Kathy Crowther

At One with Nature

While tennis, golfing and volunteering at Habitat for Humanity are all included on artist Kathy Crowther's agenda, she makes sure she is painting at least 40 hours a week. It may sound like work, but to her, it is something she can't wait to do everyday. Awaking at 5:00 a.m., Kathy begins each day with a cup of coffee and a paintbrush.

Displaying a love of art from a young age, when she loved looking at book illustrations, Kathy's official art education began at the age of 10 at the Cleveland Art Museum. Her mother would drive her into the city from Chagrin Falls because her not only was her talent evident, but also her passion for art was hungry. As she begin to bring home her art projects, her mother would proudly hang many of them throughout their home. As family friends would visit and see the drawings, they would ask Kathy to draw something for their homes, too. So, basically, Kathy was receiving commissions with only a decade of life behind her. With continued inspiration for this innate talent, Kathy's formal art training continued through high school, then onto West Virginia University, Oglebay Institute, and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Married at the age of 20, Kathy and her husband set their sites to live off the land. They lived on a farm in West Virginia, planting and growing all their own food. It was there that Kathy became inspired by Andrew Wyeth, an American contemporary realist painter, and began to paint farm machinery in sepia tones. "Wyeth initially influenced my approach, igniting my passion to capture nature's emotion with paper and paint. Once, I received a request for a painting of nature, and as I painted, I became aware of my surroundings and the amazing details of color, shape, and texture that encircles us all," Kathy described. "Today, it is nature's bounty and all it's wonders that are the soul of my work."

Kathy's work reflects her love for nature in every glorious detail. Known for her unique style rendering all things nature-from land and sea, both plants and creatures, her paintings are instantly recognizable. "Nature always intrigues me because everything has a unique texture and design. Everything from nature-from Gingko leaves to sea horses-they are all just beautiful gifts," Kathy explained, as we sat in her home on Dawtaw Island surrounded by the beauty of the coastal Lowcountry.

Her creative formula combines her love of nature-and its exacting details-with a fascination for geometric designs. Careful not to miss any details, Kathy joked that a psychologist, who was viewing her work, once commented, "You sure are obsessive, but you channel it well."
The most important thing is that Kathy has fun with her passion. That is evident through her love of brilliant color and vivid color combinations. Her intention is to make her paintings joyful and exciting. She loves it when people say her paintings make them happy, and feels that painting is a celebration of life and a discovery of the beauty that surrounds us all. To add fun and a sense of adventure, Kathy sometimes paints hidden objects into her works. "I think this gives additional pleasure in viewing the artwork-an element of surprise," she said.

Kathy Crowther has come along way since being a newlywed on the farm. In fact, I accused her of being a former hippie. She smiled, not verifying one way or the other. But, I know one thing for sure: Kathy has always marched to the beat of her own drum, allowing her talent to reign. This is a story of a woman who followed her heart and honored her passion, and in doing so, she has an inner peace and still looks forward to each new day. In closing, she left me with this, "I have to paint. It's something that's in my soul. It's like eating popcorn, I just can't stop," she laughed. I wonder what the psychologist would think of that?

Married for:
42 years
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio 
Artist of: the endangered white rhino poster for The Cleveland Zoo
Largest crop as a newlywed: 7 acres of grapes
While on Vacation: she takes her paints along
Medium of choice: gouache and ink
Find her art: Bay St. Gallery, Beaufort and Mary Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC
Stop by and meet Kathy: April 27-28 at the Honey Horn Art Show on Hilton Head Island.