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Self-described schizophrenic, Kathleen Evans exercises both sides of her brain with an acuity for building airplanes and painting watercolors. I got a glimpse into the life of the artist with a multi-tasking cerebrum when I visited her Igo studio.
Painting with watercolors and building a plane: two sides of your brain, I would say. Which do you like better?
My heart is with painting. It’s therapeutic and takes me to a tranquil place. I take great satisfaction in creating a piece of art that sets a mood or tells a story and I’m delighted and surprised to find that friends and family (even strangers!) appreciate my work. I’ve often said I do it for the applause, not for the money. The airplane building offers a very different type of satisfaction. While art is free and open yet challenging, building an airplane needs precision and attention to detail, an entirely different type of challenge. I find great satisfaction in looking at a small piece of the plane, say, something as simple as a bracket for an antenna, and knowing that I designed that bracket, cut the aluminum sheet to size, finished the edges on the grinding wheel, drilled the attachment holes, and riveted and screwed the piece in place. There are countless small pieces to fabricate and thousands of rivets to pound. It’s a much bigger project than I could have ever imagined.
One of my favorite pieces is of your friend Damon.
He’s a practicing physician who loves to come to our huge, very rural “ranch” and drive the tractor, clear manzanita and cut firewood. He’s a big guy, 6′ 10″ and about 275 pounds. No surprise, some people call him Big D. He’s one of the people who has just about everything, so for his birthday, I painted him standing by his beloved backhoe-loader. He was so tickled by the painting that he hung it prominently in his home and was so proud of it, I had a giclee print made, which he has hanging in his office.
And you have to tell us about the painting that started it all.
About three and a half years ago, a friend from the Sacramento area came to visit. She and her husband own a pear orchard in Walnut Grove and they had brought a big bag of gorgeous red pears. She brought her watercolors with her and we decided to pile the pears up and paint the still life. I hadn’t painted literally in decades and I was surprised I was able to get my hand back in. The painting was quick and free and it felt wonderful to have a brush in my hand doing something other than painting a wall or refinishing furniture. After that, I found the class at Fator’s Gallery, taught by Deannie Meyer and I have been painting ever since.
You’ve put together a whole gang of artists for your ArtHop show this weekend. Who’s joining you?
I’ll be joined by Connie Brown, Louise Tuthill, Karen Chamberlain and Cori Gisler. Each of them has a lovely, distinct style and is hugely talented. We paint together at Fator’s each Tuesday and have enjoyed learning from one another as well as from Deannie.
Give us a sneak peek. What’s your favorite piece in the show?
Hard to choose. My part of this show will be mostly abstract, mostly acrylic, with a few watercolors. I think my favorite is “Oregon Morning” although I’m pretty partial to “Roseburg Twilight” and “Tide Outgoing”. It would be easier for me to pick my favorite five!
So, how long until your plane is airborne?
I’m hoping to make the first flight this coming spring. It has come a long way, but still has major pieces to complete: cowling, intake system, canopy, interior, and paint. That may sound small, but each system has countless bits and parts.
Get a glimpse into Kathleen’s right brain, and the creative processes of four other talented women on Sat., Dec. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. for 2nd Saturday ArtHop, The Disappearing Act, 2415 Sonoma Street, Redding. Click here for ArtHop maps and information. To see more of Kathleen’s artwork, visit evans.to. To see more about her plane, visit rv7.us.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org