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Artist's Statement- Kathy Shute, Environmental Artist
The American West has always held a sense of mystique for me, as I imagine it may hold for some of you. A vagabond at heart, I have enjoyed many adventures with my husband over the years while living in California. On most treks we have set out to discover nature that is off the beaten path by hiking throughout the West. Over time I have been educated, entertained and amazed by our environment in ways I couldn't have imagined. This experience has shaped my art and my vision for its purpose.
My Vision- To create a unique collection of fine art that brings viewers on an artistic journey, celebrating the adventurer in all of us. On a deeper level, to serve in an Environmental Artist capacity, encouraging holistically integrated, sustainable living for us and our environment, which I believe are always connected.
My Mission- Is to create high quality, detailed works of art that support my our world and my vision, through the Western Trails Fine Art Collection.
I have probably been an artist since I was born. I see the world in vivid color and through an almost surreal perspective. Perhaps it's the optimist in me that sees life as a canvas to be painted in whatever way my adventurous nature inspires me. In any case it has been my passion for quite some time to create a special fine art collection, called Western Trails. What I didn't know when I began, was how profoundly my journey would heighten my respect for nature and teach me about the inter-connectedness we have to it. Today I think of myself as an Environmental Artist and advocate for holistic living.
My Artistic Roots-
My earliest life experiences began in Southern California, and laid the foundation for my artistic eye. At the age of four I was brought to the deserts by my father and grandparents, who loved to go there to see cactus blooms. One of my first memories was of my dad holding a big desert tortoise up for me to see, and he often brought me along on his many hikes.
At the same time, my family brought me to Disneyland, where I was fascinated by the 'disney-esque' paintings that decorated the park and brightened my world. These trips continued throughout my upbringing, always fueling the growing artist. If that wasn't enough inspiration, my maternal grandfather was a talented portrait artist.
My Artistic Training-
My formal training began in the fine arts, specifically in oil painting, where I attended classes given by a local, well-known artist. Over several years I created still-life oil paintings, which today hang in antique reproduction period homes in the area.
After gaining this foundation, I moved into the graphic arts. My father was a sign painter and artist, and I apprenticed under him, as well as other local sign designers. I then founded my own custom sign company in Western Massachusetts. There I served as owner, graphic designer and artist. My signs were often hand painted and used techniques such as carving, sandblasting, antiquing, marbling and gold leafing. I was also twice published on the cover of a trade magazine.
After the sudden death of my father I closed the sign shop and channeled my artistic pursuits into the world of merchandising displays. I co-founded a national company that sold bakery and other display products for retailers such as Staples, Wonder Bread, and Toys'R'Us.
In 1997 I decided to travel back to my roots in southern California. My husband and I drove cross-country, choosing to live in Orange County where we still live today. With an abundance of business options I took a break from art, and focused in the workforce management industry. During this time I rounded out my artistic education by studying at the Interior Design Institute in Newport Beach, CA, where I earned an Interior Design Certificate.
What's Up Today?
I am thrilled to be bringing my life's passion into reality, with the Western Trails Fine Art Collection of original oil paintings on canvas. I continue my travels and hiking, which always inspires me and provides me with new subjects to paint!
Additionally, I recently obtained a certificate in Holistic Life Coaching, as a way to learn more about my passion for 'living green from the inside out', which also supports my artistic vision.
Thanks for checking out my portfolio, and I hope it inspires you on your own life journey!