“The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.”  Pablo Picasso

I love this quote.  It applies to all walks of life.  I was told years ago that my love of Art is the gift I was given.  To teach is the gift I give back.  I like that.  It gives me comfort to think that I am doing exactly what I am “supposed” to be doing.  Meeting and being with people I love in this “business”, and having fun along the way is truly a bonus gift!

Attending the annual awards dinner and reception for the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA) in Kenosha, WI was a hi-light this month, and it was so much fun!  I was there to applaud the wonderful artists who carry on the tradition of totally transparent watercolor, our historic roots to my main medium of experimental water media.  This wonderful exhibition will be on view at the Kenosha Public Museum until August 4, 2024.


      Every place is an opportunity to paint! 

Back home in my garden in Marquette,  my favorite poppies have bloomed their short, vibrant lives, then gone again for another year.  An unexpected gift was that some wild ones even bloomed by my telephone pole!  So what’s an artist to do when she’s prematurely mourning their leaving?  Paint them!  Happy and colorful summer to all!   with hugs, Kathleen

The first time I saw the collage work of Carrie Burns Brown I was fascinated by the richness of color, depth of texture, and fresh, exciting compositions.  It was so very entertaining!  Carrie passed away in April but will always be one of my creative heroes.  Not only an excellent artist, such a “fun, fun” person to be with, but she was a stellar teacher.  I was inspired and taught by the best.  I carry the baton forward every time I get the opportunity to teach collage, by sharing the Carrie Burns-Brown paper-painting and embellishing start to each class.  Thank you, dear Carrie.

Also in April, the paint was flying while 10 artists painted roadside poles in the small, Florida community of Matlacha.  This is one of several communities devastated by Hurricane Ian and some colorful “frills” along side the continued clean up and infrastructure-construction was a fun community project.

Painting colorful floral and wild birds on poles around the streets of Pine Island Florida.



Back in Michigan now, my dear friend and web manager for decades, Carol Fitzgerald, and I had the rare opportunity to spend some FUN time together.  Here’s a blast of color from a perfect day at the Holland, Michigan Tulip Festival.  Happy spring to all!!  Kathleen

I LOVE the people I meet and work with in the Arts!  I had the pleasure of being an instructor at Kanuga Watermedia Workshops, in Montreat, North Carolina again this year.  And it was Wonderful!!  Old friends and new friends all connected under the creative, encouraging, growing umbrella of our watermedia world.  The arts can truly unite and we need that now more than ever.

This might be my shortest blog ever because I’m pretty consumed this time of year with getting ready to head back north to home #1 in Marquette, Michigan.  I’ll leave you with a final but good quote by Mary Oliver, “Instructions for living a life:  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.”  My version is: “Pay attention, be astonished and paint it!”

Creatively yours, Kathleen

Thank you to many of you for the very positive responses and sales from the latest newsletter!

The biggest Thank You goes to my web manager, Carol Fitzgerald, who does a fabulous job keeping my whole website updated and keeping the lovely newsletters coming and keeping me on task (not easy).  I think we’re going on 35 years now, from the beginning when she took classes to learn the complicated HTML language.  She’s amazing and I really could not do it all without her! (she is having a hard time writing this and feeling very puffed up … is it really 35 years!)

This month’s painting image is Contemplating Flight, a 22″ x 30″ watercolor.  This is a very recent painting which was accepted in the International Watercolor Exhibition (IWE) by the Watercolor Art Society of Houston (WASJ-H), TX, and won the lovely ET Kraycirik Memorial Award.  Then it sold before the exhibit even opened…doubly lovely!

The magazine publication business is interesting.  Golden Peak Media (GPM) is the publisher of Watercolor Artist, Artist Magazine, Acrylic Artist, ArtistsNewwork.com, and much more.  When I agree to write an article I also sign many release forms to give them full rights to publish all or parts of my article.  To my pleasant surprise, I’ll find the same article pop up in the different magazines over the years.  The latest, Deeper Meaning, is in the Winter 2024 Watercolor Artist magazine (pgs. 60-63).  Such an unexpected bonus!  Here is one of them.

Enjoy! Kathleen




Free Range Poppies

This year is off to a fast start!  Shortly after my arrival in Florida for the winter,  the online educational project of Artists Network, WATERCOLOR LIVE!, aired for a week.  I was one of the 20 demonstrating artists.  “Free Range Poppies II” is similar to the painting I demonstrated online and is available in my “Hot off the Easel” gallery.

Next was a trip to the lovely Big Arts and Culture Center in Sanibel for a friend’s painting exhibition.  It’s heartening to see a lot of progress happening in the recovery from Hurricane Ian, though it will still be years for many to put their lives back together.  The following weekend I participated in artists’ demonstrations to attract visitors to the recovering community of Matlacha.  It was a big success for reopening businesses, restaurants, and artists!

Now I’m on the plane returning to Florida after teaching and judging the annual international competition for the Missouri Watercolor Society (MOWS).  The entries were wonderful, the task of selecting the award winners daunting, and the artists in class were great!  It’s always a lot of fun to work with other artists who are as excited about the Watermedia world as I am!

