It's All in the Little Things

It's All in the Little Things


It's All in the Little Things

What creates value in an artwork? Is it the artist's name, simply prestige attached to a work of art? Or is it a combination of talent, technique, time, and subject matter that creates value in a piece? Large works often get the lion's share of attention in shows, but we asked our artists to share their thoughts on the magic of small works in the following interview.

Above: "Hay Bales" by Kathy Hisel, "Poppies" by Cathie Thompson, and "Eggplant" by Elizabeth Corbett


Pieces: "Evening Colors"

Diane's works are beautiful compositions often filled with the colors of the Kansas sky. Her paintings are so vivid and gorgeous that it's hard to see that they're actually done on silk. Silk painting is an incredibly challenging medium. 

Fundamentally, the process is similar to watercolor where once color is added it cannot be removed. Unlike watercolor, silk absorbs color more readily and is much harder to control. Achieving realism in silk painting takes years of practice and patience. Artist Diane Lawrence has achieved a mastery of the medium as her 2016 Best of Show in the International Silk Painters Exhibition proves.


Pieces: "Acorns"

Kathy got started painting when she was young. Her father was a draftsman who designed houses, and he often let Kathy draw trees with him right at his drafting table! 

"I feel so blessed to have a life of a loving, supportive family and the opportunity to paint as much as I do. I never get bored. The perpetual novelty of paint is a gift from God to me."   

As for her process, Kathy always begins with photo references. "I make a plan of action, then with a watery wash, I block in the dark areas and walk away. I come back when the wash is dry. That is when I start to get excited about which parts will stay and which I will change. I can lose hours at a time doing this."


Piece: "Iceland Poppies"

"When I am painting, time flies by and all my stress disappears. I started painting late in life, age 62, with Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Painting classes. I still paint with them every Wednesday morning. Most of my paintings are animals and landscapes, often from places I've visited."


Piece: "Sunset"

"The beginning stages of a painting are my favorites, I really enjoy how anything is possible at that point."

Nancy Whitaker is always drawn to the colors in a Kansas sky. Her reflections of the colors in the water are some of our favorites! You can tell she really enjoys the magic of sunrise and sunset!


Piece: "Colors of Nature III"

"Original art breathes life into an environment. It is like having a friend who continually speaks to you in ways that you understand and can connect with." 

Dave often gets the question: 'What is going on with the edges?' The answer is that these paintings are actually done on wood block. The artist purposely leaves some of the edges unpainted to emphasize the texture in an extremely unique (and eye catching) way.


Piece: "Leopard"

Why is collecting art important? "It preserves a visual history of the world as we know it in any given time and it touches the soul like nothing else can."

In one sentence, Deb describes her work as a "Realistic interpretation Celebrating Vocation in the rural Great Plains."

 Deb made her living as a pastor for over 20 years, and she found her second passion capturing the beauty of life in each of her works.


Piece: "Winter in the Park"

"I have always wanted to be, or considered myself to be, an artist. It's as natural as breathing."  

Barbara is an inspiration to the Topeka art community. She is an absolute whirlwind of creativity. Barbara defines her work as "Striving," striving to find all the opportunities for herself and other artists, pushing herself to make the most of her career while giving back to her community. Barbara certainly stays busy painting, publishing books of her artwork, running her own studio and always sharing her talents with many. In 2016, Washburn University awarded Barbara an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.


Piece: "Let's Check it Out"  

"All chicks are curious but can be attracted by different things. I love painting animals because they forever fascinate me with their natural innocence and beauty."

Amy has lived and worked in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, and Geneva before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute and worked over ten years in advertising studios in New York City before pursuing her passion in fine arts painting for over twenty years.

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