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They Give Us Hope

4/18/18

Shea Stanfield
“Horses change our lives.  They give young people confidence and provide peace to troubled souls.  They give us all hope,” -Toni Robinson.

Local artist Kathy E. Walker can absolutely relate to the power of the horse in her life and in the lives of her clients.  Born in Ohio, her family moved to Phoenix when she was six.  As a young child Kathy had health issues that kept her bed ridden for months at a time.  Her mom made sure Kathy had plenty of drawing supplies and tablets of paper and her favorite subject was drawing horses. 

Upon arriving in Phoenix, hoping Kathy’s health would improve, the family settled in the West Valley where Kathy attended school at West Phoenix High School.  Kathy credits her high school art teacher, Mrs. Moser, for enhancing her art skills and mentoring her into the world of the arts.

During Kathy’s time in high school she took her first painting classes with horses being her prime subject.  She remembers, “borrowing my dad’s pickup truck and taking my paintings to the art shows in the malls around the Valley.” 

Kathy sold enough of her paintings during those years to help with the financing of her education to Northern Arizona University where she majored in commercial art.  After college, Kathy moved to Denver, Colo. to start her career in graphics and web design and opened her own design studio working with major corporations.  During the 35 years in Colorado Kathy also maintained her passion for painting and was represented by four different galleries.

While in Denver she and her daughter took up riding horses.  Her daughter favored English style, while Kathy preferred Western. 

“Working on the ground training with my yearling filly was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life,” Kathy remembers.  “I don’t know who learned more, my filly or me!” 

This experience offered an opportunity for Kathy to tune into the communication styles of the horses, a roll of the eye, flick of an ear, the toss of the head, all were clues to the thoughts and feeling of her charges.  Kathy feels this experience put a deeper authenticity in her work, from that point on.

Unfortunately, a knee injury made it difficult to remain in Denver where negotiating the ice and snow could be quite hazardous. Kathy decided to return home to Phoenix, where she still had family, and devote more time to developing her painting interests.  Today, she works from her home studio with a northern exposure for the best light.  Wickenburg is one of her favorite spots for attending roping and riding events, where she takes photos for her reference file to be used in future paintings. 

She has gallery representation in Scottsdale at Xanadu on Main Street (www.xanadugallery.com).  She also exhibits with the new Glendale Artists Guild and has participated in the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour and Sale, as a member of the Sonoran Arts League.  Her painting “Dakota” was recently the featured painting in a juried “horses only” art show that went national. Kathy teaches acrylic painting classes at the Sun City Arizona Art Supply’s store and will be teaching classes in Glendale soon.

“When I paint, I want the horse, person or animal to breathe.  I don’t believe I’m finished with a painting until I have reached that point,” she says about what inspires her.

To view a selection of Kathy E. Walker’s paintings, contact her, keep up with her events and classes or to commission a painting of your own visit kathyewalker.com.

Contact Arts Columnist, Shea Stanfield, on flowingquill@yahoo.com.