The Inn at Langley, “Insatiables” Bookstore and Pink Champagne

It’s our anniversary! So we recently took a special little road trip to one of our favorite spots in Washington: Langley by the Sea, a sweet little town on the water where I show my work at Museo Gallery. (New work, opening August 3!). On our way, we stopped for a bit to explore the historic, and also seaside, town of Port Townsend, filled with grand old Victorian homes and intriguing brick inns, along with shops and restaurants lining the main street.

This trip, we ventured off the usual downtown destinations (William James Bookstore!) and discovered some new hidden gems. I am absolutely in love with the wonderful restaurant Sweet Laurette. Major swoon. Nested along a vintage-y Port Townsend quiet street, we sat outside in the little courtyard, surrounded by all sorts of  blooms and birds too,  bathing in a nearby bath.  Absolutely charming! Lunch was beyond amazing: moules frites (mussels and fries)–I’ve never tasted better.

Down the hill, we luckily (!) found a tiny, magical shop filled floor to ceiling with old fabulous books in every nook and cranny. “Insatiables: old, rare & curious books, always buying.” It was hard to know where to look first. We could’ve spent hours here–days even. But here’s what called out to me–two small books with cream and soft blue covers with pattern-so beautiful in a shy soft way. And inside, colorful romantic illustrations along with an inscription in a very old fashioned cursive style. (Copyright 1893, Poems by Whittier, Vol I and II).

Beautiful books from 1893.
Beautiful books from 1893.

We then headed to one of the most serene and pretty places–The Inn at Langley, surrounded by beautiful gardens, the sea, Georgia Gerber bronze sculptures (2 penguins hugging!) and a wood boardwalk with chairs and tables to just sit and do nothing but gaze out at the blue sea.

The Inn at Langley
The Inn at Langley

Pink ChampagneI was thrilled to see my painting Springtime in the Afternoon in the Inn’s lobby!

"Springtime in the Afternoon" in the Inn's lobby.
“Springtime in the Afternoon” in the Inn’s lobby.

Now, I’m back in the studio, inspired!

Happy Summer!

New Paintings at Museo Gallery inspired by Paris, PawPaw’s Roses and Chinoiserie

The studio has been a whirlwind lately! I’ve ignored summer’s tempting call to run outside and garden and beachcomb and bicycle because, quite honestly, the colors and canvases in the studio have been the main focus. Pinks and blues, reds and cream–irresistible to me. I am so happy to be holding brush in hand and working as I have for these past months for my show opening August 3 at Museo Gallery on Whidbey Island.

Whidbey Island, for those who don’t know about it, is northwest of Seattle, two ferries away from the island where I live.

I’ve loved Whidbey Island all my life, it always feels like home. My grandparents lived in this beautiful spot and one of the most vivid and happiest memories of  childhood are the little snippets in my mind from visiting them: the long drive on the shaded  graveled path under the towering firs and cedars (my brother and I would always struggle to be the first one out of the car–“I win!”), the sweet scent of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries basking in the sun, the huge rose garden my grandfather loved so much (he was actually a “tester” gardener for Jackson and Perkins’ new roses!), the garter snakes I used to catch (and release) in the woods, and of course, Churchill’s old candy store where we’d go for Pixie Sticks and plastic bottles filled with syrup, yum!

I tasted my first salmon at my grandparents’ home (he loved to cook!) in the woods on Whidbey Island. I remember being so delighted and surprised it was pink! (My favorite color!)

So, it’s always such a wonderful homecoming to come back to Whidbey and show my work in Langley at Museo. This will be my third show at this beautiful gallery (thank you owner and gallerist Sandra Jarvis) and one of many group shows that I’ve had the honor to be included in since 2009.

For this new collection of work, I’ve been very inspired by the dear memory of the old (and new) big perfumed roses my PawPaw nutured in such abundance in the sunny back fields behind their home. I’m also remembering my love of Paris with her embrace of the colors that I love the most (back to pink, blue, cream, red) and for the first time, I’ve added gold leaf to some of my paintings on plaster as a nod to the wondrous old French mansions, cathedrals and castles that are adorned floor to ceiling (and ceilings too!) with this bright ray of golden gleaming happy sunshine.

Birds and butterflies wing their way through my canvases and (new!) 36 x 48″  wooden panels.

In my new series of  five 40×16 canvases, the influence of 17th and 18th century chinoiserie abounds–deep greens, purples and oranges. Think age-old Japanese block prints, little lacquer boxes, kimonos. (Decades ago, my father brought my mother a beautiful deep green silk embroidered kimono long jacket from his many trips abroad and it never ceases to inspire my work.) Ukiyo-e “the art of floating” –enjoying the beauty of the present moment/Hiroshige art inspires with pattern and color.

I continue to be excited by the generous and very kind artists whose work I know and admire. We recently hopped a ferry from our island to Seattle to enjoy the gorgeous encaustic work by Seattle artist Joyce Gehl. Her botanical work and colors are breathtaking. I also love the geometric colors and vibrant patterns on plaster of Bainbridge Island artist Gregg Robinson.

Will Pope’s whimsical and narrative paintings of animals and more on color-infused plaster are just fantastic.

