KK Walling, Plein Air Painter
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SJC Gallery shows the works of Kathy Walling
By Debra Mayeux The Daily Times
10/24/2008

FARMINGTON — Kathy Walling was a founding member of the San Juan College Fine Arts Committee. Now the longtime artist has been invited by the committee to show her paintings in the annual artist's invitational exhibit in the Henderson Fine Arts Gallery.

"Celebrating 50 Years of Painting on the Four Corners" features 50 of Walling's paintings. It will be available for viewing through Nov. 14.

"It's not a retrospective," Walling said of the show. The oldest painting might be 2 years old.

Walling is best-known as a plein air painter, meaning that she paints outside and on location. She enjoys this format, because it takes her outside where she actually sees what she is painting and the way the light or shadows fall on something. The colors also attract her artist's eyes to objects.

"Oftentimes it's the view of something, composition ... more times than not it's the way the light is hitting them," she said of what inspires her. "When I'm out it's partly the way the sun is hitting something or the color of the aspens."

Two of the pieces on exhibit are of Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly. Walling did one small painting on location, and then worked on a large piece in her studio.

"Most all of them are plein air oils with a couple of studio works," she said. "There's a couple of oil pastels and watercolors."
There are three still-life paintings in the show and a range of sizes in paintings. One of them is of Studebakers parked on a farm by the state line.

Walling said the farm belongs to a family member who collected Studebakers. He would drive a car until it wore out, park it under an apple tree and buy a new one. The painting is called "Orchard Family" and it is a family of cars parked on the farm.

Sometimes when painting on location, a storm might come up and the artist has to leave the area. When that happens to Walling she finishes the work in her studio. She, however, prefers to complete paintings on-site. "There are things that you can't get in the studio," she said.

Walling, who teaches art at San Juan College, is described as a "proficient painter" by Cindy McNealy, gallery coordinator at San Juan College.

"She's experienced and her art work has gotten better and better throughout her life as an artist," McNealy said of Walling.

Walling began painting as a child. "When I was in second grade the teacher talked to my parents and told them to encourage me," she said. Her parents did encourage their daughter's talent and she grew into a successful artist.
Walling moved to Farmington in 1958. She said she came for three months and stayed. "I've tried to do what I could to encourage and promote art in this community," she said.

McNealy said the fine arts committee only selects one artist per year to sponsor for a gallery show. Being selected is an "honor" and one Walling deserves.

"It should be a beautiful show," McNealy said.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Information: Art Gallery, (505) 566-3464.


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