The sculptural quality of my figure and still life paintings are infused and informed by my Italian heritage. In my paintings I am always searching for that tactile feeling one gets when holding a piece of fabric, touching one’s own skin or detecting the direction of a breeze. I attempt to take the viewer beyond the surface of the canvas inviting one to ‘walk right in and sit down’.
My work has always been influenced by my first exposure to art, the Italian and German Renaissance Masters and then later the Pre Raphaelites and the Impressionists. Even when it was not fashionable to paint in the classical realist style I continued to do so. Recently I have discovered a group of painters called Abstract Realists of which I am now a student. My new work is concerned with beginning a painting with abstract form and then finishing the painting with all of the values and subtle innuendoes of treatment of edges, color relationships and more. This approach ostensibly makes painting all about the process and not about the subject being painted. Ironically the results of this process potentially shows the subject in the most beautiful light and form imaginable.”
Portraits have always been my first love and they will be my last. I also enjoy landscape and still life and love to incorporate one of both into the portrait I am painting. One of my favorite paintings, 'The Boating Party' by Renoir includes all three genres, portrait, landscape and still life in the most delightful way. The most wonderful light of the outdoors when it plays across the features of someone’s face and garment provides a truly fascinating complexity of color, form, structure and depth of field. There is also something to be said for the portrait existing within the simple environment of a single color story. The face tells it all, the expression draws us in and suddenly we feel we know that person. Through portraiture I seek connection with the viewer.
I discovered that I loved painting murals after moving to Southern California and became aware of all the public murals that are plentiful in this city. The Metropolitan Water District hired me to design and lead 30 art students in the painting of a mural entitled “The Story of Water” which was displayed around the outside of the current location for two years while that building was being constructed. The mural is now in storage waiting to be installed permanently at a visitor center in the Owen’s Valley.
The most unusual and unexpected mural I have ever had the good fortune to be commissioned for was a special project of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in the Lynwood County Jail. The site of the mural is inside of one of the modules that housed Veterans of the United States Armed Forces. A one thousand square foot mural depicting scenes such as the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, the Vietnam Memorial, Desert Storm, and fireman raising the flag at the site of the World Trade Center, among others, was designed and painted under my direction by 13 inmates that assisted me.
Currently I am part of a company that is painting a mural in The Misfit Organic Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA. I’m part of the design team and I’m painting the figures and the other artist is painting the landscapes. This collaborative project is very close to my heart because the subject of the mural is inspired by the American Impressionist Illustrators of the 1930’s including Howard Chandler Christy that painted the murals in the Cafe de Artistes in New York City. The images are of young innocent women frolicking in the woods and secluded streams and ponds. Lots of fun, excitement and major challenges of painting nearly 1000 square feet eighteen feet up in the air plus 9 feet high to the ceiling. Being up on the scaffolding and using a scissor lift to hoist me up there has provided many humorous moments and lively conversation.
Kathryn Donatelli is a portrait artist, still life painter, mural painter and book illustrator. Born in 1947 in New Jersey Kathryn relocated to Los Angeles in 1986. She has received more than 300 portrait commissions, designed, painted and installed over a dozen Private, Corporate and Public murals and has illustrated 3 children's books. Her work has been exhibited in over 10 juried shows from New York City to Los Angeles including a national juried show. Kathryn is member of The California Art Club and The California Art League. She is proficient in several mediums including oil, pastel, watercolor, charcoal, and acrylic.
Private Collections: Glynn and JoAn Turman, JoMarie Payton, David and Elaine Marmel, Dick O’Neill, Gold Coast Capital Investment.
Education: Graduate, DuCret School of Fine and Industrial Art. Illustration and Watercolor 1, 2 and 3, Los Angeles City College.
Workshop, The 7 Color Contrasts of Johannes Itten, Beverly Cassell. Workshop, Nicolaides The Science of Drawing, Beverly Cassell. Workshop, Master Portrait Painting, David Leffel.
Workshop, Still Life Painting, Kline Academy, Stacy Kamin.