Kathy Miller is a watercolor artist who lives in Northfield, Minnesota, and also spends part of the year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Wecota, a small town in South Dakota. Her paintings express the beauty she sees in the world around her.
The path to becoming a painter has taken her around full circle. It began in her childhood home of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, where she developed a passion for art at a very young age. "I have vivid memories of spending hour upon hour in my very own drawing studio - a backyard tent made from blankets draped over the clothesline, with a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign pinned to the opening." Years passed and once again she finds herself back in her very own art studio, this time in her home in Northfield, Minnesota.
Much happened in that interim between those elementary school days when she was so passionate about art and now in the retirement stage of her life. Her formal art education included two years of art, primarily drawing, while attending Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville (1963-1965), some coursework in color and design at the University of Minnesota while working on a major in Related Arts /Interior Decorating (1965-1968), and one drawing class at the University of River Falls, Wisconsin (1969).
At this point Kathy's life took her on a completely different course. It contained many smooth and easy going parts, some difficult portions with unexpected turns and detours, and even a few roadblocks. Along the way she experienced the joy of marriage, the blessings of two children and five grandchildren, the satisfaction of earning a bachelors degree in teaching (Mankato State College, 1985) and a Masters degree in education (St. Mary's University, 1994), and the rewards of a twenty year career in elementary teaching (Norwood/Young America, 1985-1992; and Lakeville, 1992-2007). But she also experienced the tremendous sorrow and pain of losing a spouse of nearly thirty years.
One constant companion along the journey has been her passion for art and the need to express herself creatively. It carved its way into every aspect of her life; her home and classroom became her studios, and in them she was able to experience great joy, as well as great comfort.
As she neared retirement she often found herself saying, "I think there's a painting in me somewhere," so in February of 2006, she decided it was time to take her first watercolor class. It was taught by Charlotte Laxen at the Cornucopia Art Center in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and was the beginning of Kathy's ongoing love affair with this fabulous medium. Since that time she has taken several classes taught by other watercolorists: Jeanne Larson (Grand Marais Art Center), Mary Axelson (Bloomington Art Center), Pomona Hallenbeck (Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico); Laurie Johnson (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Brigit Austin (Bloomington Art Center), and Andy Evensen (Passion for Art, Waseca).
In June of 2009, Kathy took a weeklong watercolor workshop in Giverny, France, with Charlotte Laxen once again as the instructor. This quaint Normandy town is the site of Monet's Garden. The days there were filled with en plein air painting of the beautiful countryside, and late afternoons were spent painting the garden's breathtaking roses and the Japanese garden with its lily-filled pond. "Being there where Claude Monet painted and experiencing the light as he did has had a profound effect on me. I am certain it will forever alter how I see and paint the world around me." Kathy feels she has painted with the greater insight, visual perception and emotional sensitivity as a result of this life-changing experience.
Over the past years, Kathy has come to consider painting her job, whether painting in her own studio or teaching watercolor classes to adult learners. It is one she looks forward to everyday, time having no meaning for her once she enters her studio. "All my effort has gone into learning about the medium, and developing a relationship with the paint, paper and paintbrushes. I have now come to realize being an artist is an integral part of me; I am filled with an inner need to convey to others the message of the absolute magnificence of this world we all share."