Today we'll look at the work of Ohio artist Katherine Thomas. Her graphite, pen & ink and colored pencil drawings are wonderfully rich in both texture and design, and deeply personal in meaning. Her work often has strong metaphorical content that can cause quite a pull on our own emotions.
Here are two of Katherine Thomas's favorite pieces from 2013:
Chosen Paths graphite 14" x 11" 2013
I had a photo that my brother took in India, of some women in the marketplace, and I was inspired by the clothing they wore. I was trying to decide how I might draw them, but I couldn't come up with an idea. I was driving home from my Zumba class on a rainy misty evening, and turned onto a small twisty road through the woods by accident. I wasn't sure where the road was going to come out, and it was so dark, I felt a little bit lost, but also a little bit daring and free. The trees were hanging over the road and I couldn't see around the bend ahead of me... and suddenly I realized that it was a metaphor of my whole life, right there on that road. So I came home and turned that into a drawing, using the women's clothing from India that I liked, but putting my own face on it.
I've had so many comments on that drawing since then. Everybody who looks at it sees a different story. That's what makes art fun, when people interpret my work in their own way, and it means something special to them.
Souvenirs colored pencil 24" x 18" 2013
This is a favorite because it represents a milestone for me. I used a photo of an abandoned house in downtown Cincinnati. But I removed it from its surroundings, and added a few items in the windows. This piece evolved differently from most of my colored pencil pieces, because I didn't have a rough draft planned out beyond what I wanted the house to look like. I wanted to show that it was beautiful even though it had grown old and been neglected. I also needed to show that every place and every being can be useful in some way. The nest in the window is there for the bird to come home to.
I didn't think people would like this drawing, and I was embarrassed to enter it in the local colored pencil show, alongside all the other artists' very realistic, traditional artwork. But to my surprise, I was awarded an honorable mention for it! My first award at an art show! So now it's my favorite piece, because it reminds me that I have to follow my own inner voice, and not try to make art like everybody else, and I can let my imagination take me where it will, and the resulting art will come out better than if I had contrived every little detail beforehand.