Katherine Nelson Artist Blog

New and Upcoming Projects, Exhibitions, Creative Process, Inspiration

My New Artist Movie Trailer

I am pleased to share my newest project, an iMovie trailer, pairing my years of drawing and photographic research about the Palouse along with a tiny hint of where I got my family farming roots.  I hope you enjoy the film!  © 2016 Katherine Nelson Art. All Rights Reserved.

This is my first iMovie project ever! It is exciting to me to now work with iMovie technology because in this short artist trailer I can bring together my years of drawing and photography research. My drawings are inspired by the agriculture of our American farmlands of the Palouse, the largest wheat growing region in the USA. I uploaded my drawings with my original photos of the Palouse region. Additional creative credits: My portrait was taken by Schierman Photography. Triple photo of Amun form taken by Bill Greenblatt Photography. The white fiberglass Amun sculpture form was designed by artist Dr.Reda Abdelrahman and I painted it with an original black and white design for the invitational exhibition: Amen: A Prayer for the World at the National Cathedral in Wash. D.C.. The black and white photo of the couple was taken by my father, David Nelson © 1960 and it is included in the movie as a tribute to my family farming heritage. All ART images and Field Photos © 2008-2016 Katherine Nelson Art. All rights reserved.

Katherine Nelson's September 14-16, 2015 Artist Workshop: Discovering the Dramatic Landscape on Beautiful Whidbey Island, Washington. ALL drawing levels welcome.

Join me for an exciting and inspiring THREE day drawing workshop. Develop a new direction in your drawings while exploring the dramatic, fluid, and textural world of charcoal AND graphite through the beautiful landscape on world famous Whidbey Island. All art levels are welcome to attend this workshop.  Whether you are just starting out in drawing or have been working in charcoal or another medium for some time, you will have the opportunity to grow artistically in the fascinating and forgiving medium of charcoal. Artist demos, discussions, plenty of drawing exploration, building strong compositions, and group critique time provided every day.   September 14-16, 2015. The workshop runs from 9am-4pm daily with a lunch on your own during break time. Tuition $395. A detailed description of objectives and the link for registration for my workshop can be found at The Pacific Northwest Art School.

Enjoy paradise on Whidbey Island on your free time after class. Grab your sketchbook, camera, and workshop friends to explore a bit on your own time.  Coupeville and surrounding areas offer world class accommodations, restaurants, galleries, land and sea activities. Camping also an option on this island. Sample some of the famed Penn Cove mussels. Land, sea, and inspiration! Bring a group!

Jurying for the Upcoming Art Saint Louis Exhibit "From Light to Dark" April 2015

From Light to Dark  April 18-May 21, 2015
FREE opening reception Saturday, April 18, 6-8 p.m.

Please join Art Saint Louis for our third exhibition of 2015, From Light to Dark, a juried group exhibit presented in the Art Saint Louis Gallery in downtown St. Louis. Art Saint Louis will host a free opening reception Saturday, April 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will remain on view through Thursday, May 21, 2014.  For this all media juried exhibition, we asked St. Louis regional artists (includes a 200-mile radius) to submit artworks that focus on the monochromatic—with artworks in black and white... and the grey between. All explorations & interpretations of the theme were invited and works in all styles, techniques and media were encouraged.  For this exhibit, 130 St. Louis regional artists submitted 239 artworks in all media for our Jurors' consideration from which they selected 58 works by 56 Missouri, Illinois and Indiana artists for the final show. Works selected for this show include paintings, printmaking, mixed media, photography, sculpture, video, and more.

Serving as Jurors for this exhibition are Katherine Nelson, nationally exhibited artist & educator based in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area. Katherine earned her B.S. in Art Education from Skidmore College in 1985 and M.A. from SUNY Albany in Drawing in 1990. With her 25-year focus on drawing iconic landscapes in charcoal, she has exhibited in numerous solo, invitational and juried exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Her works are collected privately and have been featured in TV commercials, ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover,” and a “Hub” short artist feature film; and David R. Hanlon, artist, author and Professor, St. Louis Community College Meramec, where he leads instruction in photography & photographic history. Hanlon has exhibited nationally and internationally for the past 30 years and his works are included in numerous museums & private collections throughout the country. His book, Illuminating Shadows: The Calotype in Nineteenth-Century America, was recently released by Carl Mautz Publishing.

Juror Statements:  From Light to Dark

"I thoroughly enjoyed jurying the exhibition From Light to Dark. I wish to thank Art Saint Louis for the honor and privilege to jury one of the gallery exhibitions and to work in collaboration with my co-juror, artist and author David Hanlon. I took great care in my consideration of the artworks from a large group of entries while developing a collaborative vision. Many talented artists submitted works within the exhibition’s guidelines which was to express themselves in black and white artworks through their use of light, dark, and the gray in between. The variety of artworks and media submitted for consideration covered a full of range of styles, subject matter, and thoughtful approaches to making art. We looked for artworks in a wide variety that collectively formed an interesting presentation because their interplay within the exhibition is, in itself, an artwork.

