Planning phases

Here’s a look at something I rarely do… plan* a painting.

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*Painting may not end up looking this way.

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Once it’s out there it’s not really mine anymore...


How Did You Find This Place (When It Was Greener), Kate Oberreich

“It’s interesting to see what other people see,” says artist Kate Oberreich. “Every time I start something, I have an idea in my head of how I came to it… [But] once it’s out there it’s not really mine anymore.”

“How Did You Find This Place (When It Was Greener),” is a conglomerated layering of symbols, hidden materials, acrylic and house paints, dialogue, and many many miles and hours of Oberreich’s life.

The viewer is immediately brought into conversation with the artwork and the people surrounding them by its provoking question. Many viewers found that the painting’s question really becomes a question of “how do you define place?”



Oberreich’s piece visually brought the inanimate concept of “place” to life through the varying people that are inevitably tied to the viewer’s interpretation. For example, Tom Peck--a familiar face to the Center and member of the Board of Directors--realized that him and his family didn’t actually “find this place” but that the Harrison Center really found them.

The same question prompted intern Nathan Ekema to reflect on his “search for what a fulfilling career could be,” leading him to remember that an old teacher had been influential on his journey to his current “place.”

Summer intern, Megan Auffarth, felt sweet nostalgia and “dream-like feelings” from the painting. She found that the painting’s layers (seen and unseen) represent “a layering of experiences and memories that make her who she is.” Fittingly, Oberreich estimated that the painting has 20+ layers, some of which covered up mistakes, some were intentional, and some came to life on their own.

Abi Ogle, one of the Center’s new resident artists, interpreted “people” in the painting’s portrayal of how we can inhabit a place long after we’ve left it. It was from the layers that can no longer be seen that Abi drew a somewhat bitter nostalgia, similar to the way that a house grows old with us. Advocating for what is forgotten, Abi wondered why “Grandma’s doilies have been painted over.”

Detail, How Did You Find This Place (When It Was Greener)

Nikki Owens, the Center’s Events Coordinator, also noticed the doilies when in conjunction with the layer of “wallpaper” peeking through in their representation of home. To Nikki, the uncontainable movement of colors, the “Greener” section of the painting, and the filled-in “P” symbolized an abundant place that had been stitched back together.

Intern Anne Green’s interpretation of place was a mixture of Indy and the Greek refugee camp where she was recently serving. In the painting’s house of colors she saw white tents and clotheslines that were staples of how the refugees lived and inhabited place. These memories were sharply juxtaposed with the “Greener” that brought to mind her nostalgic, peaceful freedom of summer in Indy. The “Greener” section gave intern Tamar de la Paz the feeling of “relief,” and she couldn’t quite put her finger on why.

Indy native and summer intern, Brant Wilson, explained that the title’s “(When It Was Greener)” made him reflect on how his neighborhood has changed since his childhood. When widening his perception of Indianapolis, he found that the Harrison Center was one of the only places that remained constant to him.

While the painting’s text and “home” figure captivated many viewers, others focused on the colors, shapes, and the painting as a whole. Interns, Tamar and Amira Malcom, both viewed the framed shape not as a house but as a window.

This interpretation opened up multiple meanings. If looking from the inside: the viewer’s surroundings are ominous and monotonous and the outside is beautiful and trying to get inside. This perspective creatively reminded Amira of Rapunzel. If looking from the outside: the frame depicts a dark unknown that’s interrupted by a home filled with vibrant movement and light— a happy place, if you will.

Oberreich explained that throughout her artwork, “home” is a recurring symbol which to her means “a place to belong.” This painting’s intriguing title was born from conversations she had when moving from hometown Indianapolis to Montana for a year. The people she left behind and the people she met all asked her variations of the same question: “why did you leave this place? Why would you come to this place?”

She realized that “however you interpret this place to be, you know someone will have commentary on why it’s great or why it’s not,” which reinforces the subjectivity of place. For her, “How Did You Find This Place (When It Was Greener)” encapsulates her own journey of house becoming home and why she kept internally and literally returning to Indianapolis.

If Oberreich could choose one thing that her audience would walk away with, it would be to “think of artwork in a more meaningful way-- there’s no right answer. It’s okay to say how you feel about art and it should have a reaction even if you couldn’t live with it everyday.” Even though everyone drew different meanings from this painting, they were still connected over the same source of inspiration.

How did you find this place? What does place mean to you? Create some art or leave your musings in the comments below!

Greetings from Indianapolis

Hey everybody! I have a show coming up next month at City Gallery at the Harrison Center! 'Greetings from Indianapolis' opens First Friday, June 1, 6 - 9 pm and I hope to see you there!

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If you can't make it out on First Friday, the show will be up throughout the month.

'Greetings from Indianapolis' evolved out of conversations with those who stayed and those who left - and those who have never been here – on what it is about Indianapolis that has drawn me in and at times sent me elsewhere (I briefly moved out of state).

The exhibition features mixed media works on canvas and paper, using paint and collage, and text and dialogue.

If you've been following me on Instagram over the last couple months, this show will feature the unveiling of #thatbigpainting! It's so close to being done so I won't be offering any additional in-progress previews. You'll have to come to the City Gallery to see the finished piece. ;)


Are you following me on Instagram? Jump over and look me up at @seedandstar. 

Tomorrow, I get started on my #100DayProject where I will paint or draw or collage or something a new portrait of a lady each day. 



Will I make it? Do I have the willpower? Will I be sick of it? Only time will tell. Let’s find out together!


