Artist Kathryn Stotler captures the beauty and intensity of the ocean with her loose, energetic painting style. Visit her website to see more.
I moved to the far northern California coast thirty years ago with my husband and young son and my horizons wide open. It was here that I began to paint, and I have never looked back.
I began painting plein air seascapes with a close friend and mentor roughly ten years ago. Early on, I realized that I love to experiment and push the scenes in freer and looser ways than traditional plein air dictates. I enjoy pushing paint around on the paper or canvas and mixing my own colors.
Muddy coastal colors are my favorites. I love the shapes and lines of grasses, rocks, and sand and I want to capture the essence of the shoreline and its unique components. The journey toward abstraction began as I painted to capture the influence of air, erosion, the power and elusiveness of the ocean.
Along the way I discovered that a paintbrush does not work for me. I’ve abandoned all but some chosen favorites for everything else that will hold and spread paint including my hands.
An essential part of my process is to draw into my paintings before, during and after the painting process itself. I liken it to writing notes. Using pencils, pastels, paint sticks and pointy objects, I record my experience of each place.
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I often paint from memory and I do use photos, taken by me and often not great as far as photos go. I am also a big fan of sketching.
Each of these paintings has its own narrative. Sometimes there is a habitat. Sometimes there is too much fog and I am lost. And sometimes the water is about to crash down on whatever is in its way.
I don’t, however, paint with these intentions; it is left to viewer to discover their story.
My goal as an artist is to continually push my own boundaries with painting and mixed media. I find the qualities of acrylics, graphite and oil sticks quite satisfying to explore with.
To that end, I maintain a rigorous painting practice which includes professional development and wild experimentation. Although my studio is a private place, I am always happy to receive the occasional visitor.
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