As we worked together in discussion, I leaned toward art which was evocative on multiple levels while the artist’s use of the medium was also technically strong. I searched for artistic compositions and expressions that revealed “the unseen” subject.  Uncovering the unseen occurs by allowing one’s unique artistic visual voice to push through barriers of observation to create an artwork that blends unique vision, emotional response, and a personal style, so that what results, is something new to the viewer. The unseen and uncovered image leaves me wanting to see more and learn about an artist and their work. Uncovering is about revealing both the familiar and the strange in a unique way.

I am a firm believer that artworks do not “need” color. Black, white, and gray are enough to express oneself on many levels. Eliminating color allows one to focus on different priorities. When color is absent from the image, the viewer is forced to look into another “realm of reality” blended with that unique artist’s creativity.  For me, art that is evocative is created by use of powerful composition in a medium which portrays a unique combination of some or all of the following: range of value, contrast, texture, rhythm, movement, and, of course, the artist’s own emotional expression of their subject.

Without light there is no form. Without dark there is nothing to reveal and uncover. The manner in which light to dark is creatively expressed has the potential to send a viewer deep into thought. Darkness enhances mystery and perhaps elicits dark emotions. Light emerges hopefully revealing positive emotions. Gray is the delicate dance between the two. The infinite ways to discover light in the darkness spurs the urge in the search and the multitude of creative responses. Without light and dark life is flat."       Katherine Nelson    


"It was certainly a privilege to be able to consider the fine group of submissions by artists exploring the graphic and emotional qualities of the monochromatic palette for the exhibition From Light to Dark. The boundaries of working without color hues allow for a concentration on the elements of design, the balance of forms, conflicting textures and/or the delicate variances of light. Those characteristics can be seen in the examples here, handled deftly in a variety of media. These visual components–along with an exploration of what dark and light implies in a psychological or metaphorical sense–gives this type of art great resonance and lasting power.

Having worked for a long period primarily with black-and-white imagery, I can attest to the fact that it is a tricky (and often unforgiving) medium to grapple with. The artists whose work is represented in this show have found an elevated understanding of these borders and materials, allowing them to go beyond the surface of the subject. Being able to work with Katherine Nelson in discussing and selecting pieces for this show enhanced this wonderful jurying experience. Even though we utilize different materials, our ideas of the vision and craft that constitute a successful piece are remarkably similar. Studying the work presented here also reinforced my long-held belief that the St. Louis region is home to many first-rate artists who explore the many dynamics and subtleties between both ends of the visible spectrum.”  David R. Hanlon

LINK to ART ST. LOUIS "From Light to Dark" Exhibition. 


Amen: A Prayer for the World Exhibition

I am delighted to announce my participation in the Caravan 2014!

I am honored to be one of the 48 artists invited to participate in Caravan's traveling international exhibition which seeks to build bridges of understanding between our creeds and cultures through art.  The exhibition highlights the work of 30 Egyptian artists and 18 Western artists from the USA and Europe.    

On Top of the World View from Steptoe Butte, WA, USA

My idea of being on "Top of the World" !   This photo taken of me shooting images from the 360 degree view up on Steptoe Butte in Washington, USA in 2013. 

After an exciting research photography tour to Washington State I am developing a new series of charcoal drawings of the Palouse, otherwise known as   "The Tuscany of the West".  I took over two thousand photos in short time to be my reference points for some amazing curving and dramatic landscapes.  The Palouse has been one of my fascinations for years as I have explored many ways to represent these beautiful lands in drawings.  I am interested in the multiple patterns, shapes, textures, lines, values, and forms found in agricultural lands. Nothing remains the same on these wheat fields as progressive change is captured in each moment of the life cycle of wheat from germination to final harvest in the course of one season. © 2014 Katherine NelsonArt.

Cakeway to the West with STL 250 Celebrating St. Louis' 250th Birthday

In January 2014 I responded to a "Call for Art" by the Regional Arts Commission to submit designs for STL250's Cakeway to the West, a public art celebration of St. Louis's 250th Birthday. The RAC committee selected four of my cake designs for the city celebration which are located at different landmarks.  These designs were inspired by my first impressions as a new resident artist of St. Louis.  All of the cake designs are painted onto a four foot fiberglass cake form.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © 2014 Katherine Nelson Art. 

All four of Katherine Nelson's Cakes ready for delivery from the "Cake Shop" studio space in downtown St. Louis, MO

Landscape Cake

 My "Landscape Cake" began as a black and white line and texture drawing which I first fashioned into a 3D maquette in order to scale and compose the line design so that the drawing wraps around the model. I designed this cake to be most like my charcoal drawings in keeping with the flowing landscape lines I frequently draw in charcoal.  The cake has agricultural patterns which move over undulating hills typical of the outskirts of St. Louis. The  confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are represented on the base of my cake.  The arch is on the horizon line, seen from the countryside, as  if a traveler approached the city from the outskirts. The spiral on the top of tier  and the wavy swirl pattern on the second tier represent our tornadoes. Landscape Cake is located at Pere Marquette Lodge, at Pere Marquette State Park.

