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Artists » Art for the Wall » Kate Mueller


I love to draw, and I love to paint! It was drawing the life around me that propelled me at a young age into a lifelong relationship with art. Now I am a realist painter, using my love of drawing as a firm foundation, and my goal is to show the viewer the beauty and vibrancy of something they might not notice on their own. To do this I work ala prima, with immediacy and energy. Often I feel that realism becomes practiced and careful…I hope to avoid that. To me my most successful pieces are those in which boldness and delicacy are both present; in color, drawing, brushwork and composition, and I am always working to perfect that balance. As I strive to achieve this balance with my technique, I choose the subjects of my paintings hoping to highlight the beauty of the everyday. When I succeed, even the smallest of my paintings calls out to the viewer to look more deeply into not only the beauty of the artwork, but the beauty that surrounds all of us each and every day.

Importantly, my artistic inspirations are Frans Hals, for the virtuosity of his brushwork. John Singer Sargent, for his command of color, draftsmanship, brushwork; everything. And most of all my Mother, who taught me by example that no good art comes easily, but only through sticking to it and letting it go.

* American Academy of Art, Chicago, Illinois 1985-1986
Intensive study of drawing the figure and traditional methods of oil painting
* Academy of Art College, San Francisco, California 1982-1985
Full-time study of drawing, painting, design, and illustration
* University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 1978-1980
Full-time study of art, art history, and philosophy

Associate Member Oil Painters of America, since 2003

Preferred medium and style: After experimenting with many different media as a young artist I finally worked up the courage to try oils. I’ve loved painting in oils ever since. The richness and depth of color and the feel of the paint when working keep me going. It is an endlessly challenging and rewarding medium. I paint in a realistic fashion with a strong foundation of draftsmanship, yet I hope to avoid too much detail or tightness in my paintings. It’s a fine line to walk … Realism that isn’t too real!

Why I paint scenes of Wisconsin: Well, most simply put, I live here! I see so much beauty every day I sometimes feel I will never get to painting it all. Having lived elsewhere in the country I appreciate even more the amazing richness of our local landscape, the variety that our state encompasses, and the ease with which we can be a part of it.

Favorite Madison subject to paint: I am currently enjoying painting both Olbrich Gardens and the interior of the Capitol building. Olbrich Gardens has such wonderful shadows and shapes that play on the beautifully tended paths and plantings. I think an artist could spend all the seasons finding new moods and compositions to paint. The interior of the Capitol is also truly beautiful to me because its light and shadow are both delicate and bold with big shapes and fascinating details, the tale of history and the hope of the future. Since it is so large it is a challenge to capture the grandness of the space as well as the intimacy of the experience. Madison, like so many other parts of Wisconsin, has infinite settings worthy of a painting!

Biggest challenge or surprise: I live rather near the shore of Lake Michigan and personally love the water. I have been drawn to that grand lakeshore as subject matter; to the water, the stretches of sand, the windswept trees, and to the many boats and ships there. I have been surprised at how much I enjoy painting the boats in the harbors and have found that I love the shapes of boats. Many of them seem to be living, to be moving, even when they are far from the water or from their life of usefulness. Trying to capture that energy and feeling is a great challenge, one that I love!

What makes Wisconsin landscapes special: Well firstly, I think that one of the occupational hazards of being an artist is seeing the beauty in everything! So no matter where I am I almost always think, “Oooh, I’d like to paint that” or, “That would be a great painting!” That being said, I can use England to explain what I think makes Wisconsin special. If you have been to England (or even have a pretty good mental picture of it) you may understand what I mean when I say the landscape is “intimate.” Vistas may be broad but they are not too grand, there is a sense that you can reach out to what you see, that it is accessible.

I think that is the main thing that makes Wisconsin truly unique as a place to paint. We have so many different landscapes here: sweeping dunes, lush forests, rich farmland, cityscapes, rivers, lakeshores, cliffs, marshes, and more. Not many states that I know of contain such a variety of views, all within easy reach. And when we look at our state we have that wonderful sense of “intimacy,” that we can see the next rolling hill and make out its farms or towns, or forests … that we can go there, and look from there to the next … hidden glades and broad panoramas … close enough to be comforting but vast and rich enough to inspire. If I painted in Wisconsin every day for the rest of my life I'd never capture all that it has to offer!

Hickory Hill

Hickory Hill Medium: oil on linen
Size: 16"x12" image, 22.5"x16.5" framed
Price: $1100 framed

Sip of Amber

Sip of Amber Medium: oil on linen
Size: 8"x6" image, 12.5"x11.5" framed
Price: $300 framed

Afternoon Snack

Afternoon Snack Medium: oil on linen
Size: 12"x9" image, 18"x15" framed
Price: $750 framed

Summer Sky

Summer Sky Medium: oil on linen
Size: 12"x16" image, 22.5"x16.5" framed
Price: $1100 framed

Waves of Lace

Waves of Lace Medium: oil on linen
Size: 12"x9" image, 116.5"x15.5" framed
Price: $750 framed