Kathryn Barker

I'm a visual artist and designer living and working in the Kansas City area. My most recent work is primarily in mixed media and incorporates painting, photography, and encaustic to create narrative works. 

Whether in watercolor, photoencaustic, or anther medium, much of my work is an exploration of time, truths, and transparency. They can be uncomfortable or challenging, since they are my way of working through hard truths. But, I despair cheerfully, and sometimes I just paint pretty flowers.


I work in a variety of mediums. Across the body of my work you’ll find an attentive approach to subjects, a commitment to explore complicated truths, and a love of bold and evocative color.

I cannot recall a time I wasn’t making art, and much of my childhood was spent drawing horses and beautiful ladies. Although the works have grown more sophisticated, the love of nature and the interpretation of the female experience have remained a constant. My grandmother was a wonderfully creative person, and her flower gardens and sewing projects were expressions of this. Her enjoyment of nature and delight in colors made a deep impression on me.

My love of art did not lead directly to an art career. I graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Art Education and I spent a year in the Book Arts program making and marbling paper. Marbling was a wonderful complement to my painting instruction and ultimately paved the way for my work in watercolors. When you’re working with marbling pigments, there’s always an element of unpredictability. You have to allow the colors to do what they’re going to do and work with them. There’s that element in watercolor too.

Later, I completed a Master of Liberal Arts at Baker University and began working as an instructional designer. I was happily working in a creative field, contributing to a cause I value, and enjoying my family. Then I got a completely unexpected cancer diagnosis. In the midst of all the turmoil of tests and treatment plans a thought popped into my mind, ‘I don’t want to die without making art.’ The intensity bowled me over, and I decided that as soon as I was well I was going to do art. No matter what. I can’t say that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it has a wonderful way of clarifying priorities.

That realization several years ago compelled me to resume my art career and it quickly became my focus. I sharpened my skills, attended classes and workshops, and joined a community of artists at a cooperative gallery. Since then, I have sold my work at regional shows and exhibitions as well as at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park. One of  my paintings is featured on the Kansas City Art Institute Continuing Education brochures and website.

When I'm not working on my art, I enjoy volunteer work, entertaining, reading, spending time with my family, and walking my dog. My experience with a life-threatening illness provided a vivid reminder my mortality, and that introduced a new awareness of time, and it’s limits, into my work. It’s also prompted me to examine why I stopped making making art for a time due to a complicated mix of personality, family, and culture.

After initially painting in watercolor I expanded to mixed media, photography and encaustics. Photography broadens my opportunities to explore narrative in exciting new ways. Combining photography or watercolor with wax further transforms the work into a more dimensional and atmospheric visual.

I am a member of Images Art Gallery, a 501(c)3 cooperative gallery in Overland Park, Kansas. I always have a few works on display in the gallery.



B.S. in Art Education, Graphics

The University of Alabama

Master of Liberal Arts

Baker University



Invitational Exhibition of Women Artists
Art at the Center, Overland Park, KS


12x12 Show, InterUrban ArtHouse,

Overland Park, KS

Member Showcase, InterUrban ArtHouse,

Overland Park, KS


One Night Stand, Kansas City Artist Coalition,

Kansas City, MO


Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO


Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO


Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO

Contact Me

816 522 2331

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