From the art studio inside her Sierra Madre home, Kathryn Henneman looks out at her spacious backyard and delights in the sights – sunshine, green grass and a variety of fruit trees. From her living room window, she exclaims what a quiet tree-lined street she has chosen, what a charming little town she has settled in at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.“It’s like a little Tuscany,” she says. Having realized her dream of making a career as an artist, Henneman is thrilled to be able to strengthen that dream by sharing her art at an exclusive showing and reception at the Citibank in Pasadena. The event, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 12 at the bank at 285 S. Lake Avenue, in Pasadena, California is open to the public. Henneman views it as a type of open house for her new community, a way to introduce herself and her art to the residents in the Pasadena area.
The passion with which she has embraced her new surroundings is exceeded by her passion for her craft.
“Painting is the rhythm of my life,” Henneman says.
The abstract impressionist artist has been painting professionally for the last 20 years. An Arizona native with no formal art training, Henneman has been interested and adept at art ever since she was a child. But it wasn’t until 1982 that she began to dabble in art.
She had her first show in the Los Angeles area in 1985 where she was stunned to find her work nearly sold out. Henneman’s success grew from there, until today, she has pieces hanging in homes, businesses and hotels all over the world. She has participated in shows in New York City and Florence, Italy as well as California.
In Pasadena, Henneman will be showing a variety of her works, which include oils on canvas, mixed media on canvas and chalk pastels on paper. Known for her unique use of color and texture, Henneman’s work has a way of capturing the hearts of those who see it.
Priscilla Weadon, who owns an East Coast art marketing firm and serves as Henneman’s licensing director, first met Henneman and saw her art at a New York art expo. She says Henneman’s paintings trigger an emotional response.
“Kathryn is such a powerful presence. Her personality is so full of life, joy and excitement. When people see her paintings, they get that filled-up feeling. They feel the joy of her art.”
Peg Seeger, a former L.A. galleries owner who later founded The Seegers Group to place art in corporate settings, had such an emotional reaction when she first saw Henneman’s work.
“I immediately fell in love with her artwork,” she said. “Kathryn is able to move color on a page like nobody I’ve ever seen – other than the American Masters. Her natural gift is so very finished.”
The American Masters are a select group of artist considered the finest in the country.
Seeger placed Henneman’s art in the offices of the Great Western Bank, Southern California Edison, the corporate offices of Toyota and local accountants Parks, Palmer, Turner and Yeimenidjian. She also has work at The Arizona Country Club in Phoenix, medical centers in California and Arizona, fine hotels in California as well as China, Japan, and Korea. Her work can be found at Mel Gibson’s offices in Burbank, the Walt Disney Studios and United Airlines at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Last year, she was commissioned to create 21 pieces of original art for the new Chumash Casino in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Henneman loves to travel abroad and get new views of the world that inspire her to create. “The emotions that I get from traveling inspire me to paint,” she says. “I love experiencing different people and cultures.”
She adds that sometimes the smallest of things, like a fabric swatch, can spark an idea for a painting.
Henneman’s work spans the range from compact, delicate florals to large textile pieces to enormous, rich abstracts.
Kevin Barry, who owns the design and architecture center Kevin Barry Fine Art Associates on Melrose Avenue, says Henneman’s use of color makes her work stand out to corporate, hospitality and residential clients.
He says the size of some of her paintings – large horizontals – appeals not only to corporate clients, but also to more and more homeowners.
“With people’s houses getting bigger and bigger, her art fills a nice niche,” according to Barry.
Two paintings in her Sierra Madre studio now measure 8 feet long by 2 feet high. Henneman now offers fine art reproductions of her work on a smaller scale on her website, www.hennemanfineart.com. She signs each print and while some are to scale as she painted them, newer offerings will take an intriguing section of a larger abstract piece and turn that into a print of its own.
Henneman employs a method that incorporates a clay-textured paste she developed to merge the textures of the work. Her signature finish is something she calls “confetti”, splashes of gold or pastel colors sprinkled on her work using crumbled chalk pastels.
After relocating to Sierra Madre, Henneman immediately became involved in the community, joining the Sierra Madre Women’s Club and serving as a co-chair for the rental of the circa 1927 Essex House.
It was a serendipitous moment that led to her first showing in her new area. Henneman had accompanied a friend, local realtor Sydney Lauran, on a visit to the Citibank at Lake and Del Mar. There she met Vice-president Peyman Salehi, who inquired as to what kind of work she did. She replied that she was an artist and shared some of her portfolio. He then offered to host a reception for her to introduce her and her work to the community.
Kathryn Henneman markets her work with a basic portfolio at absolutearts.com. She is an orginal member, participating since 2001. View more of her work at: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/k/kathrynhenneman/