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SOAR Welcomes Artist Katharine Gracey, Announces October show of New Works!

The Southern Oregon Artists Resource is delighted to welcome Jacksonville artist Katharine Gracey to the Visual Artists directory! Katharine has shown extensively throughout the region and is a board member of Jacksonville’s Art Presence. Her art is also featured at the Jacksonville Mercantile. For those who might not be familiar with the work of this versatile artist, we encourage you to visit her listing for links to her website, with galleries of the fabulous collections she has created in recent years. You can click any image in this post for enlargements to see the exquisite details in her fabulous work. We’re pleased to share some information about this prolific, creative and highly skilled Southern Oregon talent, excerpted from her website and an article about her published in Southern Oregon magazine last winter. Read to the end of the post for information about her upcoming show in Jacksonville.

'Jacksonville, Oregon', acrylic on watercolor paper from Gracey's 'Oregon' collection

Inspired by French and Italian countrysides and her Southern Oregon surroundings, Katharine Gracey’s art is filled with sun-drenched colors that create charming, elegant and whimsical landscapes and vignettes.

Raised in the Midwest, Katharine started painting at an early age, absorbing the peaceful farm life of the Great Lakes. After earning her art degree from the University of Wisconsin, she pursued painting as her main focus, specializing in watercolor, acrylic and oils. Relocating to the famous wine region of Napa Valley, California, Katharine started various successful businesses; a retail garden store, a floral company, design and manufacturing hand-painted furniture, licensing much of her artwork.

Katharine continues to explore new themes from the whimsical to creative realism. A successful artist and designer, her home and artwork in Jacksonville, Oregon has been featured in Victoria Magazine, Romantic Homes, Southern Oregon Magazine and Distinctly Northwest.


Below, From Southern Oregon Magazine – article written by Maureen Flanagan

Detail from the "Jacksonville, Oregon" painting shown above


You’ll want to get up close and personal when it comes to Katharine Gracey’s paintings because it’s then you’ll be able to enter her world of whimsy and fantasy. A world populated by long-dead Venetian doges, long-nosed Frenchmen at market, capering cardinals and ghostly women.

The Alchemist's Daughter, oil on canvas by Katharine Gracey






“For a while I only did landscapes because I was afraid of people,” Gracey says. “Now people are all I want to do.” Another reason you’ll want to stand close is because her work is often small and filled with detail. “Bigger isn’t necessarily better,” the Jacksonville artist says of her oil and acrylic work.

Vineyard, from the French Labels collection by Katharine Gracey




“I try to do one collection a year,” Gracey says, paging through the works that make up the Market Day and the French Label collections. Some of these works have simple, understated graphics in vivid colors, like “Parmesan,” “Beef,” “Lavender”—each with big-hatted men, often in profile holding their wares. The French Label Collection is filled with the soft golds and greens of the French countryside.





Market Day Truffles, by Katharine Gracey (sold)


Katharine Gracey has traveled the world, bringing her memories home. After years of painting in the kitchen of her Napa Valley home, then clearing the table in time for dinner, Gracey is working in her own space now in Jacksonville. It’s clearly an artist’s studio, filled with photos, rich with colors and lots and lots of paintbrushes. “I have a fetish about paintbrushes,” Gracey says with a laugh. “Some people love shoes, and I love paintbrushes.”

Falcon's Perch, oil on canvas by Katharine Gracey




Gracey’s larger-scale works are dream-like experiments in light and dark; detailed, mysterious works filled with spirits. Works that are dark but not tragic, reflecting a sense of humor, and sometimes irony and mischief. These works have elaborate gold frames, carved wood and painted canvas that suit the themes of the paintings.



Banquet Under the Stars, 16 x 20 Oil on Board by Katharine Gracey





Ghosts and spirits are in almost all of Gracey’s larger works, brought to life with her musings, found when walking about during odd hours. “Evening in Venezia” has masked characters that drift and dance along the canals and passages of this city. The Floating Library series has red-caped Italian cardinals capering about with books and wine outside, inside and below their library. And the series placed in New Orleans; well, Gracey says, “I definitely felt that ghosts live in New Orleans, and I wanted them to live in the everyday world.”


Moonlight Serenade at Britt Pavilion, from Gracey's 'Oregon' collection


Back at home in Jacksonville, Gracey’s newest collection is the Oregon Art Series, a departure of sorts for Gracey, and a return to landscapes as the artist looks around and learns about her new surroundings. “There’s something so very genuine here,” she says. “I love to paint it.” The series is charming and romantic, featuring the most loved places of Southern Oregon, like Hillcrest Farms, the Elizabethan Stage, Bellinger Lane and Wizard Island.


Each work in the Oregon Art Series has a complex frame that’s part of the piece, relating to the work and continuing its theme. Gracey places the Bandon piece on her drafting table: “There’s a story here: the seashells, this little guy having a chat with shrimps,” she says. “The frame makes it cohesive and part of the flow of the story.”

"Royal Bengal Tiger", from Gracey's 'Circus, Circus' collection




Meanwhile Katharine Gracey’s always noodling and doodling, planning her next collection. Gracey’s thinking about a series of works that reach back to her Midwestern roots, when the circus summered in Wisconsin. She pages through sketches drawn from memory and old photographs, instinctively looking for the unexpected. “I’ll catch the viewer unawares, off guard,” Gracey says. “There’s always a bit of a surprise in the painting, something people aren’t expecting.” For Katharine Gracey, art is about life and dreams and telling stories about places and people that are there—and not there. (Editor’s Note: Katharine has now completed her “Circus, Circus” Collection…more about her October show of these new works below)


Find Gracey’s work in galleries and shows throughout Jackson County, and often at The Good Bean Coffee Shop in downtown Jacksonville. Learn more and make contact with Katharine using the info in her listing at the Southern Oregon Artists Resource:


Katharine’s work appears at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville as resident artist Cheryl D. Garcia welcomes her as Guest artist from September 27 – October 24. Please attend an artist’s reception on Saturday, October 1 from 2-5 pm to meet the artist and learn  more about her work over a glass of award-winning wine!

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