Artist Barbara Waterman-Peters has been a monumental influence to Topeka's artistic community. As founder of studio 831 in NOTO, Barbara maintains and runs a studio used by many Topeka artists.
Barbara Waterman-Peters was born in Topeka. She received her BFA from Washburn University, her MFA from Kansas State University, taught at both institutions, and has been active in many arts organizations. Her award-winning work has been shown internationally, is in museum, corporate, and private collections, and is represented by four galleries, including Southwind Gallery. In 2003 she was awarded a Certificate for Outstanding Contributions by the State of Kansas.
Naomi is one of Topeka's finest watercolor painters. She began her artistic career not with watercolors, but with intricate wood carvings of waterfowl. Each bird was sculpted down to the feather, then painted with vivid colors. Her lifelike birds are still in collections across the country, but over the years she has switched to creating exquisite watercolors.
This piece her, titled "Prairie Gay Feather" after the flower, is a wonderful example of her subtle but gorgeous style. The colors are light, and the gentle sky hints at a prairie breeze. It's a gorgeous addition to our Topeka showcase, and we're happy to represent Naomi and her work.
Artist Diane Lawrence is another of Topeka's talented watercolorists, but she also works in another very special medium. This piece, titled "Shifting Color," is a great example of the extreme vibrancy found in dyed silk. Silk painting is a difficult media to master, but Diane Lawrence has spent years learning how to recreate the colors of the world on silk.
Originally from St. Louis, Diane graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and taught in the Independence, Missouri public school district. She moved to Kansas in 1975. She is a member of the Kansas Watercolor Society and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society.
Hi Stockwell is another local favorite. Hi began his career not in art but in teaching. Once he retired, he found himself encouraged by several Topeka artists, including Barbara Waterman-Peters, to begin exploring the world in paint.
Barbara taught Hi how to create an underpainting first in monochrome, saving the colors for later. This lends his work a heightened realism. Hi has done paintings of landscapes, but has a few series of both birds and flowers. Over the last decade, Hi has dedicated himself to his art. His piece "Prickly Pear," is the chosen work for our "Top City" showcase.
In a remarkably short period of time, Filipino-American Pat Alhas emerged as one of Kansas' top realist artists. Though his work only hints at photographic realism, his art is more focused on translating reality into a detailed painted environment. A photograph tends to flatten an image, reducing the relationships between colors and values, and limiting the overall tone of a scene. But with a sensitive eye, Pat notices the degrees between values and the range of hues that cameras often miss, highlighting a deeper reality in paint. This breathes life into his paintings, which is why works like this piece, "The Last Light," seem so vibrant.