KATHY KEHOE BAMBECK
Fine Art, Illustration, Photography
At the heart of Kathy Kehoe Bambeck’s 2015 abstract series ‘Smoulder’ is a lifelong artistry in realistic detail. Lacing acrylic with unique textures and gold leaf, her visually exciting technique produces a fluid three dimensionality that almost jumps off the canvas while drawing the viewer into its depths.
Never a trend follower, and inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts and the more contemporary Klimt, Kathy’s use of gold leaf first evolved when a client commissioned a series of orchid paintings. To coordinate with their decor, she added texture and gold leaf. Her ‘Gold Orchid II’ received Judges’ Choice Award in Newport Beach, California in 2007.
Kathy grew up near Disneyland in Southern California and knew she would be an artist from the age of five. She garnered art awards through grammar and high school receiving the Bank of America Achievement Award in Art at graduation. Though also passionate about piano and ballet, two dimensional art was her ultimate calling.
After her first year in art school at California State University Fullerton, and fueled by a love of the Renaissance Period, she toured Europe absorbing the art and architecture of Paris, Rome, Florence, Switzerland and Greece. Later on she would sketch and paint in Ireland, China and Canada. She transferred to California State University Long Beach and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History in 1976. On scholarship at the then Laguna Beach School of Art, she continued her studies in life drawing. Her work was shown in that gallery – stylized renderings in charcoal.
Never lacking commissions since her teens, Kathy’s impressive body of work includes the mastery of calligraphy, multitudes of detailed watercolor/pen & ink home portrait commissions, murals, illustration and graphics, photography, Plein Air painting, faux stained glass, periods highlighted by swan, castle, beach and botanical themes, as well as oil portraiture. Over the years, she participated in many juried art shows and exhibitions collecting fans everywhere.
In her twenties, Kathy worked for a high-end gallery in Tustin, California learning the nuances of selling art, framing and contemporary styles. While working at that gallery, she was commissioned by Warren Sheets, Designer, to do a large pink and purple swan watercolor for display at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles for his Room of the Month. During that time she was able to spend a thrilling few days at a Picasso exhibition encompassing four floors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Success selling her original detailed watercolor and ink botanicals to interior decorators allowed her to finally quit her day job.
In 2007, Kathy entered the retail world. Combining her business sense with her layers of artistic skills, she now owns Kathy’s Art, Etc. – Home of Kathy Kehoe Bambeck Gallery & Kathy’s Postal Plus in Big Bear Lake, California. Kathy’s work caught the eye of one of Thomas Kinkade’s long time agent, Lynn Lawson, who has advised and encouraged her in her art.
Kathy considers her talent a spiritual gift, complimenting her life’s purpose. She grew up inspired by her talented Uncle John – a contemporary of Diego Rivera in Los Angeles, and her Grandma Kehoe – first among women accepted into The Chicago Institute of Art – who had a passion for Winslow Homer.
“If you study the early works of artists such as Picasso, Monet, Leger or Mondrian,” Kathy believes, “you will see a mastery of the hard core basics of art: drawing, design, color theory, perspective.” She strongly feels that these skills, along with that passionate spark, are the foundation for ALL good painting, even abstract. As a teacher and mentor once told her, “Learn the basics first. Then forget them and tap into your personal truth and create!” That is exactly how Kathy Kehoe Bambeck’s recent abstract work has evolved.
Kathy lives on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California, with her husband Robert. She makes time for a few select art students with a desire to first learn the fundamentals of art.
Studios in Newport Beach & Big Bear Lake, California