It’s An Original

Kathleen Grandjean
Original Watercolors & Limited Edition Prints

It was fortunate for Kathleen Grandjean to get her education in art, in the right place at the right time. In the 60’s, after moving to California from central Indiana, Kathleen had the opportunity to attend Ramona High School in Riverside. Ramona placed a big emphasis on the arts and it was there that an inspiring teacher introduced her to watercolor, which would become a lifetime passion. Well-known Southern California watercolor artists like Rex Brandt were a big influence on her too. She majored in art and graphic design in college in Long Beach.

After a few yeas as a graphic designer for a large printing company, Kathleen married and traveled the United States and Europe with her Air Force husband for almost 20 years, visiting art museums and historical sites in cities with an endless supply of both. During those years she was stashing away ideas and emotions about how she wanted to paint. For a number of years, she put a hold on her painting to take advantage of the resurgence of interest in needlepoint. With a need to earn some money during her husband’s years of medical school and residency in Dallas and Fort Worth, she established a successful business selling her original designs on needlepoint canvases. Her dad gave her $50 to buy her first roll of canvas at a wholesale price and she was off and running. For almost 5 years she designed canvases and paid stay-at-home moms to paint for her, eventually selling her work to many needlework shops in Dallas, Fort Worth and Kansas City, Kansas. The needlepoint craze died down, as did her business. It was back to watercolor, but with more maturity, patience, and a willingness to work hard to grow as an artist.

Always, there has been the need to create, although she’s not as prolific as she like to be. She hasn’t settled on one trademark subject matter, so her work represents portraits of people and animals, landscapes, flowers and nature, buildings, interiors—whatever inspires her when she sits down to create. Painting something complicated up close, so she can concentrate on the detail, is what she loves most. Her work, “Mama’s Things”, probably illustrates this best. In 2010 she became a Signature Member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society. In the future Kathleen will continue to paint in the realistic style, although she always trying to be braver and more daring in her work. She’s a traditionalist, so she refuses to succumb to other water-based media, which are more forgiving of mistakes. With her love of color, she tries to create nuances of color by overlaying different pigments to create depth of light and shadows. Transparent watercolor always challenges, often frustrates, but never bores. Thank you to Mr. Stoever, the high school teacher who inspired her.