Kathryn Henneman Painting for the us in Brush

Article by MARY L. HOLDEN

Creation of his or her own reality is the task of every individual. It is the same for artists who create works of art meant to bring beauty into our individual eyes and worlds. The modern artist who appreciates this relationship is Arizona native Kathryn Henneman. In 1982, she discovered the trinity of pencils, pens, and pastels and used them to draw “elemental shapes.” An art collector saw these early works, purchased them, and thus created the reality of Henneman’s career as a professional artist. Westwood, California was the venue of her first show in 1985. Close to 100 people showed up and bought 90 percent of the work displayed. Since then, Henneman has expanded her ability to create impressionist pieces with acrylics, watercolors, textiles, and mixed media. Shows that included her ecosystems of color on canvas have been in: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Century City, and Palm Springs, California; Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; and in Florence, Rome, and Trento, Italy. Her art is part of the collection at Disney Studios in Burbank, the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Tokyo, 816 Congress in Austin, and in the corporate office of Northern Trust in Phoenix. Henneman is represented at Casa Moderno in Palm Springs. Here is “Twelfth Night” on display: Henneman can work magic. For example, I sent her a photo of a wildflower and texted, “Abstract this tiny slice of Arizona color!” Within hours, she created “High Country Blooms,” a 24-by-36-inch mixed media on canvas, shown here in contrast to the photo: ITL: Some of your patrons have described your art as being “more than meets the eye.” What is the “more?” Henneman: The “more” is the unspoken emotion I feel when I’m painting, and when a viewer steps back and gasps in awe. This happens because I am intentional about the energy and vibration I put into the canvas and color. All my canvases are embedded with positive affirmations from my instincts and intuitions about the forms, the colors, and the clients. ITL: Which three artist personalities would you like to invite for tea and what would you discuss with them? Henneman: Eugène Delacroix. Grace Hartigan. Willem de Kooning. First, there would be a language barrier! I would speak Dutch to de Kooning and ask him how he felt about sharing his studio with his wife. Doesn’t every artist paint alone? In French, I would listen for Delacroix’s wisdom about the complex ways in which imagination merges with reality; the environment, the natural world. Hartigan would tell me about wanting to be the female version of abstractionist painter Hans Hoffman. I’d serve them Earl Grey tea with a homemade crostata filled with ripe summer fruits. ITL: What was the best advice you received over the course of your career and how did it change your perspective? Henneman: A stranger stopped at my booth at the Los Angeles Art Expo and told me she was going to give me $5,000 worth of consulting advice. She said, “Always use your full name.” I followed her advice and discovered that using my name honors my identity as an artist. ITL: What’s most important to you in being an artist—your eyes, your heart, or_____? Henneman: My intuition. If I lacked intuition, I would not be an artist. Intuition is what calls in inspiration, the energy of other artists who know what it means to do this work and gives me the power to create. Jonathan Swift wrote, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Henneman saw the word us inside “brush” and honors it. “Every painting I do is embedded with deliberate energy,” she says, “whether it is in inspiration from a string or words, a sight I remember, or, a wish for the people who purchase one of my paintings, I’m able to imbue more than just paint onto a canvas. I put my intentions for humanity’s betterment in all the art I create.” It’s her way of celebrating the reality of you, and me…and all of us.