"Color, Light & Spirit"


"It appears that your work is taking subtle leaps, becoming truly comfortable in its various strengths. I plan to write about that process, as manifested in the paintings I've seen over the years... gradually moving from the requested originality of a classic Buhalis student through concentration on a landscape that resonates with who you are to what seems an utterly confident aesthetic of more recent years that just keeps getting stronger." --Paul Smart, Woodstock, NY, 2011

On the Road to Buffalo
Oil / paper 19" x 24"

“I saw her painting, Overlook Mountain, when we began attending Woodstock Day School, which commissioned that work.  I was struck by McKenna’s unusual usage of color. Her landscapes feature color in such unexpected ways and when I was thinking about this show, I realized this would be a perfect time of year to show her work, since it’s so laden with the same gorgeous reds and oranges of our own fall, here in the Hudson Valley.” --Sneha Kapadia, WFG Gallery, Woodstock, NY 2011 

Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, NY
Oil / board 16" x 20"

“Your work continues to demonstrate a wonderful artistic impression of the world around us.  So many members of our community as well as visitors to the School remark so positively to your work…. we continue to appreciate your painting.” --Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett, Head of School, Dwight-Englewood School, 2008

Savery Creek, Boyer Ranch, WY
Oil / linen 36" x 42"

“I was so taken by the piece shown, Mount Wilson,Telluride, that I was blown away.  Just amazing work! I’m a social worker, your work is worth saving for.” --Howard Heise, 2004

Mount Wilson, Telluride
Oil / board 25" x 28"

“Just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your framed print, The Hole in the Wall.  It’s framed and hanging in my office at the University of Washington Medical Center.  It’s such a wonderful picture and every workday I enjoy coming into my office so much more now that your print is hanging there.” --Marilyn Wood,
University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA, 2007

Hole in the Wall, WY
Oil 34" x 64"

“I absolutely love your paintings.   …enjoyed your beautiful colors and how you capture the feel of your subjects.  I love the landscapes, enthralls my spirit…and I love the way you capture the horse.  You get the feel of the horses and I can feel them move.  It’s just so wonderful." --Susan Kuwaye, 2007

Fiddleback Ranch Horses
Oil / board 6" x 11"

“I have admired your work since discovering it a few years ago.  There are several that  ‘touch’ me and one in particular that I wish I could walk into.” --Lynne A. Steiner, 2007

“I LOVE it – you are so gifted!!  I love the colors, the frame, the horses!” --Mary Kaye, Wellesley, MA  2007

Fiddleback Ranch Horse Sketch
Oil / board 18" x 18"

“Your work is absolutely beautiful.” --Jane Ellen Isabella, 2005

“I am definitely convinced this is a perfect choice for my house.”
--Jessica R, Bauxite, AR, 2005

Red Lemurs
Oil / board 18" x 25"

“…your colors are so rich and fresh, your style so fluid and loose and your subject matter so on target” --Mary Bowden, 2004

Canyon de Chelly, AZ
Oil / board 18" x 24"

“When I unrolled the picture it brought tears to my eyes.  It’s more beautiful than I had ever imagined.” --Denise Godfrey
Perceptual Healing, Fair Oaks, CA, 2004

Thermopolis Farmland, WY
Oil 40" x 82"

Flattops Wilderness is dramatic and you capture the spirit, light and space so well.  I just love your palette, which has evolved and lightened over the past few years.  I love the brilliant greens in vegetation in some of your landscapes like Boyer Ranch and the dramatic composition of Chimney Rock with the scrubby trees against the hard smooth rocks.  I remember seeing earlier paintings like Cassidy’s Ford and Cassidy’s Ford at Denny Jones.  I think the way you treated the rock forms, the water and vegetation is particularly strong and pleasing.” --Linda Freaney, Woodstock, NY, 2004

Flat Tops Wilderness, CO II
Oil / board 18" x 24"

“Saw your piece, Two Elk Ranch in March/April Western Interiors.  I love the colors…” --Steven J. Golightly, 2004

Two Elk Ranch, Meeteetse WY
Oil / board 19" x 21"

“I like all your landscapes of the west…you do a wonderful job of capturing the beauty and colors of that part of the country.  What a wonderful gift you have!!” --Janis Halsey, St Louis, MO, 2004

“WOW, your work is beautiful!  The colors are fantastic!”
--Cheryl Graber, Mission Viejo, CA, 2004

“Exquisite!” --Kathie, Bartonsville, PA, 2004

Down Valley Thunderhead, Telluride
Oil / board 30" x 25"

“Admire your bold use of full spectrum color." --John Miller, 2003

“I congratulate you on your very nice painting; for somebody like me who works essentially with the light and the colors, your painting touched my sensibility and my eyes.  The western land, as you treat it, is so unusual, so peaceful, you have the way to come quietly in the recesses of nature and by this way you made me have an Indian contemplation which I have liked.” --Claire S. Malherbe,
Atelier du Gemmail, Paris, France, 2000

“…your work hits our hearts!” --Nicole and Kevin Carrier, 2006

“I saw your beautiful portrayal of this ranch in McCall in a recent copy of Western Interiors.  Your work is just wonderful!  …would love one of your works in our home!” --Kristy Ollendorff, Lake Forest, CA, 2006

Meyer Ranch, McCall, ID
Oil / board 17" x 24"

“I find your landscapes very uplifting.” --Ron Allen, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2005

“I fell in love with your Yaqui Point, Grand Canyon, AZ painting.  I just love the colors, the depth and the serenity of that piece in particular.” --Ruth Ellen Saarinen, CA, 2010

Yaqui Point, Grand Canyon
Oil / linen 24" x 28"

