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Katie Stearns: From Wall Street to Wonder

Shea Stanfield~ 9/10/2014

CAREFREE – Painter Mary Cassatt claimed over a hundred years ago, “I touch people with my art, they have felt the love and life of it. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?” Local artist Katie Stearns proclaims the same passion for her creative process.  Katie shares, “she loves everything about oil painting, the beautiful color, and the dazzling light.” For her, painting is a pure joy, intense, difficult, and all-consuming.

Much like many artists in our north valley community, Katie has not always been an artist. After graduating from Rutgers University in 1983 with a business degree, she waltzed off to Wall Street to work for an investment bank. But the pace and stress of the banking world soon had Katie reevaluating her choices. She had always been interested in health, nutrition, and wellness, so she enrolled at New York University to earn a Master’s of Science degree as a Registered Dietitian.  With Katie’s typical “can do” attitude, she founded and ran her own nutrition consulting company. 

In 1995, Katie and her husband Rob moved to Arizona. By 2001, after living life in the world of science and business, Katie felt the need to develop her creative interests. She turned to oil painting. As she explains, “Once I picked up the paint brush, swirled through the buttery oil pigment, I knew I would paint the rest of my life!” She had no idea how quickly and thoroughly she would be enraptured, challenged, and fulfilled by the creative process. Katie then launched her full-time artistic career and never looked back.

Katie honed her natural talent and painting skills by joining weekly classes at the Scottsdale Artists’ School in Old Town Scottsdale. She credits her progress and insights in painting to her early painting instructors Jane Wingfield and Linda Glover Gooch. Each instructor brought special motivation to the school’s beginning painters. Jane made painting fun and risk free. Linda focused her students on developing exciting and engaging floral still life paintings. 

Katie reflects that she had seen some of Linda Glover Gooch’s paintings in a gallery in Calistoga, Calif. a number of years before and was thrilled with the opportunity to take lessons from her. Soon Katie was branching out into a variety of genres and working with a wide variety of instructors in their subject specialties. Today, Katie enjoys painting a wide variety of subjects.

Katie is an award-winning artist. Her painting “The Sentinel-Gray Hawk” was recently on display in the Sky Harbor International Airport’s Museum as part of the “Arizona Birds, Bugs, and Blooms” exhibition. She is often juried into fine art shows and now is the painting instructor who is sought out by local students to hone their painting skills. Katie has taught at the Via Linda Center in Scottsdale and at The Boulders Resort and Club in Carefree. In April 2010, Katie published her first art book, “Feel the Joy!-Joy Inspired Paintings and their Stories.”

Katie shows her work at On The Edge Gallery on 5th Avenue in Scottsdale.  Nationally, she is a member of the Oil Painters of America and The Portrait Society of America; she is a board member of the Arizona chapter. In Arizona, she is a juried member of both the Sonoran Arts League and the Arizona Art Alliance. 

Katie works at her home studio in Carefree, Ariz. To view a selection of Katie Stearns’ work, visit On The Edge Gallery in Scottsdale, www.ontheedgegallery.com or view her Web site at www.stearnsstudios.com.  To contact Katie, e-mail stearnsstudio@cox.net.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.