Kathleen K. Batson is a transplanted Northerner who resides in Durham, North Carolina. She focused on visual and graphic arts training throughout high school and studied with well-known portrait painter Robert Maniscalco at that time. She graduated magna cum laude from Northland College in 1992 with a self-designed major in Environmental Economics and a Visual Arts minor. Kathleen has worked in a variety of mediums including hand-built clay, watercolor and assemblage/mixed media. She has taught private and group art classes for children and has also done commissioned mural work and portraiture. The birth of her son in 2004 inspired a renewed and solidified level of devotion to artistic expression and a return to rudimentary oil painting.

Kathleen's painting finds inspiration in the works of a wide range of artists including Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth and Odd Nerdrum. Her paintings often explore the human sense of place in the natural world and variations on the theme that the universally sacred is expressed as the mundane world. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States.

Painting Philosophy

Like most artists, I paint because I need to. I tend to experience the world in a visual way and work through the meaning of my own experiences in imagery as opposed to words. As a child I often experienced what I would call 'wordless days'. On these days, I experienced what I saw in the world as if it were a painting in a frame-something to be contemplated and which had meaning beyond merely existing. I still experience the world in this way, but much less often than I did as a child. My basic painting philosophy is directly tied to this experience and stems from a desire to capture those wordless moments. I don't always stick with straight reality but sometimes work to portray an image that represents something I have imagined. I always greatly appreciated Salvador Dali in his ability to realistically portray something so unreal-one of my favorite paintings being Sea-shade-dog. I am also influenced by the work of Vermeer, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, J.W. Waterhouse, Antonio Lopez-Garcia and Odd Nerdrum.

I like to lay several thin layers of paint over one another, increasing the oil in each layer in an attempt to achieve luminosity and depth. I also try to keep paintings loose, so that a viewer can see the brush strokes, as if they might fall apart at any moment and the process by which the image has been constructed is visible. I often like to leave various layers apparent on the sides of wrap around canvases so this process can be seen. I feel that leaving these layers visible is an acknowledgment of how far my painting is from being a true reproduction of anything real and that it is a construction of something new in it's own right. I am very drawn to strong contrast between dark and light, chiaroscuro. Strong shadows and sunlight playing together, especially when in motion, always strike me and draw me into that familiar wordless place. In part it is just the aesthetic of it and the impermanence of it, but deeper than that perhaps it represents something related to my life view itself- searching for balance and the calm peaceful place in which to reside in the midst of great variance between dark and light, cold and warmth, 'good' and 'bad'.

In my view, a painting well done doesn't need verbal explanation. While there may be infinite personal meaning for me in any given piece, the point is whether the viewer has a meaningful experience viewing it. Does it evoke anything? Does it draw you into a meaningful place? In the end that is my goal, to convey a wordless, transitory moment that I have experienced, whether in the real mundane world or my own fantastic imagination, so that others might also experience it because for me, these wordless transitory moments are meaningful and essential. For me they are the sacred harbors in life.