“I love the colors and feeling of your western works…” --Bonnie Edelman, Ridgefield, CT, 2008

“I love this piece of artwork particularly but your style throughout all of your pieces is incredible.  I love the intensity of the colors.” --Andrea Hamrick, 2008

Conception at Willow Creek, WY II
Oil 36" x 48"

“…even my untrained eye can see the influence of Gauguin in your palette, with the nod to Cezanne.  Very, very nice.”  --Jan Winemiller, Carlisle, PA, 2004

“Katharine L. McKenna’s use of color and light creates beautiful paintings of landscapes.” –Kayla Werner, Kingston, NY, 2006

“Reflecting her spiritual connection to the west, K.L. McKenna uses bold brush strokes to bring her canvases to life with rich rustics reds that capture the rugged rock formations in Wyoming’s canyon lands and the magic of Arizona’s desert expanses.  And, she paints with brilliant yellows and greens to create dramatic images of the mountains and meadows of Colorado and Montana.” --Colorado Magazine, 2007

“Katharine McKenna is a supreme colorist, whose lightly applied, vivid pastels give dense life to her puzzle-like works.”  --Dakota Lane, Woodstock, NY, 1992 

Still Figure with Life
Pastel 13" x 16"

“Favoring a brighter than bright palette, McKenna has marked influences of the French Impressionists, the Fauves, the pointillists, and even the Spanish Zuloaga.  She favors all shades of blue.  This is also the case with her still lifes, scrumptious renditions of floral compositions perhaps surrounded by a plethora of the most unexpected objects.  She is, at least for the time being, a champion of figurative styles and her production is pleasing to the eye and phenomenally interesting, which thankfully carries her way past the merely decorative mark.” --James G. Shine, Daily Freeman, 1996

“…she expresses her passion for the West through rich, organic paintings, capturing new perspectives on a traditional landscape.”
--Woodstock Times, 2002

“A sweeping western landscape by McKenna dominates the gallery.  The wide open spaces and fresh air of Big Horn River, Wyoming are exhilarating.  In large dimensions, the painting depicts bright blue water contrasted against plateaus in shades of terra cotta and violet.” --Tinker Twine, Woodstock Times, 1994

Big Horn River, WY
Oil 42" x 50"

“ -one finds the fauve exuberance for life, complete with purple tree trunks and blue barns.  But there’s something else here.  There’s a hint of Paul Cezanne, and his preoccupation with form and mass, in McKenna’s fascination with the structural starkness of these land formations.” --Mary Cassai, 2002

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

L: Boyer Ranch, Saver WY Oil 24" x 30"

R: Farmland with Buttes, Thermopolis, WY Oil 40" x 82"

“I have been following McKenna’s career for about a decade, and find that with these works she has made a exciting breakthrough in terms of originality and clarity of vision.  She has always conveyed a soft and joyful sense of light through form an color, and in this show she goes beyond harmony to exuberant symphonies.” --Dakota Lane, Ulster Publishing Almanac, 2002

“Her vibrant oil on canvas paintings capture western vistas—the buttes of Wyoming and landscapes of Montana—in burnt, red, orange, yellow, and green reminiscent of Gauguin’s impressions of Tahiti.  Partially a plein-air painter, McKenna begins many pieces on location with raw under paintings, broad, figurative brushstrokes rendered in Prussian blue against ochre-sienna tinged back color.”
--Pauline Uchmanowicz, Catskill Mountain Region Guide, 2002

“K.L. McKenna has come into her own and is in high demand for her intensely hued landscapes of the Southwest. Ms. McKenna’s Mimi Sitting is an ideal example of a figure study, perfectly rendered, the light glowing as it collects on the model’s shoulder.  She uncovers color in shadows and uses many hues to create light.  The choices are always unexpected, but delightful.  She combines abstract elements with the figures to fuse them with heavily saturated hues.  An energy that flows across the canvas and an uninhibited use of color and light have become this artist’s trademark and have made her very in demand with collectors.” --Sue Stoval, Catskill Mountain Region Guide, 2004

Mimi Sitting
Pastel 21" x 19"

“McKenna’s working process is methodical, structured around the maintenance of that original inspiration that she get s in the field. She paints regularly enough to allow her emotions play in the details of what she’s working on.  Things begin with a working sketch, over which she keeps working until a piece starts to sing…there’s a sense that McKenna’s work is in transition, about to make a great leap forward.” --Paul Smart, Ulster Publishing, 2006

“The flatlands of both regions also look similar and some areas in Africa resemble the Wyoming bluffs shown in the exhibition.”
--Jeanine Jackson, Ambassador, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, 2006

Wyoming Farmland Triptych
Oil 14" x 72"

“…uses her crayon-rich colors to express the excitement of the scene…her paintings celebrate the warm color and dynamic structure of the landscape.” --Betsy Bruner, Arts, Culture & Community Editor, Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff, 2009

“It’s some of the most beautiful and evocative work I’ve seen in quite a while.  McKenna’s work is abstract and visually energetic characterized by texture and bold brushstrokes.  She uses striking colors and somewhat stylized shapes to present a dynamic vision of the land.  Her choice of color is based on her emotional and intuitive response to the landscape.  In many ways her work is reminiscent of Fauvists like (Henri) Matisse and (André) Derain.” --Alan Peterson, Museum of Northern Arizona, 2009

Near Tsegi Overlook, Canyon de Chelly, AZ
Oil / linen 28" x 32"

"We rented our Telluride house to the architect of the house.  You should know that he put everything in the house into storage except one thing --- your painting."--Janet Shanberge, Managing Director, Arcade, Inc - China  2012

Telluride Falls, CO
Oil / board 24" x 28"