Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Feature: Kathleen Alexander

Hi Everyone,
"Gifts" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
It's Friday!!!  Today is another fabulous feature with and extraordinary artist, Kathleen Alexander.  Her work is vibrant and gorgeous!!!  Take a look for yourself.

To see more of her work visit her blog and website.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I started painting in watercolor in high school, but had no idea what I was doing as far as materials. I had a Prang paintset and slick bond paper of some sort, then moved up to one of those horrible spiral bound watercolor pads that absorb the paint on contact. It’s a wonder I didn’t give up!
I didn’t learn about artist’s materials until I took a general ed. art class as a graduation requirement in college. After I was married, working full time, and raising a nine month old, I started taking a watercolor class at night at the local community college. I was fortunate to have a great instructor, James Torlakson, who encouraged me. Many years have passed, (my daughter is 22 now), and I show/sell my art in art festivals, am represented by a gallery in Maui, have exhibited my artwork in national and international exhibitions, and have had my artwork published in Watercolor Artist and American Artist magazines.

Where were you born?

San Francisco, California
"Koi Pond" diptych original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Three years ago we sold everything so that we could have the freedom to live in Maui half the year—so Maui : )   I live in California for the other half, and that’s great too.

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Tropical flowers—for years I would take short (5-day) trips to Hawaii and then try to keep that feeling alive by painting tropical flowers when I came back to California. I don’t know what my excuse is now, but I’m still in love with them—so much color!

Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

I do a lot of underpainting to establish the shadow shapes and structure of the painting. Then I glaze over with the local color. I also like to create depth by making items in the background slightly out of focus.
"Abundance" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Cobalt Blue, Aureolin, Perm. Rose, Quin. Gold., Indigo, New Gamboge, Quin. Magenta, Perm. Sap Green, Winsor Violet and I have a whole new list of Daniel Smith Reds

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Mark Adams. I love the simplicity of his paintings and his smooth washes. I wish I’d met him.
My biggest inspiration is my friend and fellow watercolor artist, Terri Hill. She has been battling brain cancer for a few years, and still inspires me to paint more, market more, & try harder.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

Raising my kids to be wonderful people, staying married, and still being in love with my husband.
"Orchid" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexander
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I’d like to write a watercolor book.
I’d like to travel to Europe and Asia.
I’d like to learn to paint in oils (really well).
I’d like my art sales to quadruple (I guess that means I want the economy to get better!)
I’d like to have the time to be creative without the pressure of deadlines or commitments.

 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Don’t worry about where you fit in, just do what you love.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Keep good tax records, unfortunately!
"Hibiscus" original watercolor by Kathleen Alexaner

Chocolate or vanilla?

Your dream vacation spot?
A Greek island with ancient ruins

Book or movie?
Audiobook (then I can paint at the same time)

Favorite movie?
Just one?
The Godfather, The Matrix, or Shakespeare in Love

Romance or comedy?

Favorite dessert?
Rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream on the side

Night owl or morning person?
Morning person thanks to coffee


  1. I thoroughly enjoy these interviews, it's a great way to know other artists. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

  2. Gosh - those flowers look almost touchable! Amazing! :0)

  3. Splendid interview, Carrie. Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family.

  4. Wonderful interview! Amazing paintings here!!! Thank you for sharing Kathleen with us, Carrie!

  5. Oh my goodness! Thank you for sharing this artist's work and what a great interview. :)

  6. I had the fortune to study with her for a couple of workshops in 2009 and 2010, and it helped me tremendously -- she is a great teacher and a very generous person, and has a childlike joy when she paints or talks about painting... I love her work so much!