How much do you know about our artist Kathleen Dunphy? Did you know she was born in Bethesda, Maryland? Keep reading to learn a little more about this joyful artist–we sure enjoyed getting to know her beyond her CV.
Although Kathleen knew she wanted to be an artist from birth and studied art at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, she did not focus on painting as a career until her 30’s. Ms. Dunphy began her artistic career in floral design and event planning. “I had my own floral design and special events planning business, doing all the flowers for UCDavis while we were living in California and then for Ramstein Air Force base when we were living in Germany (while my husband was in the air force). I loved my job with flowers but knew I really wanted to be a “real” artist some day. The impetus for the change came when we got our next assignment with the military in Alaska and I knew that I just didn’t want to fool with delivering
flowers in sub-zero weather!” And thank goodness for that! As with many artists, she started drawing portraits of dogs and hanging them in local vet clinics to get commissions. She also took a few painting classes at the University of Alaska Anchorage. During that time she was developed her first gallery relationship with Artique Gallery in Anchorage, “a really great gallery that carried my work for years and really helped me establish my career.”
She made her first sale at the age of 36, “My first oil painting to sell was a $300 still life, sold at a show at the Sleepy Dog Coffee house in Eagle River, Alaska. And through the power of Instagram, that collector just contacted me a couple months ago! She now lives in England and still has that painting.” Encouraged by her instructor Craig Nelson, “he was (and still is!) a lunatic about painting – passionate and doing it all the time. He really pushed me to paint fast and stop being fussy with my work,” she continues to paint every day and when she can’t get outside, she sets up beautiful florals in her studio or tricks her pup into being a model.
Although Kathleen lives in a beautiful part of the country and can find inspiration close by, capturing the different light and landscape of a new place influences her art in many ways. “I love to capture how an area feels to me on canvas, so different than just taking photo. I can’t really go anywhere without thinking about how I would paint what I’m looking at, so I always have some means for making art with me: my oil paints, my gouache kit, or at a minimum, my sketchbook.”
What are you currently reading? “I love to read!! I always have at least one book going, but I have to admit that I’m in a “book drought” right now, looking for the next great read to lose myself in. Coincidentally, I started a book based in Charleston, “In Polite Company” the other day. I love historical fiction, something where I feel like I’m learning while being entertained with a great story. I’m half way through “We Were The Lucky Ones,” about WW2, but it’s so sad that I have to take breaks from it to heal my heart.”
What are you most proud of in your career? Just that I’m going this! I still can’t believe I get to go to beautiful places, paint all day long, and then someone is willing to pay money to own what I create. It truly is a dream I always had and never thought would
Who influenced your career path the most? Probably Craig Nelson for the above-mentioned reasons, but also Brian Blood for introducing me to plein air and Scott Christensen for pushing me to a higher level. And Tim Lawson for getting me to slow down and be more thoughtful with my work. And every single artist I’ve ever looked at in the millions of art books and magazines over the years.
What three artist influenced you the most? If there are more, list them all! The great triumvirate of Sorolla, Sargent, and Zorn. Constant inspiration
And lastly three things that we might not know about you?
Let’s see….. I lived in Germany for six years. I have 24 animals but, since that’s not enough, I volunteer once a week at the Humane Society to get a few more animals in my life. I have an older sister that everyone thinks is my twin.
Thank you for spending time with us and we hope that you have enjoyed getting to know Kathleen Dunphy beyond the CV!
106-A Church Street Charleston, SC 29401 (843) 723-0073