaks at 500 when I was ten years old. I am 2’7” tall, and I use an electric wheelchair for mobility. I rely on other people to complete nearly all of my daily activities.
When I was young, I was smart, and I was bored. My mother was constantly trying to find activities to keep me occupied that I could actually do. My life changed when she gave me my first watercolor set at five years old. I learned very quickly that I liked to create art and that I was actually pretty good at it.
I always attended a mainstream school and although I was included as much as possible and never thought of myself as “disabled,” there were many instances where I couldn’t participate in the same activities my friends could.
Art became my outlet.
My parents, who were veterinarians, enrolled me in every art class and summer camp that they could find. I got to work in many types of media, including acrylic, oil, pastel, printmaking, sculpture and glass blowing, but watercolor always remained my favorite.
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It ultimately became my primary medium, mostly because it was the one that allowed me to work independently in a small space without a lot of supplies or movement. Watercolor was one of the only mediums that allowed me to work on my own, and that became very important to me.
By the time I was a teenager, I was taking pet portrait commissions from my parents’ veterinary clients, and I already knew that art was going to somehow play a big part in my career choice.
I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a BA in graphic design, expanding my artistic skills to logo and website design, along with other marketing products for both corporate and private clients. Nearly two decades later, I still take pet portrait commissions, although my style has evolved since those early years of loose whimsey into one of detailed realism.
Today I run my business, KAK Art & Designs, from my home in New Orleans, Louisiana. While I do have graphic design clients, I spend the majority of my time painting wild and domestic animals. I believe that if done correctly, a piece of art can make the viewer see an animal’s spirit and personality.
I think art of all kinds should evoke emotion in the viewer, and above all else, I want my art to create joy in a world where there is so much angst and anger. I want my viewers to see my art and then see me and think, “if she can be successful, so can I.” I want my story and my art to motivate people to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
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