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Check out Kathy Harder’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathy Harder.

Kathy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When I was fifteen years old, I knew what I wanted, a ranch. Why did I feel this way? I found myself drawing horses in first grade instead of listening to the teacher! I now live amongst the great California Oaks on Ortega Highway inland from Rancho Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano. Rich in history, I derive inspiration on a daily basis! I own a small ranch and board horses here. I was recently gifted a black and white Paint horse filly. I love natural horsemanship training in today’s world. The training facility provides characters galore for making photo reference which I use as models for my paintings. Every summer the RMV ranch has a spectacular rodeo. Being curious about the ranch I went trespassing one day looking for things to photograph. When I got caught, I was sent to their own sheriff’s station. Instead of getting in trouble I gave them my card, made friends with the Vice President of Operations and was eventually asked to do the 2018 RMV Rodeo poster. Also in my travels, the western theme has taken my breath away so upon attending horse workshops I met a woman who had calf branding on her ranch. Naturally, I invited myself so now each year I get invited back because I turn the adventure into paintings.
While building my ranch, I always took art classes at Saddleback College. My ever constant thought was, should I be building my ranch or painting? It has now turned out both go hand in hand.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am a western painter because it is my being. This for me this is a natural process because I live it every day. When you wake in the morning, go out in the early morning crisp mountain air, the first thing you see are those great big beautiful eyes of the majestic horse, you KNOW you’re on the right path. I’m surrounded by the natural beauty of living in a National Forest. Combining an actual ride through this beauty of streams, wildlife and gorgeous land vistas I have to create what I feel. Living so close to town, 20 miles, I like to bring to the paintings observer something NOT lost but very much alive in today’s world, a sort of cowboys way of life. When I travel to town the hive of activity, a great sense of relief overwhelms my body as I head home to serenity. Even though my favorite thing to paint is bucking horses, I hope to just remind the viewer the west is still alive and there is peace to be found.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
The world today for me is too big, too unrealistic. I suppose that’s why I’m attracted to the simpler way of life. I have met older artists at shows, and they tell me people used to line up for blocks at an opening to buy art.

Since I have started showing the talk of the town is art shows have slowed down so much that a lot of old popular shows have out in out died. Disappointing. I stopped producing art at home after my divorce, but once the ranch was up and running, I restarted my career by showing at the Laguna Art A Fair in 2013. For me, it is full speed ahead only to find out even the brick and mortar art galleries have gone to online sales. Participating now in the art business for about six years I am getting noticed! I have gotten to know other artists in the western group, To my surprise, a very famous man came to my booth at a show and shared with me, ” I sell once in a while but not all the time.” I see him in every show, every magazine, so my eyes were opened to the truth; it is a different world. I can’t say how national or even international events affect the art except when there is unrest on the world no one is spending on art.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can be found on my website: kathyharderstudios.com. While showing my work at the Laguna Art A Fair in Laguna Beach, a woman was walking through one day. She smiled, took some greeting cards to be purchased and went on her way. Ours is a co-op, so each member has a once a week job to do. My chosen job is to work in the sales booth; therefore, I have a view of what is going on. This woman eventually came to the sales booth to pay for her cards and upon seeing me again declared, “I’m the president of the San Diego Watercolor Society and you are so good you could win our International Show!”. I soon became a member of the SDWS, and my first show won the Peoples Choice Award! Becoming inspired by this, I am now showing across the United States in western juried art shows. Currently, my work is being shown at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Western Spirit Art Show & Sale, Cheyenne, Wyoming. I have an exhibits and awards display on my website so the viewer may note my history.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 34706 Ortega Highway
  • Website: kathyharderstudios.com
  • Phone: 951 678-2289
  • Email: kathyharderstudios@gmail.com
  • Facebook: harderarts@gmail.com

Image Credit:
Kathy Harder

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