On a regular basis, artist Kathy Weber meets a friend at a local diner. The visit isn’t about eggs and bacon—or even in-depth conversation—it’s about taking in the surroundings.
“I sit there and sketch,” Weber says. She draws her fellow diners, who often eat too quickly for her to get down all the details, but it’s always a fun exercise. “I really enjoy drawing and painting people. There’s just something about drawing humans—the way they look, the way they move.”
A Massachusetts native, Weber has devoted her life to art. After studying painting at Boston College and UMASS -Dartmouth, she found work as a commercial artist, first designing newspaper ads, then illustrating greeting cards. After moving up the ladder over the course of a decade, she decided to strike out on her own and pursue a career as a freelance illustrator and oil painter. She has never looked back. Now, she complements her personal artistic pursuits with teaching others the art of painting and figure drawing. She teaches classes at several art centers near her home in East Providence.
Drawing inspiration from the simplicity and complexity of everyday life, her latest work is a mix of portraiture, still life, landscape, and city scenes, all captured with a luminous, realistic touch and an instinctive sense of color. “I prefer working from life,” Weber says, “and I like painting outside.” She tries to find time in front of the easel each day, even if she spends just an hour painting near the busy bike path close to her home.
The artist’s favorite subjects are often the most difficult to capture on canvas: fleeting light and moving people. She often paints what she can on site and then works on the finishing details from a photograph back in the studio. Weber’s works in oil, pastel, and gouache have won numerous awards and her still life paintings have been featured on the cover of American Artist magazine. Her fine illustrations have been published by various companies including American Greetings, Gibson, Paramount Cards and Marion Heath Greeting Cards.
The energy found in bars and restaurants—and the people in them—stimulates her creativity and is the focus of some of her recent work. Last summer, Weber spent time in some of Cape Cod’s hot spots taking in the ambiance for inspiration. And this past winter, the artist thawed out with a couple of days in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, painting tourists enjoying a conversation at a bar beneath palm trees next to a busy restaurant.