Artist of the Month

LaVerne Kyriss

Kathleen Brodkin loves horses. They were her whole life, she said, explaining that for 27 years she spent about four hours a day, riding, grooming and taking care of her horses. But that joy ended when she encountered a medical issue that prevented her from further riding.

Grieving this loss and needing to find something to engage her, she took an art class in Florida where she then lived. “I had previously dabbled in art, but didn’t really spend any time exploring it,” she said, “until I had this huge hole in my life. I still love horses, but now I draw and paint them.”

She joined an art group and took classes with a small group who became good friends. “We all learned a lot about art and about each other. I still miss them, but Florida wasn’t where we wanted to spend our retirement. So, we pulled up stakes and moved here in May.”

This is the second time Brodkin has lived in Tucson. “Forty years ago, I worked in the cardiac intensive care unit at Tucson Medical Center. The town has really changed. There wasn’t much north of Grant,” she joked. “And SaddleBrooke wasn’t even on the drawing board.”

Brodkin said the Fine Art Guild was one of the activities that attracted them to SaddleBrooke. “The first time I went to an open studio session, I was a little intimidated by the quality of the work of the other artists,” she remembered. “A person came up, studying my painting. I was nervous about what he might say. He smiled and said, ‘I love your inventive use of color.’ I let my breath out and knew right then that this was going to be a good group,” she laughed.

Brodkin loves to paint animals. She tries to spend some time most mornings working on some aspect. “I work on one piece at a time. I’m fairly comfortable in oils because you can repaint it until you get it right—until it looks just like you want it. I like to use vibrant colors. They make you feel alive.”

“We bought the house because of the great view, but the ability to have this wonderful studio was an added bonus,” she said, offering a tour of her converted golf cart garage that now serves as her art studio. I can totally relax here—not thinking about anything else. It’s almost like meditation. Then I just leave my work here and close the door. I don’t have to put things away and get them out each day.”

“I’m still getting used to the idea that I can paint,” she laughed. “I think we all have to just dive in and try something new.” Brodkin demonstrated her willingness by volunteering to serve the Guild this next year. Her enthusiasm was led to being elected Guild president at the March meeting. “I think we can all contribute to making this a great community,” she summed up, “and I’m looking forward to meeting many more Guild members at future events.