Rhododendron and Anna's Hummingbird
acrylic on birch panel
40 x 30"
Kate Halpin was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1983. She received her BS in Biology from Portland State University in 2008, and her Masters in Botany from Oklahoma State University in 2011. Halpin's MS thesis, a focused study of serpentine soils and rare and endemic species correlated to the ecosystem, led her to Northern California, and ultimately to her home today in Sonoma County.
Botanical Illustration was integral in Kate's early drawing/painting and continues to this day. Beyond going out in nature to find the subjects to create her compositions she plants native, endemic and naturalized plants in the yard beside her home in turn cultivating her own backdrops for her paintings. From the pileated woodpecker pecking into the side of her house in the early morning, to the crawling ten lined June Beetle over a Calochortus (the Mariposa Lily), to the Anna's and Allen's hummingbirds, feeding, resting and exploring, Kate's artwork encapsulates the observer and explorer of our most intimate and immediate natural world.
Details and accuracy are forefront for Halpin, and yet this foundation of scientific accuracy is not what stands out most. It is in her use of light and dark. Her subjects feel as though they are illuminated from within, glowing, eerie and sublime; the observer immediately transported to her intimate world. Sharing in her discoveries it is as if we the observer are following in the footsteps of Halpin as a young child, exploring the dark thicket of the wilderness in the Kenai Peninsula, and now arriving to the foothills of Northern California.