Cool Girls with Tag: artist

Kathy Lemke Waste

Name: Kathy Lemke Waste, Sacramento, CA
Website: www.lemkewaste.com
Occupation:  Artist, President, Board of Directors, American Women Artists, a nonprofit dedicated to getting work by women artists into museums.
Represented by:  Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ

At age 7, Kathy Lemke Waste had painted her first landscape. Although she started creating art at such a young age, it took her some time to become comfortable with the idea of art as a profession.

“I came to full time painting from a teaching career in Communication Studies. I could teach college students about public speaking, drama or debate but had trouble convincing myself it was OK to be an artist,” she says. “I left academe after 15 years of full time teaching, well short of the usual retirement age. I felt a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to succeed as an artist, to replace a teaching salary with an equivalent amount as a self-employed artist. I’d always studied art, taking classes and workshops throughout my teaching career, but leaving an established career for the art world was a big, scary step.”

Her bravery paid off, and was paid forward. Kathy currently serves on the board of directors for American Women Artists, an organization that gave her one of her first “big breaks” and helped her to get into the Munson Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As the President, she’s kept busy. “I wear many hats: fundraiser, friend-raiser and general rabble-rouser in support of women artists,” she says.

“During the course of my tenure on the board, we’ve come to understand how important it is for art by women to be seen in museums: the repositories of our cultural heritage,” Kathy says. “If an artist’s work is represented in the permanent collections of art museums, the value of the artist’s entire body of work increases.”

That’s how Kathy and the AWA began the “25 in 25” initiative, which is an effort to establish 25 museum shows over the next 25 years in order to bolster visibility of female artists, whose art comprises only 5% of the permanent collections of art museums both here in the United States as well as around the globe.

“Currently, we’ve booked exhibitions with American museums from New York to California through 2020.  As part of that effort, we’re reaching out to build a Patron base of men and women who support our efforts and are stepping up to help us build this lasting legacy,” Kathy says.

As both a champion for women artists and an artist herself, Kathy dedicates her time to her craft, which is just as much work as a “regular” 9-5.

“[How] I make a living as an artist is to teach painting workshops, so I am still a teacher, only the subject matter has changed.  Being an artist is like any other job; you have to get up every day and go to work, even on the days you’re not feeling it,” she explains. “The myth of the muse: some people seem to think artists can only work when they’re feeling filled with creative inspiration. There will be good days and bad days, good art and bad art. You have to work through all of it to arrive at a place of peace with yourself and your decision to make art your way of life.”

For bringing visibility to female artists, through her artwork, her teaching, and her work with American Women Artists, we think Kathy Waste is a very Cool Girl!

Check out Kathy’s work, both in paint and AWA, at Bonner David Galleries, her personal website, Instagram, and AmericanWomenArtists.org.

Gayle Wheatley

Name: Gayle Wheatley
Age: That’s top secret!
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Freelance artist and writer

At the age of five, Gayle Wheatley would paint in the studio next to her father. This early creative influence echoes across her paintings today. “My favorite subjects back then included purple unicorns with manes of fire, and underwater worlds. To this day if you look closely, fragments of those early obsessions are still present in much of my work, in updated form of course!”

Gayle also began journaling early, at roughly the age of seven, and it’s a practice that she has rigorously maintained since that point on. “I’ve got stacks of notebooks,” she says. “They definitely make for some entertaining reading when I get bored!”

She also writes poetry inspired by her voyages, blogs about art and travel at CultureVixen.com, and she’s in the process of compiling a book of her paintings, photography, and poems inspired by her time in Iceland.

Although she’s a California native, Gayle has lived in Florence, Italy and Osaka, Japan, and her wanderlust has taken her to five continents, thirty countries, and over three-hundred cities. This international exploration has had a tremendous impact on her art and writing, keeping her invigorated and challenged. Next stop: New Zealand and Australia, the sixth continent on her list, followed by an artist residency in one of her favorite countries, Iceland!

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about Gayle’s multinational quest for stimulation and fodder for her work is the variety of situations she’s found herself in while on the road. She’s driven her car into quicksand in Iceland – “Boy does a car sink fast!” – been stranded on a Greek Island, gotten scammed into taking a fake floating market tour by a monk in Thailand, and she was picked up by German police in Munich when she got lost at Oktoberfest. Her adventuring often has been mouth-first; while gallivanting across the globe she’s consumed poisonous pufferfish, skewered salamanders, “stinky tofu,” putrefied shark, and the still-beating heart of a snake tossed in a shot of vodka in Tapei!

When she’s not traveling, eating exotic delicacies, playing her pineapple ukulele, drawing space ninjas, or practicing the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, Gayle sets out on individual artistic missions. “I’ve pushed boundaries with my creative goals,” she says. “One year I challenged myself to paint 100 paintings in under a year. I reached my goal in just ten months and have been painting up a storm ever since.” She credits those months with spurring a ton of personal growth, as her ambitious painting schedule forced her to overcome many of her weaknesses and to explore her strengths as a painter.

Most days, Gayle rises early in order to begin work in the studio. “I make sure to get in time for painting and writing when my mind is the most fresh,” she says. After lunch she buckles down and starts what she refers to as “serious work time,” where she tends to various freelance projects, marketing, and the details of maintaining her business and brand. Although it’s grueling, the rewards are great. “I think the biggest challenge to being a freelance artist is facing rejection on a daily basis, maintaining a healthy ego, and mustering up the courage to continue to follow an unconventional course in life,” she says. “You just have to accept the fact that not everyone is going to understand the need to put everything aside in order to dedicate yourself to creating art.”

For her tenacious traveling and artistic endeavors, we think Gayle Wheatley is a Cool Girl! Check out her art and writing at GayleWheatley.com, and follow her on Twitter @gaylewheatley