Raven Cake

Raven Cake is inspired by the behavioral antics of ravens and the textures found in the city. The top tier depicts the inhabitants of our urban parks.  I have frequently drawn ravens in charcoal and continue to be fascinated with their profiles. I enjoy the bold impact of black and white with a touch of color in the design. I selected a Tiffany blue which I consider to be a color associated with celebrating life's monumental moments.  The Raven Cake is located at Jefferson Barracks State Historic Site South of St. Louis, Missouri.  The photo below taken at the "Cakeshop" workspace in downtown St. Louis depicts both Raven and Landscape cakes which are similar in color. A link to Jefferson Barracks State Historic Site is posted at the bottom of the page.

Lady Bug Cake

Lady Bug Cake is a very whimsical cake inspired by the smallest of creatures found in our city and my many visits to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The plant varieties, colors, and forms at the garden have inspired my drawings. Lady Bug Cake celebrates the joy of discovering a lady bug!   Lady Bug is sitting on a white spotted mushroom, which I admit, was inspired by it's reverse, which is a red mushroom with white spots.  I used a lot of black paint in my designs as the key color element to tie together the entire design and make a strong visual statement. Lady Bug Cake is located at the City of East St. Louis Municipal Building and the Offices of City of East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.

Cardinal Cake     

Cardinal Cake is inspired by the spirit of  St. Louis and cultural sports icon's influence. The "Cardinal Culture" is obvious throughout the entire city of St. Louis!  Cardinals, baseball, team spirit, and of course, the abundant cardinal birds I watch at my feeder inspired me to paint The Cardinal Cake © 2014. It is a "statement piece" about this city.  When I moved to St. Louis my first impressions of the city were influenced by the Cardinals team and their fan's spirit which makes an enormous impact on the St. Louis culture.  Photo credit: William Greenblatt/UPI.

Artist Katherine Nelson leans against "Cardinal Cake" at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri, USA  Photo: William Greenblatt/UPI.






Bluegrass CD Covers !

I was thrilled when singer songwriter Kevin Brown asked me to design "The County Primaries" a CD Cover for his first CD! The second CD Cover for Beloved Country was an image titled "Bird in the Mist" which is a panoramic drawing from my Palouse drawings series. 

"The Beloved Country" which is quite different from my first CD cover, "The County Primaries" pictured at the bottom of the page and published in 2010. The design layout for "The Beloved Country" is a three panel CD exhibiting the entire composition of my original drawing titled "Bird in the Mist" from the 2008 Palouse series.

"Bird in the Mist" © 2008 Katherine Nelson

I identify visually with place, and within that, the spirit or iconic quality of that particular place. There is a great regional pride in the images from The Palouse wheat country of Washington. The rising morning mist in early Spring on a rolling landscape and starkness of the earth were my inspiration for "Bird in the Mist" 2008.  I am happy to share a review below of Kevin's latest CD, "The Beloved Country" which is available at iTunes, CDBaby, and Bandcamp.


"The County Primaries" © 2010 Katherine Nelson


Willow Springs Issue 69 Released!

I am very excited to be a cover artist again for Willow Springs. Willow Springs, a literary journal featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and award winning author interviews is published twice yearly for Eastern Washington University. For the Winter 69 Issue, they chose Palouse Hillside Farm, a large charcoal and pastel image inspired by my first impressions of the great Palouse country! The entire image was wrapped around the front and back covers in reverse! 


Copies are available by going to their website or by picking one up at one of their bookstore retailers. Many thanks to Samuel Ligon, Editor and Tyler Evans, Managing Editor.




Madame TokTok Children's Drawing Workshop at Palais de Tokyo Museum, Paris, France

In March of 2010 I was delighted to create a drawing event for the Madame Tok Tok Art Education forum that captures the sensations and understanding of children residing in a global community.  I was invited to create a workshop for a cultural arts exchange by teaming up in a collaborative effort with Elke Robert, Coordinator for the Tokyo Arts Club and Tanguey Pelletier, Curator of Education, along with Marc Alizart, Curator at the Palais de Tokyo.  I presented new "Eurovillage" charcoal drawings and charcoal drawing techniques accompanied by a demonstration and video in an imaginative studio setting in Madame Tok Tok. This particular drawing workshop is one or two day "drawing event" concept which I wrote to teach concepts of working together : unity in diversity and collaborative creation.  Children are invited to participate in a group around a table of objects with the purpose of drawing collaboratively a EuroVillage in charcoal techniques.  The children interact together sharing their diverse views, drawing styles,  residential design concepts, as well as the creation of overall communal areas of their village.

 Students were encouraged to utilize some of the demonstrated drawing techniques and also invent their own within the exploratory processes of the charcoal medium.

The children drew in a delightful range of styles and experimented with a variety of the charcoal techniques. All created with enthusiastic energy, spontaneity, and in a variety of perspectives which resulted in many textures and values on the grey scale. Their invention was fascinating!  The warmth and creativity within the walls of the childrens' studio make this arts venue unique and very special to the Paris community!