Artist of the Month - September 2014

Written by Jill Jones and Sharilyn Hunke
Artist Spotlight Press Enterprise Nov 2012

Kathleen Pickett is a watercolor artist who has been deeply attached to her favorite subjects since the age of 8 when she began to draw. Her colorful palette and the content of her paintings are directly connected to her early life in the country when the colors and forms of nature left a lifelong impression upon her.

Even as she raised two children in the 1960s she continued to draw. It was when she moved to Pensacola in the 1970s that she finally had the opportunity to take formal classes in watercolor. She quickly became skilled in the medium and found her niche in watercolor painting.

Her work was so impressive to the staff at the workshop she attended that she was invited to teach the class. This started Pickett on a long art instruction career that includes teaching watercolor classes and workshops in several states including California, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. She has been teaching watercolor painting since 1978.

“A wonderful teacher — after she instructs you on her ideas and perspective on a painting, you can’t believe the outcome of your paintings. She brings the best out of you. That is what makes a great teacher,” states Patricia Sprint, who was one of Pickett’s first students.

When Pickett began drawing as a child she loved to draw people, trees and barns. Those are the same subjects she continues to love to paint. In honor of her partial Native American heritage she also enjoys painting Native Americans. She paints her subjects in a realistic style on a background of creative textures using bold colors.

“I feel that I have been blessed from God for this talent of painting. It seems to come naturally for me. The exciting part of painting is the process along the way.

“You never know what the paper, paint and water will do. It is like opening a gift each time you finish a painting. And if only an inch of your painting did what you wanted it to, you have a winner. We have to fail to learn, that’s life, and using paint makes it more colorful and fun,” states Pickett.

To round out her continuing education Pickett has taken watercolor classes from such notable artists as Brenda Swenson, Chris Van Winkle, Skip Lawrence and Tony Couch, just to name a few. Pickett is an active member of the regional arts community. She has exhibited in competitions and won many awards. She still teaches watercolor classes and makes art in her retirement years.

Last November, Pickett held a solo show at the local library entitled “My Osage Family.” The subject matter included her mother and cousins and others of the Osage tribe in their full regalia. She plans to repeat the experience this November when her sister will join her to present a discussion about the tribe at the exhibit.

To expand her activities, Pickett is a founding member and trustee of the newly formed Menifee Art Council. She serves as co-chair for the visual arts and assisted in the opening of gallery space at the Kay Ceniceros Center. She also helped create a new Summer Art Institute for children in the community. The pilot class in June included participation by 75 children, with plans to include about 700 students in the next year.

“I have known and studied with Kathy since she first moved to Sun City. She is an excellent teacher, interested in teaching you the basic skills you need rather than just having you copy what she has done. Her imagination and her knowledge of all phases of artwork are unlimited. She is also a kind and gentle person as well as teacher. I feel myself very fortunate to be listed among her many friends,” states student Jan Callis.

Pickett’s love of art and enthusiasm for her students has kept her busy and helped advance the arts and culture of her local community as well as connecting it to the larger arts community of the region.
(Note: we published this story until we find her AOTM write-up)