Kate Worm Biography

My paintings are often described as painterly realism.  Even as my work moves in a more abstract direction the term fits.  All my paintings and collages evolve from careful figurative observation and reflection from life.  My imagination enters when exploring oils, watercolor or paper to express some impulse derived from watching and seeing.  Sometimes I spend less time painting and more time looking, although the looks turn into day dreams as I look away and glance back.  I would like people to take more time to experience the beauty and interest in every area of our lives including the most mundane moments.  I wish people would reflect more and be less busy.  If my paintings inspire others to perceive beauty, then I feel I’ve contributed something important to life.

I’ve studied with many fine painters at classes and workshops including Wayne Thiebaud, Wolf Kahn, James Kerr, and Charles Movali.  The greatest influence was Andrew Martin, Professor of Painting at UNCG, now deceased.  I worked with Andy for eight semesters as a special graduate student.  Andy was a painter in NYC at one time working with Hans Hoffman before coming to NC in the ‘70’s.  He helped his students explore realism in very contemporary ways and was a fine colorist.

I never approach my work as painting a figure, still life, or landscape.  I want to make a painting that may include these elements.  Figures and objects and the shapes that surround them have to relate to the format of the painting.  The format means the edges and proportion of the canvas.  The first consideration in placing a model or still life elements is light/dark and color contrast looking for an over all dominance of value and hue.  I often paint from the shadow side to create more drama with the lighting. Diagonal placement of properties adds liveliness and helps give the illusion of space.  I love exploring the quality of paint.  Besides smelling good, the characteristics of oil can provide contrast in the surface of the painting.  I create veils of color with thin washes or apply the paint with a thick impasto.  Sometimes, I let a thick swipe of paint partially dry and carve back through it or scrape it down excavating a color or image beneath it.

I’m a Special Ed teacher by training with many years experience.  Currently, one half day a week, I’m an Art Consultant at a studio affiliated with Western Carolina Center for Disabled Adults.  I’m mentoring two very gifted individuals, Harold Crowell and Brooks Yeomans, whose work is becoming well-known nationally and internationally in the Outsider Art community.  I don’t teach painting, but rather help them approach their body of work by providing inspiring experiences and basic organization.  I’ve gained tremendously from this experience by witnessing Harold’s and Brooks’ incredible production and commitment to a most unique vision.  I’ve been teaching one of North Carolina's Art Museums  for 12 years and currently serve on a very limited basis as the High School and Adult Educator.  Working in a facility that has such a vast collection of beautiful art is very inspiring.