Why did you title this series, Star Series?

This is the question most people seem to ask me, so here is my reply. The idea behind this series was to portray a variety of different animals that have for some reason or another grabbed our attention and become Stars, in a sense. Stars in that they have become icons that are used widely in stories and popular culture. In taking on the series, I decided I also wanted to create complementary pairs through the use of color and other characteristics that symbolically connected them. Maybe in this way, I could gain another level of insight into why these particular creatures hold such a high place above their counterparts. And besides, I love challenges and there is something about working in doubles that I love, yin yang and all that. Thus Evening Star and Morning Star seemed the appropriate titles to honor and to communication a sense of wonder in these related works.

Evening Star (tiger), serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Evening Star (tiger), serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

The first pair I portrayed was the wild versions of the cat and the dog, or the tiger and the wolf. I used the complementary colors of orange and blue to symbolize a number of different aspects, from the animals themselves to the environments they live in. I decided to bring them up-close and personal so they were hard to ignore. As I tend to do, I thought about their personalities, where they lived and just the aesthetic beauty of these fellow creations while I drew. While I do make conscious choices about the basic design layout, many of the abstracted passages come about more on a subconscious level. The nice thing about this is when I look back at it when I am done, shapes and unexpected images jump out at me. This is one of my favorite parts of my creative process. I never know exactly where it is going to take me.

Morning Star (wolf) , serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Morning Star (wolf), serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Below are the digital prints of Evening Star (tiger) and Morning Star (wolf). They do not use the complementary colors that the larger serigraphic prints do but they capture the essense of the graphite drawings and the intensity of gaze.

I am currently working on my next pair in the Star Series, Evening Star (raccoon) and Morning Star (panda). These masked sweethearts can’t help but steal my heart away. I will apply the complementary colors of red and green respectively to the serigraphic prints and attempt to capture the tenderness, that these adorable living beings project.

I also have chosen the following pair of animals to be paired up, Owl and Sheep. These farmyard residents are often thought of as opposites in terms of intellect and usefulness, but I beg to differ. There are all types of intelligences and limiting pest populations is just as important as sharing ones warm coat.

Note:

Evening Star (tiger) and Morning Star (wolf) will make their first live appearance in my solo exhibition at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut. This exhibition will include over twenty serigraphs, twenty-four to be exact and a number of sculptures. It will be in residence beginning in September until the end of December, so be sure to visit this beautiful private school in the lovely hills of Connecticut. If you would like more information about this show and others events, leave your email address on our contact page.

Kathleen Zimmerman





What’s Happening at the Studio?

After an extended break from creating three-dimensional work, Kathleen Zimmerman just recently embarked on a public commission proposal titled Bear Hug, shown in a post on our Facebook page under Zimmerman Fine Art Studio. This venture back into sculpting drew her in and before she knew it she was creating new work in a couple series’ titled Mountain and Dynamics. The image below is of the clay original of Mountain Series - Dreamer.

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As some of you know, Kathleen started her art career working at the bronze-casting foundry, Art Castings of Colorado. There, she learned all aspects of the ‘lost wax method of casting’ such as mold making, wax pouring, welding, chasing, etc. After this hands-on education, Kathleen began creating her own cast bronze sculptures, including a life-sized piece titled Melody, which was purchased by the Loveland High Plains Arts Council. It can be seen in the image in this post and in the renowned Benson Park Sculpture Garden as part of their permanent collection.

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But life takes twists and turns, and just as Kathleen got started on a career as a sculptor, her family moved across the country from Colorado to Connecticut. This made casting bronze sculpture too costly for a young artist with a young family. So Kathleen pursued her other passion, which was drawing. Never one to do anything halfway, she applied to the Hartford Art School and was awarded full tuition on artistic merit scholarships and academic grants. At the University of Hartford’s Art School, she proceeded to earn her BFA, concentrating in both sculpture and printmaking. This gave her the time to continue to develop the visual language she had begun in her three-dimensional work and expand it into two-dimensional work. A image of a drawing from this period titled WoMan Series - Wo is below.

After she graduated, she wanted the time to continue to develop her work without the pressures of the market. So she applied to the highly competitive intensive summer program called Alternative Route to Certification, which was run by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Education. She was accepted and completed this program in 1998. The Irving Robbins Middle School in Farmington, Connecticut promptly hired her as an art teacher. She thought this was what she would do for awhile but fate stepped in. Images of apair of drawings titled Global Series - Bear Hugs that were created during this time are shown below.

After a couple of years teaching, she was offered the opportunity to travel around the country making molds of monumental sculpture for other artists by Lands End Sculpture Center. This would allow her to both see what was being done by professional sculptors, and give her time in between jobs to work on her art. So she took advantage of this opportunity traveling and working for five years. While she mainly concentrated on her drawing during this period, she did create an occassional sculpture such as the plaster model titled Cosmic Cow imaged below.

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Then again, fate jumped in and the opportunity to do an informal residency in China came about. Kathleen realized this kind of opportunity does not come around very often so she took a leap of faith and moved to Beijing. There she explored this very different culture, studied the language, met an international group of artists and created a body of graphite drawings. There is where she began creating digital prints from these drawings and to develop ideas for larger prints. It was an invaluable experience for her as an artist, but after five years, it was time to move back home to the states. A digital print from this period titled Cosmic Series - Light Dark is shown below.

