“Once I started, I haven’t stopped yet. ... I’m happiest if I paint every day,” says Ogden arts advocate-turned-artist Kate Bruce.
Color and happiness are the essence of Bruce’s pieces, distinguished by vibrant flowers and horses on canvas that characterize many of her contemporary expressionist paintings that can be seen all around Northern Utah.
Perhaps what makes her creations so unique is her “loose and intuitive style.” Bruce paints in layers without knowing where she will end up, and rarely views the object she is painting. “My color palette usually reflects how I’m feeling rather than having a set plan,” she said.
After working in the interior design industry and years of community involvement as a volunteer in promoting the arts, Bruce found a new passion creating art after raising her two daughters.
It was through her children, Jane and Claire, that Bruce really became involved in the production and promotion of the arts. Her volunteerism has included musical theater programs at Ogden High, St. Joseph’s High School and Weber State University. She served as chair of the Ogden City Arts Council and participated in many of the public art installations in Ogden, including Adventures Crossroads, Watery Cycle, Glide, Soar Fly, the airport installation and the Kiesel Ave Project, just to name a few. Bruce was honored with the Mayor’s Award for Art Advocacy in 2014.
The whimsical faces of a deer, squirrel and owl on the banners that hang at the entrance of the Ogden Nature Center in the fall/winter season are commissioned Bruce paintings. And birds appeared in some of her artwork after she was asked to participate in the Birds of Change art show at the Eccles Art Center.
But she mainly paints florals because of the “abundance of colors” and horses because she’s loved them her whole life. “The subject matter makes me happy and I’m only limited by my imagination on any given day.”
Bruce, now a full-time artist, is surrounded by other artists. She found instant connection with Barb Crosbie, Susan Snyder and Amie Preston when they met five years ago. Together they created Sage Art, a women-owned business composed of four artists who create handmade original art and provide small, intimate group classes. Synder is a watercolor artist inspired by nature, Preston hand-forges silver and copper jewelry with a story to tell, and Crosbie’s pottery reflects her dual passion for clay art and earth science.
Bruce shares a studio with Sage Art at The Monarch and has a home studio where she paints her fanciful flowers and animals with bright and bold acrylics every day.
“I’m lost in a happy place when I paint,” Bruce said. She finds joy in the process and the possibilities, rarely worrying about the end result. “I can paint for hours and have no idea that much time has passed.”
Kate Bruce’s artwork can be seen in the Sage Art studio at The Monarch and in select locations around Northern Ogden. You can also find her on Instagram @katebruceart.