A BIG Custom Map

I recently completed my biggest map yet! This custom 32 x 40 inch watercolor and ink map of downtown Indy was delivered to the happy new home of a couple new to the city.

Have a favorite spot in Indy, Indiana, or really anywhere? Need a map? Contact me for your custom project.


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I've now made map paintings of local neighborhoods, the tangle of highways in Indianapolis, and now the trails of Brown County State Park.

Bike trail map for reference  

Bike trail map for reference  


Also, come find me, and my maps, in booth 7 at the Monument Circle Art Fair on October 7.


Ten Years Later

Ten years ago I received a pretty amazing grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The Robert D. Beckmann Emerging Artist Fellowship paid for more than a year of my studio rent and allowed me time to figure some things out without worrying about how I was going to afford a key piece of my art business.

It also connected me with some mentors who still influence and inspire me today. What a boost for a recent college grad. Since receiving the fellowship I've grown my business, had art work in a feature film, a national television show, self-published a book, and shown in multiple group and solo shows. I believe in the mission so much that I also now work for the Arts Council.

I hope you'll join me on Friday, June 2 at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council in celebration of ten years of the Beckmann fellowship.


Curio: a rare, unusual, or intriguing object.

I have been drawing a lot of human vertebrae since injuring my back in December... like, a lot. It's resulted in a set of four completed graphite and watercolor drawings. Here's a sneak peek at two of them.

The full set will be part of the Curio Cabinet show at the Indianapolis Art Center, opening on Friday, June 9. I hope to see you there for what is sure to be an intriguing, unusual show.

Indy Cartography

A few months ago I set about planning and mentally laying out a new show for the City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts. I knew almost right away that it would revolve around maps. I would tie these maps to important places in Indianapolis, my home.

And, the work would be big - the first piece I started for this show was 4 x 3 feet. I had been itching to do larger paintings for a while. 

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Three weeks ago, several paintings were in progress, some more than others, but nothing was finished. Also three weeks ago, a disc in my lower back herniated. Great timing, right? 

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Many things became uncertain. For a time after I couldn't go to work, drive, walk up stairs, and certainly couldn't get to the studio to continue these big pieces. But, with everything I couldn't do, I needed a goal (besides all the things listed above) and that was to commit to this show, even if I wasn't sure I could make it to my own opening.

What you will see at tonight's opening and throughout January was created, in large part, in the last two and a half weeks. And I love it all. 

'North Split' in progress  

'North Split' in progress  

The work is much smaller, and all on paper, things I could work on from home. And I'm really proud of it. It's not what I originally planned. It's better.

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

While I wish I could have avoided injury, it pushed me to re-examine my approach and the results are on view this month. 

Deadlines drive us.  

Home Studio Tour

My home studio (also known as the spare bedroom) is up and running. It took several days to collect all the stray art supplies that were littered about my house, but the work was worth it and I'm ready to get painting, drawing, collaging and more in this newly organized space.


Become a Sponsor!

Who wants to be a studio sponsor?! 

If you've ever thought "Hey, I really like Kate's work. I wonder how I can add to my personal collection on a regular basis for a minimal amount of money?", I have the answer for you. Okay, infomercial voice off.

I've just launched my Patreon page. Patreon allows you to support creators in a world of genres, media, and style for a monthly fee that you set. In exchange, each creator will offer some rewards. Sounds fun, right?

Here's my goal - through Patreon, you become an official sponsor of my studio, located at the Harrison Center for the Arts. Having a defined space to work and create, and being among a bustling community of fellow artists, is vital to my work. Your monthly pledge will go directly to studio rent, equipment, and supplies. 

So what do you get in exchange for your pledge? Here's the list:

Pledge $5 or more per month

You'll receive a handwritten, personalized thank you note and a 5x7 inch piece of original art on paper following your first month as a patron + you'll have access to my patron-only feed on Patreon, where I'll post insider, for-your-eyes-only content, AND I'll add your name to my sponsor wall in my studio so everyone will know how awesome you are!

Pledge $10 or more per month

I'll send you a monthly mailed art mystery package. Your package could contain a sampling of original art, stickers, postcards, recipes, doodles, or other goodies + the above.

Pledge $20 or more per month

You'll get 15% off all purchases for one year in studio or my Etsy Shop. I’ll send you a custom non-transferable coupon code good for anything in my Etsy Shop as well as a non-transferable gift certificate for in-studio purchases (Offer cannot be used for purchases in galleries through which I am represented/exhibiting) + the above.

I hope you'll consider becoming an official patron! I'm looking forward to coming up with some great items to include in my mystery art packages. Can't wait to get started!


Monument Circle Art Fair, Year Two

I'm baaaaaccck! I grew up hauling art for my mom to and from art fairs, then I worked for one for a long time (shout out to the Broad Ripple Art Fair!), then I took a break from all of that because art fair life is hard.

Even with all of that, I had never done an art fair for myself with my own work. Until last year. I took a chance and got a booth at the first ever Monument Circle Art Fair. And you know what? It was pretty fun. So much so that I'm doing it again.

The 2nd Monument Circle Art Fair is next weekend, October 8 from 10am-5pm and you can find me in booth #7 (same spot as last year). I'll be bringing a new batch of paintings, prints, and postcards, including my new Color Me! series.

And for the second year, MCAF is featuring my 'Monument' mixed media painting in it's promo materials - look for the banner at 30th and Meridian Street! The original can be seen in a show at City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts through the end of October.