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Alumna returns to campus for artist talk

Central Michigan University alumna Katie Chichester Mester returned to campus Thursday to share her artwork that will be displayed in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room.

Mester's series "Green Pastures & Still Water" will be displayed during March and April.

“All four years that I went here I would look in the Baber Room through the glass windows and see all the accomplished artwork of these great artists,” Mester said. “Whether it was something I was really drawn to or not, I thought it was great because it was in that room and that room was a great place to be.”

Mester grew up on a 300-acre farm that was a major part of her skill development growing up. She still lives and paints on the farm today.

She was always gifted with a natural drawing ability. When certain things were exciting or more valuable to her on the farm she could recreate them.

“I had enrolled in a lot of art classes and earning my degree I was immersed in all kinds of different styles so somewhere along the way I actually came up with a major interest in wildlife paintings which correlated with the farm life,” Mester said.

Animals on the farm that she grew up on were the first subject matter Mester found intriguing.

Mester said while she had kept her pastoral influences on the backburner she went onto the wildlife avenue for a few years, where she had some of her most treasured pieces.

Mester has done many different artist demonstrations, artist talks and shows but she added that a lot of commission work has been done along the way.

“I have painted a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have painted before just because its been through commission,” Mester said.

Even though Mester has done a lot of art shows and really enjoys them, she has been trying to shy away from them because of the amount of time and work they take up.

Mester added that through the art shows she found out that people wanted to buy her artwork and it provided a channel to sell her work. Traveling to different cities had made Mester paint different types of art that she would never see herself painting otherwise.

“I make myself try different things and I can achieve different looks, so that is really neat,” Mester said.

For different water scenes, Mester paints with a white primer and then paints over that quickly to achieve more texture.

“I find at my shows I meet a lot of people that say they used to paint and they put it on the backburner because they had kids,” Mester said. “I’m so fortunate that I have such a supportive family and this group of support so I can continue to raise my kids and paint as well.”

Before painting, Mester starts her work with a style of realism drawing. Then she adds her artistic touch on the painting because she doesn’t want it to look like a picture.

“The fact that this is a show made up of the subject matter so intriguing and inspiring souly to me not that somebody else wants it, but that its made of paintings that I wanted to do, that was my great success.” Mester said.

The event was free and students took advantage.

“Its good for artists to come and inspire other artists or people that are unsure if they want to pursue a career in art,” said Plymouth freshman Maggie Buerkle.