Artist and Advocate for CHANGE

Kay Stratman

"A majestic landscape, a humble aspen grove, and a flock of sandhill cranes rising ambitiously into a clear sky are just a few examples of what nationally acclaimed watercolorist Kay Stratman loves to depict in her work. Each piece captures a visual and emotional experience, which she calls contemporary realism. Painting on Asian shikishi board, Stratman embraces the freedom of working with watercolor while, at the same time, attempting to govern its natural instinct, which is, to flow. When asked to describe her approach Stratman smiles and notes, “It’s really controlled spontaneity. I take what excites me and I eliminate all the extra details. Then I exaggerate the elements which I feel are most striking, using lots of color, of course.” 

Living and working in Jackson Wyoming is a dream come true for the Minnesota native and her husband Paul, a conservation specialist. Now, an 11 year resident, the dream just keeps getting better. “We are so fortunate to live in such a magical place, and having access to so much subject matter for my work is priceless,” she responds when asked how life in western Wyoming influences her painting. And how right she is. In just the last few years Stratman’s “Caldera Beauty” won the “Best Wyoming Artist Award” in the Watercolor Wyoming National Exhibit. She was a featured artist in the “View22: Field Studies” project, painting Jackson Hole Land Trust protected properties in Wyoming. She has also been named an Associate Member of Women Artists of the West and four of her paintings will appear in the upcoming publication, The Artists Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone. 

50% of the proceeds from her paintings go to The Inner Pup. 


Winter Repose

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16”h x 24”w
watercolor and gouache on silver shikishi board. 

I was lucky enough to participate in the annual "swan roundup" that used to be held here in Jackson Hole.  Volunteer help was needed to round up Trumpeter Swans in a program carefully designed to help build the population; measuring, tagging, taking blood samples etc.  They are HUGE (about 4 feet tall!) and fairly docile once they are being held - on my lap!  I just loved the attitude of this one (it is immature, note the gray, not white, neck and head) and the lovely shape his/her bent neck created.  A painting simply had to be the result.  It is my "artistic license" that allows me to change the season from summer to winter. It is "all about" the swan so I eliminated the background.  I eliminated detail in the bird (only suggesting feathers in a few brushstrokes, and chose a striking color to accentuate the silhouette. The gently falling snowflakes happened when I was all done, I'm just sayin'...


Sleeping Indian Sunrise

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16”h x 12”w
watercolor on gold shikishi board

The Sleeping Indian is the elegant mountain rising over Jackson Hole to the east, in the Gros Ventre Mountain range.  I think some visitors overlook its beauty and interesting skyline because they are transfixed by the Grand Teton.  But I also think that secretly The Sleeping Indian is the locals’ favorite.  For these colors to appear behind the mountain you know it is very early morning – sunrise.  Anyone who has taken the early flight out of “the Hole” has seen this and taken the memory home with them as well.