Growing up in Oklahoma, Kathleen McElwaine said she got into trouble before she discovered art. She spent many days with her aunt and uncle, who frequented the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and gifted McElwaine her first sketch pad and pencil.
“Inside the museum, there was an attic that artists could rent space in. I loved going up there and watching the artists,” she said. “I would lay on the floor and draw whatever they were doing. I was proud of it, and it didn’t really matter what it looked like. I quit getting in trouble so much because I was busy drawing.”
McElwaine began sketching whatever was in front of her, especially the view from her father’s pickup truck.
“Nature was everything. I didn’t even know anything else existed except the trees and the woods and the paths that I could see from the front seat of the truck,” she said. “I drew the people. I drew the cowboys. I drew the horses tied up to the trailer and the kids playing in the dust.”
Western influences are evident in much of McElwaine’s work, which ranges from postcard-size flowers done in watercolor to oil portraits of animals. In late 2013, the Leander artist opened a studio in downtown Georgetown, where she offers workshops for $45.
“I say artist is a verb. It’s the act of doing,” she said. “I really encourage my students to think about art from out of their imagination. I teach them to play with color.”
McElwaine said she hopes to gain new students and continue painting original works to sell online and at Artisans Connect, a Georgetown art gallery. She is also launching her own line of art kits, which include a water color palette, paper, traceable images and instructions.
Kathleen McElwaine’s art is available at Artisans Connect, 122 E. 8th St., Georgetown, www.kmcelwaine.com
Her next watercolor workshop is scheduled for April 16 at the Leander Chamber of Commerce, 100 N. Brushy St., Leander.