About Kathryn Beals
I grew up in a small fishing village on the northwest coast of British Columbia. I have been painting since before I can remember. I am a self-taught artist with no formal training. I've been selling my work professionally since I was thirteen, and painting full-time since 2005.
My landscape style has been influenced by the many beautiful places I have lived in the Canadian north, my former career in forestry, and dozens of backcountry trips in the mountains with my husband Travis. We have backpacked sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, the High Sierras, the West Coast Trail and areas of Northern Canada. We also love snow camping. These trips are at the heart of my paintings. Click to see the backpacking photo galleries:
I am traditionally left-handed, but I have learned to paint with both hands. I attribute the color and movement in landscapes to my synesthesia and intense migraine auras. These conditions have shaped the way I see the world and enhanced my artistic development. Although I didn't realize it for many years, my surreal skies are very similar in color and shape to my own migraine aura (painted on the left). I have channeled some of the fear and energy of these experiences into my work.
Many of my works are commissioned portraits of animals and people. I love the challenge of translating others’ memories into art. My first commission was to draw a pair of old work boots as a retirement gift for a construction worker. Since then, I have painted dogs, horses, people, houses, cars, lizards, fish and even dinosaurs. Since I have no formal art training, these commissions have been invaluable in developing my technical skill and expanding my comfort zone.
I enjoy showing my works in progress and time lapse videos of my paintings on my art technique blog. Like all self-taught artists, I learned to paint by trial and error. As a kid, I painted practice paintings on cardboard, and bought one tube of paint at a time with my babysitting money. I hope that my advice will encourage beginner artists to try painting. My own experiences with this learning process have been very rewarding.