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So in 2012, she returned to Connecticut and began creating hand pulled prints from these graphite drawings. A professor from Hartford Art School suggested she try intaglio printmaking at Dog’s Eye Print Studio in Massachusetts. Always eager to learn new methods of printmaking, she took his advice but soon found she was not satisfied with the look she was getting. They were fine but they just did not fit with her vision. So she began researching other printmaking methods hoping to find one that produced the contemporary look and feel that she wanted. After doing this research, she came upon serigraphy. Serigraphy, also known as silk screening, screen printing or serigraph printing, is a stencil-based printing process in which ink is forced through a fine screen onto the paper beneath. Screens were originally made of silk, but they are now made of finely woven polyester or nylon. The concept of fine art printing has been popular since the 18th century, enabling artists to share their work with a broader range of admirers at a more accessible price. Since then, printmaking has evolved into another medium artists use to create artwork not just as a way to work in multiples. Silkscreen printing, also known as serigraph printing, is a medium that is increasingly valued for its versatility. It challenges the lithographic process in terms of the textural rendering of an image. I perfect example of this can be seen in Kathleen’s Inner Landscape serigraph shown below.

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As luck would have it ZeaMays Printmaking, also in Massachusetts, was offering a month long workshop in this method. She signed up and was immediately taken by this method’s ability to retain areas of pure white paper, capture the tonality of her drawings and make it possible to place blocks of vibrant colors that ran right up and kissed the rendered image. Below is an example of this in one of her first serigraphs titled Blockhead Series - Otters.

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Serigraphy was indeed the perfect match for her sensibility. It captured the essence of the drawings but also took them to another level. Now producing high quality works of art, she was ready to pursue a career as a professional artist. To ensure that her collectors would only receive the best possible prints, Kathleen began working with the master printers at Modern Multiples print studio in Los Angeles, California. A couple recent serigraphs titled Star Series - Evening and Morning are shown drying below.

(Image was taken by Modern Multiples in LA)

(Image was taken by Modern Multiples in LA)

Happy with the direction her two-dimensional work was going, she found she missed the feel of clay underneath her fingernails and plaster in her hair, ha-ha. Seriously, it was more than that... she had some ideas that she felt could best be expressed three-dimensionally. Thus, she decided to work on these ideas, first in a proposal called Bear Hug and then by creating new work in a series’ titled, Mountains and beginning a new series titled Dynamics. Mountains fuse together the figure and mountain forms, in order to communicate that humans are not separate from nature but a part of nature. A work in progress titled Mountain Worshipper is shown below at Zimmerman Fine Art Studio.

Mountain SW @ ZFAS.jpg

The new series, Dynamics, uses repeated images to communicate ideas about how groups of animals interrelate. The clay original of a sheep element is shown below at Zimmerman Fine Art Studio.

This return to the three-dimensional world of sculpture does not mean she will cease to create new drawings and serigraphs. She will continue with two-dimensional work with just as much dedication if not more. You see each media helps her see life in a different way and fuels the creative process. They feed off of each other connecting these very different medias both visually and emotionally. So all this really means is that Kathleen two passions, sculpture and drawing, have come together as she enters into her professional stage as an artist.    

Zimmerman Fine Art Studio


NEW WORK - Horse Barn Hill

HOT OFF THE SCREEN! Kathleen Zimmerman’s latest serigraph Farm Series - Horse Barn Hill is shown below. It uses four colors to create this symbolic and surrealistic vision. Like all of Kathleen’s serigraphs, it is hand printed on Coventry Rag 290 gram paper using archival serigraphic inks in limited editions of 24 with 2 artist proofs and 3 printers proofs signed by the artist. The printing process was a little more complex than her previous silkscreens due to the use of four colored inks so precise alinement of the multiple screens was critical. Each color has meaning is relation to the subject matter as before and placed so they do not take away from the beauty of the drawn forms.

Farm Series - Horse Barn Hill , serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Farm Series - Horse Barn Hill, serigraphic print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Child-like yet sophisticated - While at first the imagery may seem almost child-like, it is quite complicated in many ways. Kathleen drew an oversized foreshortened horse balanced upon the barn steeple while it is holding the undersized chicken barn like a grain bucket in her mouth. Then she drew Chagall-like yinyang cows, a formal abstract round hill and the simplified profiles of yinyang chickens, a fence and her dog to complete her surreal take on this place. This composition creates both a sense of space yet is flattened creating a balance between the real and the abstract worlds. Vibrant sunny yellow, barn red and spring green enhance this playful vision.

Horse Barn Hill - The original graphite drawing of Farm Series - Horse Barn Hill was inspired by an actual place. It is one of Kathleen’s favorite places to walk her dog because of the farm animals and the views overlooking the beautiful campus of the University of Connecticut from this grassy rolling hill. In fact it is part of the campus in Storrs, Connecticut used by the animal science department. Horse, cattle and chicken barns surround a raised open field that is used by the University for grazing cows and growing hay. The locals and the students use it for walking their dogs, jogging or just enjoying being in this ideal farm setting. Kathleen does not usually create a work of art about a particular place but the local term for the place, Horse Barn Hill, was a surrealist dream come true.

Spirit Guide - The only other time she used an actual place in this manner is for her Xtrasensory Series - Spirit Guide which is shown below. In this work her dog Izzy again makes her appearence. Make of that what you will, maybe Izzy helps Kathleen see the magic that exists in the real world as well as in her imagination. More information on Spirit Guide can be found in one of our previous posts on this page titled Landscape.

Xtrasensory - Spirit Guide.jpg

Zimmerman Fine Art Studio



Art Live - galleries

Six Summit Gallery @ Leo House in NYC (until June)

Earth & Fire Art Studio/Gallery @ 2 Main St. Essex CT (throughout the summer)

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Artisans at Middle River @ 60 Main St. Stafford Springs, CT (rotating collection of digital prints)

Silver Circle Gallery @ Block 134 Main St, Putnam, CT (rotating collection of serigraphic prints)