Inspired to capture the quiet miracle of the land around us, Kathleen Kalinowski explores the nuances of nature in colorful, harmonious pastels and oil paint. “My life is rooted in the landscape around me, where I live on the land my grandparents farmed 80 years ago,” she says. “Whether it’s the sun coming into day over a field, or the reflections of a wandering stream, I look for contrasts in nature where colors seem to vibrate against one another.”
Known for her vibrant impressionistic landscapes, Kalinowski searches for scenes that spark her interest, usually ones that present a challenge or a visual problem to solve. Although she enjoys broad vistas like the Lake Michigan shoreline, she also explores more intimate settings that remind her of her childhood ––a time when she spent hours outside playing in the woods and the small creek that ran through her family’s backyard.
Working both en plein air and in studio, Kalinowski is absorbed with the sensations of light, atmosphere, mood and color. As a fine artist, she says finding perfect composition in a scene isn’t necessary; she often adjusts what she sees, editing it in a way that makes it even more pleasing to the eye.
Almost always listening to music – usually classical – Kalinowski is absorbed by the painting process, in tune with the whole experience of making pastel marks or mixing the colors to capture her vision. Using a combination of memories, drawings and photos, she then blocks or sketches in the start of a scene. “Before I touch the paper or canvas, I like to have the finished painting in mind,” she says. Years of painting outdoors have trained her to stay focused on her original concept; because the light changes so quickly, she finishes an on-site piece within two and a half hours.
Kalinowski started painting with oils about 20 years ago, and later was introduced to pastels. “I love the vibrant color of pastels,” she says. “It’s an immediate, tactile medium, just a softness between you and the paper.” Pastels also were a friendly medium for a young mother; Kalinowski could set her work aside as long as it took for her to return. Several years ago, she revisited the oils she loved when she first began her career. With more time now, she uses the alla prima method of applying paint and likes the challenge of painting large canvases. She’s also experimenting with placing figures in her scenes, an artistic adventure she finds gratifying.
With every brush stroke and pastel mark, Kalinowski’s art is a celebration of life. “I especially love painting everyday scenes that are easy to pass by unnoticed,” she says. “My hope is that viewers are inspired by how beautiful our world can be, that they look upon it with new eyes, and that they are left with a feeling of pleasure.”
See Kathleen's work at her artist website: www.KalinowskiFineArt.com