By Bonnie Gangelhoff
California painter Kara Castro remembers one of her first encounters with the visual arts that made a lasting impression: As a child she regularly studied the photographs in her mother’s collection of National Geographic magazines. She didn’t read the stories, but she found the pictures of people from cultures around the world mesmerizing. Today, some of the compositions in these photographs inform the designs of her watercolor works. And her interest in global cultures remains a major concern in her life and art.
Castro frequently paints western and equestrian subjects, but figurative pieces are her favorite. “I like to be able to paint a picture and convey to the viewer who people are,” she explains. “I study them and I see something that others need to get to know. I want to convey the sense that this person is worth something.” Her models for many pieces are her two daughters and their friends, who often gather in her back yard. In acorns, her daughter Ariana stops to examine a handful of nuts. Young children make the best models, Castro says, because they strike natural poses without phony smiles. “There is beauty in these everyday things,” she says. Castro’s works are on view in November at the Peppertree Art Show in Santa Ynez, CA. She is represented by Joan Cawley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ, and www.castrofinearts.com.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” August 2005