Artist Spotlight Series: Kirsten McGannon
Enjoy getting to know the latest talent in my Artist Spotlight Series. I am moved and by the etherial watercolors in bold hues of
Kansas City, Missouri
What is your training?
I’m not formally trained as an artist, but art has always been at the center of my life. Growing up I was very influenced by my aunt who ran the children’s programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. I spent hours with her at the museum exploring the collection, taking classes and planting the seeds of what would become a lifelong passion.
Instead of majoring in fine arts in college, I took the “practical path” and earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. While in college I spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France, studying painting at the Leo Marchutz school of painting.
Those six months painting in Cezanne’s backyard were some of the most formative of my life. Since then, I’ve continued painting and studying at the Kansas City Art Institute and from various artists including Philomene Bennett, Ken Elliott, Barry Thomas and Casey Khlan.
What inspires you and your designs?
I consider myself a colorist first and foremost, as color is typically what inspires me most, and is the primary solution for my paintings. The color combinations and patterns of nature are beyond anything humans could create, and are a source of constant inspiration. Whenever I get “stuck” in my studio, I know it’s time to get outside for some new inspiration.
What is your favorite piece?
This is an oil painting I did several years ago when I was starting to take painting seriously as a career. I love the soft pastel colors, and it reminds of a very special time in my life.
How has your area influenced your work?
Kansas City is an amazing place for an artist to live and work today. The arts are huge in this town and there is tremendous support and opportunity for working artists here. The Crossroads area and the West Bottoms, where my studio is located, are full of affordable studio space, galleries, live theater and organizations that support the arts. Plus, we’re within walking distance of Kansas City’s newest arts gem, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
What is your favorite restaurant in Kansas City?
I adore my neighborhood french bistro, Aixois. It’s always full of great people, great food and the best wine!
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what my city is famous for – the country’s best BBQ. My current favorites are Q39
and Oklahoma Joe’s.
What is your favorite cocktail?
Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka. And tonic:-)
How do you balance personal life and work?
I’m still looking for a good answer to this question! I have four amazing kids and I love nothing more than being with them. But I also love painting, and I tend to get immersed in it, spending hours at the studio when I should be at home or running one of ten million errands. My husband is a huge help, and between the two of us, we manage to get it all done. But I wouldn’t say we’re very balanced:-)
My dream trip would be to return to Aix-en-Provence. I never imagined 25 years would go by without getting back to that magical town in the south of France. My dream would be to rent a house there for the summer with my family, painting Mount Saint-Victoire, a la Cezanne.
My dream commission would be one that involved a series of very large canvases and the complete freedom to cut loose with color and texture … let’s say for Google’s headquarters! … or one that involved a scouting trip to the south of France.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
Christopher Elbow Chocolates. They’re edible works of art.
Who is your style icon?
No one person comes to mind, but the style I admire is classic, relaxed with a touch of the unexpected.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
There are so many amazing and talented emerging artists right now, but a couple that really speak to me at the moment are Yolanda Sanchez
and Marie Theres Berger.
They both work with abstract florals, which is probably my favorite motif.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family and my faith.
What are you reading?
I also love new fiction – I just read a great novel by Nancy Freund called Rapeseed,
and I’m currently immersed in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
What are you listening to?
The real answer? My teenagers come down to my studio and set me up on Spotify with whatever they think is cool at the moment! But if I’m picking the music, it’s Mumford and Sons, Fleetwood Mac or Frank Sinatra currently.
A peek at a few of my favorites from Kirsten McGannon’s diverse portfolio.
and my favorite!!!!
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