My Website is named Katnaj short for Kathy Najera. As a child I was a nature lover.. I found myself walking in paths and observing nature. I lived near the Gulf in Florida and was awed by many things when i was young. Seeing a lobster in the clear water. Also a chameleon changing from brown to green right at my feet. Seeing a deer with huge antlers.. Even though I only lived there a couple of years I remember Florida as one of the most beautiful places. I've lived in the East most of my life so I'm used to the 4 changing seasons. Most of my travels have also been in the East but have visited Western states as far as California.
I have spent much of my time in the field of Art throughout my life. I recognized that I had an interest in Art as early as grade school
and won an Honorable Mention award in an 8th grade Art competition. I continued my interest and talent in College but did not pursue a serious career in Art at the time. After marriage and raising my son and after pursuing a different career I realized again that Art was a major interest of mine and became very important to me. I got involved in Pastel and painting. I was tutored and at the time became a member of The Maryland Pastel Society where I exhibited my work.
I've studied different mediums but
paint mostly with acrylic and soft pastel. I like the richness, and vibrancy of acrylic paint. Also the water solubility and quick drying time. I also like the versatility of dry pastel. I have moved into different styles as I developed my creativity.
Some of my influences in my styles are from Matisse, Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Ross. Although many of my influences are reflected in my paintings, some are not intentional.
I tend to be focused on details with a tendency towards design.
I paint many subjects such as still life, landscapes, animal and wildlife art. I like to paint animals in their natural habitat as well as zoo environments.
Other things that fascinate me are the celestial bodies such as the Earth, Sun, ,Moon and stars. There's a kind of mystery and wonder about them.
I studied the fundamentals of drawing and design, light and shadow in College and am very inspired by how colors are effected by them.
My jewelry making is a creative outlet for designing and color usage. When i started my jewelry making I was interested in combining different materials such as wood beads and glass. The designing aspect of jewelry making was my reason for getting involved with this craft however the craftsmanship took a little time to learn and create interesting pieces. Since I feel that my designing ability overrides my craftsmanship I decided my jewelry sets showed more designing skill rather than the actual skill of making these pieces.. Therefore I decided to exhibit my designs rather than sell them.
I have studied drawing and designing at Prince George's Community College. I studied oil painting at Montpelier Laurel Art Center and watercolor at Howard Community College. I was tutored by renowned Artist mostly with Pastel. There is some influence from them that developed over time. I've also been a member of the Maryland Pastel Society. I've read many books written on specific topics by other Professional Artists such as Pastel techniques, animal drawing, ocean waves, color usage, composition and many other specifics in Art.
Art for me is a continual learning process that never stops. I've learned from experience especially in different mediums. However I have stayed with Acrylics and Pastel as well as graphite pencil. I've learned from each medium. Although different mediums present different challenges there are many similarities with them.
I have sold many of my paintings. I have been commissioned to do artwork where I did house and pet portraits. Unfortunately I do not have photos of my commissioned work. The largest house portrait I did was for a woman I worked with. It was my biggest project and sold for $600. Many of my wildlife and landscapes have sold as well.
I taught painting classes for the disabled and challenged individuals as I have a disability myself. I found it very rewarding to see their creations under my instruction.
I served the community as a Dental Hygienist for 25 years but no longer practice. I am focused solely on my art now.