Katherine Simmons’ career has been as unpredictable as her painting. She pursued art briefly out of college as an advertising illustrator, and then she worked in human resources at Aetna Life & Casualty, Hartford. After spending twenty years at the company, she decided to re-channel the skill set and intellectual flexibility she had learned in the corporate world to become an independent businesswoman. She began working as an interior designer but quickly transitioned from the commercial arts to her true passion, fine arts.
Kathy paints in a contemporary realist style that many characterize as impressionistic. She believes that “everyone has a style that develops over time, like a signature.” As an artist, she tries to translate not only what she sees, but also how she responds emotionally to the scene. Working on oil-primed linen canvases, she uses quick-drying alkyd oils to create evocative paintings that explore the interplay between light and shadow. She finds inspiration in the work of early Masters such as William Merritt Chase, Dennis Miller Bunker, and John Singer Sargent, as well as contemporary artists including Richard Schmidt, Clyde Aspevig, Christopher Magadini, and Kathy Anderson.
Simmons enjoys painting landscapes because she is drawn to the light, textures, and rhythms of the natural world. All of her landscapes are inspired by places she has visited, whether she paints on site or in the studio. They are infused with the beauty and tranquility of her native New England. She also likes to paint still lifes, which she describes as “little meditations.” Using her interior design skills, she chooses objects and arranges them in a way that captures her interest. “I have to love what I’m painting,” she says.
Katherine Simmons has been actively involved with the Glastonbury Art Guild for over 20 years, and she teaches oil painting all year round. She believes practice is the key to developing technique, saying that painting is a physical skill as much as an aesthetic one. Once her pupils become comfortable with their materials, she encourages them to resist the influence of their family and friends, instead painting subjects that speak to them personally so that they can discover their own artistic voices.
Katherine Simmons earned a Fine Arts Degree from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been featured in The Pastel Journal, American Artist Magazine, and Connecticut Magazine. She is an elected artist member of the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, Connecticut Women Artists, Lyme Art Association, Salmagundi Club, and Oil Painters of American. Her work is widely represented in private and public collections as well as in corporate collections including Aetna, Massachusetts Mutual, Najeti Incorporated, Yale-NewHaven Smilow Cancer Center and the Welles-Turner Memorial Library.
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