Kathy Beekman (born 1971) is an American contemporary pastel painter.
Kathy Beekman was born in Evanston, Illinois, in April 1971. She is the first of four children of Edward Morris and Mary Lou (Thieme) Morris. She spent the first four years of her life in Illinois before moving with her family to Fort Wayne, Indiana. There her childhood days were filled by playing outdoors in the woods, playing games of hide and seek on her thickly foliaged property, and spending an endless amount of time drawing, coloring and daydreaming. Both her father and mother were educators in schools as were four of her aunts and an uncle.
Beekman remembers knowing that she was an artist at the age of four and was often introduced by her parents as their daughter “the artist”. While in grade school, her mother approached a professor of fine art to see if it would be a good idea to initiate art lessons for Kathy. The woman suggested that Kathy be encouraged to continue with art on her own and that her talent would naturally develop. A high school art teacher continued to encourage her through her years of secondary school and suggested that she apply for an art scholarship to what is now Siena Heights University, Michigan. She received a first place art scholarship and attended the University for four years. Their undergraduate art program at the time approached education in a similar manner to that of a graduate program; very little direction was given to the students as it was up to them to explore possibilities and exhaust ideas. This style of critical thinking led Beekman to develop her own artistic style.
She graduated from Siena Heights University in 1993 with honors and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her first jobs after college were working for a small picture framing business and for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, where she painted 200-foot-wide backdrops, one of which was televised on the program Good Morning America. She was also the props mistress which involved the managing, sourcing and collecting of props. Beekman then returned to school attending Indiana Purdue University of Fort Wayne where she concentrated in Archaeology. There she met her future husband Chris Beekman, an archaeologist, and the two were married in 1999.
In 2000, Beekman lived in Jalisco, Mexico, and worked alongside her husband on his archaeological project. She excavated in the field and rendered project artifact illustrations. It was while on this particular project that she began to build her first significant body of artwork since graduating from college
During the latter part of 2000 and beginning of 2001, Beekman and her husband lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was here that she began showing her work in galleries. The first body of work consisted of pastel paintings which portrayed Southwestern and Mexican adobe architecture.
Late in 2001 another move took the Beekmans to Denver, Colorado. There Beekman began showing her artwork in local and then regional galleries. Her subject matter changed to portray that of rural countrysides. About this same time, the director of the Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colorado, contacted her and asked if she would consider teaching adults the art of pastel painting. Beekman began teaching painting workshops and private lessons on a regular basis.
During the fall of 2005, Chris and Kathy took a Thanksgiving trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their plan was to relax and enjoy the city and find a gallery for Kathy's paintings. With portfolio in hand, she approached the Blaire Carnahan Gallery on Canyon Road. The gallery director and owner both agreed the paintings would be a good fit. Before the end of the conversation, Beekman's paintings were hanging on the gallery's walls.
The gallery owner, though successful, retired in just over a year's time of carrying Kathy's artwork. Kathy contacted the Canyon Road Contemporary Art gallery to see if they had interest in carrying her paintings. The owner immediately took a look at her website and said, “You are exactly the type of painter we have been looking for." Ownership of the gallery has changed hands and has been in business for well over thirty years. Beekman's paintings continued to be one of the gallery's top sellers. In 2018, she reunited with the original owner of the Canyon Road Contemporary Art gallery. He purchased, in the summer of 2018, Marigold Arts which is situated on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is once again happily representing Beekman's highly collected paintings.
Career coaching for artists
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In 2006, Beekman began being approached by others wanting to know how to make it as a professional artist. At that time, she added career coaching for artists as another service that her business “Beekman Fine Art & Design” offered.
As an art coach, she advises and encourages visual artists to develop not only as artists but as business people. She teaches based on her skills of knowing the right questions to ask and providing her clients with the correct tools so that they may empower their career or their creative life.
Supporting visual artists of all kinds, she helps them to clarify goals and take sensible new risks in order for them to quickly advance within their career. As a coach, she not only works with the creatives to help move them forward at an accelerated pace by holding them accountable when it comes to completing tasks in a timely manner, but gauges the right amount of work to keep them from becoming overwhelmed.
During the summer of 2013 she authored a book, Prosper, A Success Book for Artists, and in the same year began creating webinars, which were made available on the Internet, in which she focuses directly on art marketing-related topics.
Style and technique
Beekman has a painting style she can call her own. She never took a pastel painting workshop or lesson and so never exposed herself to the opportunity of “copying” another artist's painting style. Her contemporary style has been compared to that of Edward Hopper. Highly stylized barnscapes have proven to be a favorite among art collectors. These colorful barnscapes have been described as: nostalgic, moody, atmospheric, spacious, haunting, beautiful, dreamy and familiar.
Beekman does not use soft pastel in a traditional manner; rather than using the soft pastel stick to draw, she paints with it. At least fifty percent of each painting is finger-painted. Her favorite tool is her right pinky finger. Early in her career she used a variety of colored printmaking paper on which to paint. After just a few years, she turned to a black printmaking paper which she has since used exclusively as her “canvas”.
- Beekman, Kathy (2014). Prosper: A Success Book For Artists. ISBN 9781482688771.
- Beekman, Kathy (2016). "Kathy Beekman Resume" (PDF). Kathy Beekman. Beekman Fine Art and Design. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
- Beekman, Christopher S. (2000). "The Correspondence of Regional Patterns and Local Strategies in Formative to Classical Period West Mexico". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 19: 389. doi:10.1006/jaar.1999.0354.
- Morehouse, Ruth. "Meet Kathy Beekman". JustAroundHere.com. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
- Ganglehoff, Bonnie (November 2008), “Artist to Watch”. Southwest Art magazine pages 50–51
- Red Contemporary Art Gallery (2011). Marketing brochure.
- Ouimet, Nancy, owner of Canyon Road Contemporary Art Gallery (2014). Advertisement.