Telling Stories With Symbols

Michigan artist Kathleen Conover explores the impact of industry on her home state in a series of mixed-media paintings.

In a series titled “Industrial Evolution,” Kathleen Conover explores the implications of industry (when it comes and when it goes) on the landscape. Often full of moody color and ripe with reappearing symbols such as ravens and telephone lines, her mixed-media paintings tell the story of the artist’s home state of Michigan.

mixed-media painting
“Street Scene”

The artist says of her work: “The ‘Industrial Evolution’ series of paintings is my visual interpretation of an era of change my country, the United States, is undergoing due to evolving world-wide technological and manufacturing industries. Inspiration and visual references abound from my iron mining home on Lake Superior in Northern Michigan, through the farming heartland to the desert southwest and from coast to coast. I strive to paint the colors, textures, lines, shapes, sounds and feel – the essence of this evolution that affects every aspect of American life. International travel deepens my interest in this subject.”

For the artist, the telephone lines represent the effects of industry. The raven represents us (mankind) as creatures of “great adaptability, creativity, and survival intelligence. The Raven is calculating it’s next move in the evolution of survival, as are we,” she says.

mixed-media painting
“Cola Fans”


Kathleen Conover received a Master of Arts in Fine Art from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan and her graduate work in printmaking at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington. She holds signature status in many organizations, including the American Water Color Society (AWS Signature Member and Dolphin Fellow status), National Watercolor Society (NWS Signature Member status), Watercolor Honor Society (WHS Signature Status), Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA Master Artist Status), and International Society of Experimental Artists (ISEA Nautilus Signature Member), among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at L’Aquerelle World Competition, France, in Cappadocia, Turkey, at the Eau en Couleurs, International Watercolor Biennial, Castle of Bourgogne, Belgium, Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Shenzhen Museum, China.

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