Controlled Spontaneity 

This dynamic contradiction originally drew Kay Stratman to Asian brush painting, an ancient art. She has since incorporated this approach into a style all her own, a mix of traditional technique and contemporary aesthetic.

After graduating from college with a BA in Art, Kay spent 14 years at a commercial art studio in Minneapolis, MN but continued to search for her own artistic medium. In 1983, she met a “sumi-e” (Asian ink painting) artist and instantly knew she had found her visual voice. Asian paintings are simple in composition, yet full of harmony, balance and peace, all elements Kay seeks in her own life as well as in her artwork.

Kay’s paintings have since evolved and incorporated those ideas into a much more personal artistic thumbprint. Recent accomplishments are two “Best Wyoming Artist” awards at the annual Watercolor Wyoming national juried exhibit (2015 and 2018), and achieving “Signature Member” status of the Wyoming Watercolor Society, as well as acceptance into Women Artists of the West.

Her focus now is P’o Mo, (translated as “splash ink”), though an ancient Chinese technique, the results look contemporary. Materials used are bamboo-handled brushes, watercolors and gold or silver metallic covered “shikisihi” boards.  Thickened watercolor is poured onto the surface and allowed to bleed, blend, then dry.  Kay continues the painting by defining areas with brushwork to reveal a more recognizable image. The spontaneous look of P’o Mo disguises the skill required to master the difficult medium and its special tools.

Now, Kay applies a wide range of techniques honed by years of practice and experimentation to the subjects she loves in life: mountainscapes that surround her Wyoming home; cranes sailing across a sunset; a frog bathing in a marbleized pool; wide open wild spaces.

Kay’s paintings feel simultaneously contemporary yet timeless.


Photo: Lindsay Linton/Linton Productions


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