Soon I’ll pack my bags for New York to judge the awards for the Annual American Watercolor Society (AWS) exhibition.  This is such an honor it’s hardly a “job” at all, yet the responsibility is, again ….. daunting.  Now it’s time to care for and spend time with a few of those I love … home sweet home.    Kathleen

No New Year’s Resolutions here! But I enter this new year with hopes, plans, projects and most important – gratitude!  I am so very appreciative of the many wonderful people in my life.  It reminds me of an African saying I learned, “If you want to travel fast, go alone.  If you want to travel far, go with others”.  I love this life-of-Art that I work in:  It’s a dream come true.  But I would not/could not have made it here alone.  It is the wonderful “others” I get to travel with in my life that have made it possible for me to go far.

Because “others” have recommended me, my first new experience of the year will be as a participant in the online educational program, WATERCOLOR LIVE!   http://watercolorlive.com/    On January 24-26 I will be one of 30 artists giving demonstrations of our painting methods and techniques.

If you have ever wondered how I approach my paintings like “Sunset Poppies” you can find on my website here .  My 50-hour process is simplified and condensed to one hour in this online workshop seminar.  I’ve painted my favorite flowers….poppies!   No surprise there!

Happy New Year to you all!  Kathleen

I love this quote from Kurt Vonnegut, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.  So, do it.”

Whether working on the “art” or making memories during this special season, creating gifts, or practicing our usual usual art forms, let’s just get out there and do it because … it’s all good.  We’re growing our souls!

With little time to reminisce or assimilate my African Safari inspiration into my paintings, I’m back in teaching mode through the online program, WatercolorLive! (http://watercolorlive.com/).  I am one of 25 artists to be featured next January 23-26, 2024.  I’ve just finished taping the raw footage for a one hour demo of a start-t0-finish painting “Free Range Poppies”.  If you are interested in signing up for any one of their offerings over the 4 days and use the code CONOVER they promise a 10% discount.  If you do sign up/sign in, I’d love to know what you think.  I know I’ll be there watching and thoroughly enjoying 24 of those 25 artists!   Maybe I’ll see you online.

Happy Holidays, Kathleen

Oh my goodness, the Tanzanian safari and Zanzibar was a trip of a lifetime, for me.  From our Jeep, which the animals are totally indifferent to, we saw 25 different animals and uncountable numbers of elephants, wildebeests, zebra, giraffe, Cape buffalo and antelope in the migrating herds (some so close we could almost touch them).

Colors! There is unexpected beauty in the landscape even at the end of the dry season.  Colors so vivid in common birds (starlings) they were a “carnival” in flight.  And the most intense color is the clothing and art work of the beautiful people.

In the vastness between villages are goats, or maybe a few cows, herded by their very young shepherds, but always a male’s job  Like our Native Americans the women are the water-keepers so containers of water or stick for hut building is often seen on the traveling women, again in gorgeous fabric of color, pattern and tradition.

In contrast to this vast land, and a quick flight later, was the bustling Indian Ocean shore of the island of Zanzibar with a congestion of ships, boats, and rafts of every size and shape.

How to incorporate all or any of this in my artwork?  But the challenge is what I love!  To be continued, my friends…..Kathleen


As we dip into autumn I hope everyone is well and will seek some of the gorgeous show of color nature provides us, front row seats, free of  charge!  We, in northern Michigan, will be at peak season soon and I will miss it …. I’ll be in Tanzania, painting on a safari!  I’m so excited I can hardly stay calm and focused enough to get my bags packed.  I leave tomorrow at 5:00 a.m.

I have one image and wonderful news to share:  I am thrilled to have received the XIX Malcolm B Bird Award at the National Watercolor Society (NWS) International Exhibition 2023 for “Storm Warning”.  It will come back from the exhibit in November and then will be available for sale on my Website.

Award Winner

Please take care, my friends.  That Covid bug is rearing its ugly head again.  I have my N95 masks and was informed they will be mandatory in most places we travel.  Happy painting!   Kathleen










A fellow artist shared with me her quote, “There is no comfort in a growth zone and no growth in a comfort zone.”  Taking this to heart I’m trying something new.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a workshop, so I signed up for not one, but two, in acrylic painting En Plein Air (French term for painting outdoors on location).  The goal is to stretch my skills beyond watercolor, which is oh-so-comfortable for me!

First, was a Plein Air class in acrylic by Mark Mehaffey (excellent artist as well as teacher).  Was this out of my watercolor comfort zone?  Yes!  Feeling uncomfortable?  Definitely! Did I bomb?  of course, at first.  Did I learn anything?  I must have because by day 3 I was starting to get the hang of it.  But my ultimate hope is to find my more distinct “voice” in acrylic landscapes and that takes time at the easel and miles on the brush.

Next month is class #2, “The Tonalists” at the lovely Franciscan Center in Lowell, MI.  This class is taught by three painters and I’ll have instruction from each.  They are primarily oil painters but I’m bringing acrylics and my watercolors.  (I don’t want to go crazy with this “getting-out-of-my-comfort-zone-thing!  I’m happy taking little steps into “uncomfortable”).  Besides, I don’t think my small, home studio can hold one more tube of paint.

So, let’s give a salute to the beauty of mid-summer and capture a moment in time, using whatever materials you’re comfortable with (hah! or not.)  And don’t forget to have fun!  Kathleen

Shadow Play - acrylic on Gatorboard

Shadow Play, and other acrylics will soon be available on my website in the “Hot off the Easel” Gallery!