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Kathleen Harper

Artist's Profile

Actias Luna

Just about every artist's statement I've read begins somewhat the same..."I've been making art for as long as I remember." This is true about me, "Actias Luna" (Kathleen Harper) as well. My mother probably got me started in art. She had a sketchpad full of pencil drawings she had made as a teenager from movie starlet head shots, and her drawing skills at that age were excellent. I followed her examples, and went off on artistic tangents of my own as well. The first drawing of mine that got taped to the fridge door was a more "abstract" picture, a dense crayon scribble picture of an imaginary beast, the name of the beast written in orange crayon around the entire edge of the piece of white construction paper.

In grade school, I competed with the boys who drew cartoon cars with flames on their sides, and drew Bigger, Better, Faster Cars With More Flames. I drew pictures for the mimeographed school newspaper, and when I started junior high school I started making portraits of the other students in colored pencil and pastel, which sold (basically because I drew them in flattering ways). My snack money in junior high came mostly from my "art sales."

I continued the portrait drawing through high school, and when I got to college the academic world of art smacked me in the face. I fought tooth and nail with one of my professors, got along well with the others, and ended up with a first year C average because I was unwilling to bend to the old school department head's wishes that I FOLLOW THE RULES.

For a little while, disillusioned with Fine Arts as taught by the college, I studied landscape design and discovered that I was much better at drawing the plants than I was at designing landscapes that actually worked. So I concentrated on art instead, and was fortunate to get a job as a graphic artist at a university that gave tuition wavers to employees. The art department there was much more progressive and much more forgiving than my first college, so I thrived and produced hundreds of watercolors and mixed media paintings, got really excited about studying art history, and generally found at least part of my artistic voice.

That voice is still developing, and has been enhanced by my interests in photography and computer-manipulated digital photography and art as well as by the encouragement and example of one of my old housemates, who is also an EBSQ artist (Cynthia Gaub). The bulk of my EBSQ portfolio is work from 2003-2005, photo collage assemblages I created for an art-a-day challenge for a local gallery. The rest of the portfolio is sketches and photographs I have made over the past few years, some of which are intended to go into a book with poetry I have written.

I hope I continue loving art and making art for as long as I can, and I intend to keep BREAKING THE RULES that old art professor wanted me to adhere to for as long as I make art. --Actias Luna

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