So even while I just adore Klimt, Chagall, Matisse, Bonnard, and the most amazing Paule Marrot (she loved pink!), it’s always nice to see the new paths and directions of artists painting in the here and now.

So, here’s a little sneak peek of the new collection I call “Narratives”: tales of color, love, relationships, of old, generations, history, PawPaw’s rose garden, Paris, chinoiserie.

Thank you for visiting my blog!

“Style Maker 2013”: Thank you Luxe Magazine for featuring Kathe Fraga art!

It was a thrill to be selected by Luxe Magazine, interiors +design (Pacific Northwest Edition) for their “Style Maker” section in the new Spring 2013 issue. I really want to give a huge TY to the Luxe team who were wonderful to work with: Jesse Bratter, Features Editor; Yelena Moroz, Writer; Olivia Lambert, Art Director; Amos Morgan, Photographer. The photo shoot was at Roby King Galleries and as always, Wes King and Andrea Roby King did everything to make the day.


Inspirations: Beach china, snowdrops and the fresh scent of a Diptyque candle

The studio is quiet.

After six months of painting, with pattern and color whirling and twirling and dancing over my canvases,  the 16 new paintings for my February solo show at Roby King Gallery have left and are happily on display.

It is a mysterious path from studio to gallery.

In the studio, the paintings group together, some not quite completed, others just beginning, still others that are “all done” but then aren’t. And then, suddenly, after all that time spent together, out the door they all go–canvases filled with stories and thoughts, and memories and history.

The beach has beckoned since the opening. Neglected since the intense work in the studio, it welcomes me back with the treasures I love. Such inspiration, these little shards of old, tumbled Blue Willow china and yellow faded pottery.


And the bulbs are popping up–the snowdrops in drifts under the ancient and gnarled Japanese Maple (named Lulu) are so fresh and so lovely. I want to paint white flowers, Masses of them!


And, ever present in the studio, the scent of a Diptyque candle. The paintings for February’s new show were accompanied by the daily sweet scent of a new favorite “Mousses”, described thusly: “the “fresh green perfume of moss”.” Perfect for our beautiful rainy and foggy and misty and magical Northwest! Painting weather, for sure!


New work: Kathe Fraga solo show opens Feb. 1 at Roby King Gallery, Bainbridge Island

Happy New Year!

“Live the dream in 2013”!

I’ve been busy in the studio these last few months and Ij’m looking forward to sharing my new  paintings with you.

There’s “The French Wallpaper Series,” featuring the soft, timeworn and faded floral inspired wall coverings from grand, old  Parisian mansions.

And also, “The Lovebird Series,” influenced by the more vibrant and bold colors of vintage chinoiserie from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Thank you for taking a peek at my new work.

Below, a sampling.

Copyright (c) 2013Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013
Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013
Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013
Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013Kathe Fraga
Copyright (c) 2013
Kathe Fraga

Top: Lovebird Series, 40×16 inches

Second from top: Lovebird Series, 36 x 24 inches

Third from top and bottom: French Wallpaper Series, 36 x 24 inches

New chinoiserie inspired paintings for December: Small Works show at Roby King Gallery

Happy Holidays to you!

In between the glitter and snow globes and the Santa mug collection and decorating the tree (I love this time of year), the studio is still in full swing! I’ve been busy painting for my first solo show of 2013–it opens February 1 at Roby King Gallery here on Bainbridge Island. I’ll be introducing a new series called “The Lovebirds” on five 40 x 16″ panels–very colorful, and for the first time, peacocks make an appearance! I’ve based this motif on a vintage silver peacock brooch I found at my favorite antique shop. (If you’ve visited me on Pinterest, you know that one of my favorite boards is “Peacocks.”)

In the meantime, I have two smaller chinoiserie inspired pieces for Roby King’s annual Holiday Small Works Show. I always look forward to this show–the gallery is filled to the brim with over 100 small paintings of every color and style. I’d love to bring them all home! (Santa–are you listening?)

Here’s wishing you a fabulous December and a wonderful New Year!

Love Song I & II, 12 x 12 inches each
Love Song I & II, 12 x 12 inches each

Happy news! Kathe Fraga paintings now represented by Waterworks Gallery (thank you Ruth Offen!)

It’s an honor to now have my work represented by Ruth Offen at her beautiful Waterworks Gallery in the San Juan Islands. Ruth, very kindly, traveled over to my island–Bainbridge–to visit my studio and have lunch together and I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate her interest. We had a wonderful afternoon and I’m looking forward to working with her. If you have a chance, please check out the Waterworks website which includes many of my favorite artists including Whidbey Island sculptor Georgia Gerber. Ruth also has a delightful blog and the gallery is on Twitter–please follow!

Kathe Fraga paintings featured on UK blog Flowerona

It is such an honor to have my work featured on Rona Wheeldon’s beautiful blog Flowerona.

I’ve been following Rona’s blog and tweets for a very long time and always am so inspired and energized by her beautiful posts.

Rona is passionate about all things floral!

She’s based near London and is a columnist for Wedding Flowers magazine. Rona also writes a quarterly column for Flower Arranger magazine.

In addition, you can find Rona’s work on the online interior design magazine HeartHome.

Thank you so much Rona!