Animals & People
Botanicals
About the Artist
KATHY J. IMEL

Kathy Imel began drawing in black and white
almost thirty years ago.  But only after enrolling
in the Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical
Illustration Certificate Program did she take
the plunge into color.  Graduating from that
program in 1998, she has since shown her art
in regional, national, and international group
shows, exhibiting works in graphite/charcoal,
pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor, and
pastel.  Her work is included in numerous
publications and in public and private collections. 

Kathy is a Master Signature Member and former Director and officer of the Pastel Society of Colorado. She is also an Associate Member of the Pastel Society of America. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Denver-area Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and was formerly an appointed member of the Adams County Cultural Council.  She is the past President of the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Kathy has studied with a variety of instructors, including both pastel and oil painters (Desmond O'Hagan, Jill Soukup, Duane Wakeham, Colleen Howe, Bruce Gomez, Dennis Rhoades, Terrie Lombardi, and Tony Ortega) and botanical artists (Jean Emmons, Carol Woodin, Kate Nessler, Martha Kemp, Scott Rawlins, Angela Ovary, Marg Leggitt, and Libby Kyer).  
 

Artist's Statement:
"My work is an attempt to distill light through the use of color.  Distillation is defined as the process of retaining the essential feature or components of something, in this case light, while removing nonessentials.

I began my career as a botanical illustrator. Illustration is all about meticulous, time-consuming, detailed accuracy.  All the "rules" about botanical art were extremely confining artistically.  So I took a pastel workshop with the hope that it would loosen me up, since it is practically impossible to get the same level of detail with pastel.  But what I discovered was not only that I was able to be looser and go bigger, but that the intensity and range of colors available in pastel (no mixing involved!) allowed for a luminosity that I had not been able to achieve in botanical art (using colored pencil, watercolor, or graphite).
 
When I first started in pastel, I was still pretty "tight" in my execution -- I spent tons of time on the background drawing, putting in lots of detail.  Over the years since, I have been able to simplify the shapes and focus the light through color to get more of the essence of the subject than just a photorealistic representation.

Even so, I remain more detailed with the animals that I paint. I think that if an animal drawing isn't exact and correct, it will throw off the viewer's eye. As a result, I still tend to put more details into the animals themselves, but have gotten more simplified with the environment within which the animal exists, and I play more with the colors I use.  Nothing makes me happier than animals of every kind, so spending time painting them is a double bonus!

I hope that viewers will see in my work the wonder and reverence I feel for nature and light. I invite them to stop and study each piece and gain the same appreciation I feel for the natural world we live in. I find myself smiling when I contemplate the majesty of the world, and the most gratifying feeling I experience as an artist comes when I see a hint of that same smile on the face of someone viewing my work.
"


Publications:
"Today's Botanical Artists" (2008) - Cora B. Marcus and Libby Kyer;  Schiffer Publishing (www.schifferbooks.com)
        - one of 65 American botanical artists showcased in this book
"Pastel 100 - Animals and Wildlife" - Pastel Journal, April, 2008
Numerous issues of the regional newsletter of the RMSBA


