Artist of The Month

Kathleen Junker pauses in her studio surrounded by several works in progress.

Kathleen Junker pauses in her studio surrounded by several works in progress.

Talent results when you pursue an interest

LaVerne Kyriss

Kathleen Junker doesn’t believe it when people tell her they have no talent. “Talent is what results when you pursue an interest,” she explained. “People say, ‘Oh, I can’t draw’ or ‘I can’t paint. I could never do what you do. I’m not good at that.’ ”

She believes that if you’re interested enough in something to try it and keep on trying, you will get better at it. Junker started drawing when she was a little girl in South Dakota. She remembers always drawing: “I used to draw on newspaper. I’d give people different hair, eye glasses, and beards, whatever. I didn’t have art supplies—-just newspapers and a pencil. My drawings as a child were no better than any other little kid’s drawings. If I’m better as an adult, it’s just because I never lost interest. I just kept at it and my talent is a result of that continued interest.”

Junker, however, never painted until she became an adult. “I love to work in oils,” she said. “First of all, it’s nostalgic for me. My dad painted in oils and I love the smell. It reminds me of him,” she reflected, noting that her dad died when she was 13.

“Oil works for me. I just jump into a piece. I don’t know where I’m going. I work on a piece for three or four hours and then I put it aside for a few days to let it dry,” Junker explained. “I go back and work on it some more and let it dry for another few days. I usually take a third pass before I’m satisfied, but I can get mired down in the details and keep working on a piece for a long time. Oils let me have that freedom to keep working on it.”

Junker reflected that she’s tried other mediums such as watercolor and acrylic and other formats including tile work and pottery, but always returned to oil painting. Today, she’s trying to work on painting more regularly—-every day or two days. “This requires me to have multiple projects going at one time so that some can be drying while I’m working on another piece.” Her current study is of jack rabbits. “I was only introduced to them when we moved to SaddleBrooke in 2014. They fascinate me,” she said.

She credits taking classes with Titus Costanza through the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild with helping her gain a new perspective on painting. “I used to just paint. I never had a method. I love vivid colors and I’d just throw color out there until it looked great.” Titus taught her to break shapes down into angles and planes and to see the varying degrees of light and dark, she said. “His approach is very methodical. He also taught us to use just eight to 10 colors of paint and to mix what we needed from these. I look forward to soon getting back to that Friday morning group.”