Thu, April 02

Watercolor artist leaves lasting impression

Kathleen Mudersbach began nurturing her affinity for art in first grade. At the time it was just a fleeting fancy, but years later she rediscovered her passion for painting.

As an adult she enrolled in classes in oils, pastels and watercolor. But it wasn't until 1982 when she and husband John moved to Cottonwood that her creative juices really began to boil. The couple opened John's Design Center, a custom picture framing business, and soon after she began painting.

During the past 20 years or so she has taken numerous watercolor workshops from some of Northern Arizona's top instructors. She also has participated in several workshops hosted by the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society (NAWS) and is a juried member of the non-profit group, an honor not lightly bestowed.

While she has no formal training per se, Kathleen knows what she likes and paints it. Her models are photographs she has taken over the years throughout Arizona. She seems to gravitate toward subjects such as flowers, wildlife, landscapes and nature -- anything that catches her eye and becomes captured on film.

Her creations are rich in bold colors like purple, pink and yellow. When gazing at one of Kathleen's pieces, it's difficult not to suspect her of exaggerating the hues, but she insists it's the true color, as nature intended.

"I try to stick to natural colors," says the Phoenix native.

In most of her paintings, if you look closely, you can see her trademark -- a butterfly, hummingbird or turtle.

"I like adding animals to my paintings," she declares.

Sixteen of her originals hang in her house. Giclées of her work can be found at John's Design Center, 541 N. Main St., in Cottonwood. In fact, there's an intimate space that devotes three walls to Kathleen's work as well as other local talents. Kathleen's open edition giclée prints come in three sizes and are exclusively available here. For more details, call 634-6311.

Giclée (pronounced zhee-clay) is a French word that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. The word may have been derived from the French verb "gicler" meaning "to squirt." The term  "giclée print" connotes an elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from high-resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto canvas or a wide variety of fine art papers. The giclée printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. It is said that one cannot distinguish the giclée version from the original artwork. This is certainly true of Kathleen's paintings.

For the past two years, Kathleen, 78, has set aside the brushes until something re-inspires her. She's still surprised when someone is interested in her artwork, and she humbly declines any recognition.

"When we get a talent," she explains, "the Lord gives us that talent and I give him credit."

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