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Nature Helps Inspire Hardtner, Kansas, Artist

Kristy San Soucie is a fine artist living just across the border in Hardtner, Kansas. She came to this area after growing up in Wilkeson, Washington, an old coal-mining town located at the foothills of Mt. Rainier.

She said she’s been creating art for as long as she can remember. Her parents always encouraged her and would get her painting and drawing supplies when she was small.

“I would set up my easel and paint along with Bob Ross on weekends,” she said with a giggle. “We camped a lot, and I would go out into the woods and meadows to paint and draw what I saw.”

She added that their tiny local library had a lot of Dover art books that she checked out all the time. Some she loved so much that as an adult she found them and bought them.

Her first formal art class outside of school was an introduction to pastels when she was about 13 years old. She took gouache, which is a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance, as well as oil painting, pottery and photography courses in college, followed by digital art.

She noted that she’s loved the artist Georgia O’Keefe since the first time she saw her work, which was probably junior high.

She moved to Alva to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University where she earned a degree in E-Commerce. She stay in Alva at that time because she found a good job doing what she loved. She left the area for a little while, but found her way back recently with her husband and son. She has been working this past year as a paraeducator at South Barber (Kansas) High School in Kiowa.

Most recently, San Soucie has been focusing on watercolor and gouache paintings. Most of her work is inspired by nature, stones in a stream, interesting rock formations or even bark on a tree. Her paintings tend to be abstract. She also likes to play around with color. She will have paintings at the festival that have touches of opalescent and metallic highlights.

Another interest of San Soucie’s is old travel posters from the 1920s – 1940s. She is working on a series of modern interpretations that feature the places she loves.

San Soucie also has produced a coloring book. Her first was published this spring, and she has three more in the works.

Be sure to visit San Soucie’s booth at this year’s Nescatunga Arts Festival.


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