Exhibitions, Awards, and Competitions:
   International/National/Regional - Juried:
"Wild Colorado" - Audubon Nature Center, Littleton, CO (2016)
            - Best in Show
"Mile High International Pastel Exhibit" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2016)
"Wild Colorado" - Audubon Nature Center, Littleton, CO (2015)
            - Best in Show
"Paint the Poudre Plein Air" - Morgan Library Gallery, CSU, Fort Collins, CO (2015)
            - 1st Place
"UART International Online Pastel Competition (2015)
            - Honorable Mention
"Colorado Plein Air Festival" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2015)
"Evergreen Center for the Arts Plein Air Show" - Evergreen, CO (2015)
"Mile High International Pastel Exhibit" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2015)
"Western Spirit Art Show" - Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Cheyenne, WY (2009, 2010, 2012,2014, 2015, 2017)
"Colorado Plein Air Festival" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2014)
            - Honorable Mention
"Mile High International Pastel Exhibit" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2014)
"Plein Air Artists of Colorado Exhibit" - Abend Gallery of Fine Art, Denver, CO (2014)
"Paint the Poudre Plein Air" - Carnegie Library Gallery, Fort Collins, CO (2014)
"Colorado Plein Air Festival" - Denver Public Library Gallery, Denver, CO (2013)
            - 1st Place
            - Honorable Mention
"Mile High International Pastel Exhibit" - Western Arts Center, Grand Junction, CO (2013)
"Paint the Poudre Plein Air" - AANC Gallery, Fort Collins, CO (2013)
            - Honorable Mention
"Mile High International Pastel Exhibit" - Curtis Art Gallery, Greenwood Village, CO (2011)
Wyoming Plein Air Event - The Link Gallery, Cheyenne, WY (2010)
            - Honorable Mention
"Pastel National 2010" - Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS (2010)
"Mile High National Pastel Exhibit" - Longmont Museum, Longmont, CO (2009)
"National Juried Exhibition 2009" - Artists Association of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins, CO (2009)
Wyoming Plein Air Event - The Link Gallery, Cheyenne, WY (2009)
"All Colorado Art Show" - Curtis Arts & Humanities Center, Greenwood Village, CO (2009)
"Pastel 100 International Online
Competion" - Pastel Journal (2008)
        - 2nd place:  Animals & Wildlife
"Colorado Visions" -  North Metro Arts Alliance, Westminster, CO (2008)
        - Honorable Mention
        - Purchase Award
"17th Annual National Exhibition" - New Mexico Pastel Society, Hispanic Arts Center, Albuquerque, NM (2008)
"Artists Alpine Holiday" - Ouray, CO (2007)
        - Honorable Mention: Drawing
Mile High National Pastel Exhibit - Red Brick Art Center, Aspen, CO (2007)
"Beauty of Botany" - International exhibition: Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA (2006)
"Orchids in Contemporary Botanical Art" - International exhibition: Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA (2006)
"Mile High National Pastel Exhibit" - Denver, CO (2004, 2006)
        -Honorable mention: Contemporary (2006)
"Nature Painted" - Desert Sonoran Museum, Tucson, AZ (2004)
1st ASBA North American Western Region Exhibit -  Loveland Museum/Gallery, Loveland, CO (2003)
"From the Garden" - Lakewood Arts Council, Lakewood, CO (2001, 2003)
"On Land and Sea" - Lakewood Arts Council, Lakewood, CO (2001)
Third Annual Botanical Illustration Show - Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, CO (1999)

   Group/Invitational - Non-juried:
"Pairings Project" - One person invitational show, Thornton Senior Center Gallery, Thornton, CO (2015)
"Journeys" - Signature Member exhibit of the Pastel Society of Colorado, Lakewood Cultural Center (2015)
"Three Person Invitational Show" - Byers-Evans House Gallery, Denver, CO (2014)
"Holiday Miniature Invitational Show" - AUM Gallery, Denver, CO (2014)
"Spring Invitational Show" - AUM Gallery, Denver, CO (2014)
"Mask Project" - Fort Collins Museum of Art, Fort Collins, CO (2014, 2015, 2016)
"Holiday Miniature Invitational Show" - AUM Gallery, Denver, CO (2013)
"We Went Outside to Paint" - Broomfield Auditorium Gallery, Broomfield, CO (2012)
"Pure Pigment - Colorado in Pastel" - The Oz Gallery, Thornton, CO (2011)
"Beauty of the Earth" - TASHCO invitational show, Thornton, CO (2010)
        - Best of Show
        - 1st Place
        - People's Choice
        - Honorable Mention
Pastel Society of Colorado - Annual member shows (2007 - 2014)
"Two Women Drawing Plants" - Two person invitational show, Federal Heights, CO (2002)
"Spring Blooms in the Rockies" - Annual group show of the RMSBA, Evergreen, CO
        - Runner-up: People's Choice Award (2001)
"Orchids as Art" - Group show of the RMSBA and the Denver Orchid Society (2001,2002,2003)
        - 2nd Place: Black and white (2002)
        - 2nd Place: Watercolor (2001)
        - 3rd Place: Black & white (2001)
"Botanical in Nature" - Group show: Denver Botanic Gardens' Colorado Flora Project
"Colorado Native Plants" - Group show (2003):  Lakewood Cultural Center, CO
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About the Artist
Landscapes
Copyright 2017, Kathy J. Imel
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Aerial Abstractions