The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Kathleen Boettcher

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Kathleen Boettcher.  

When did you first get started in the arts? 

I loved drawing from early childhood. I distinguished myself, the middle child of five, by my artwork. Art gave me a skill I could own, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Did you receive formal training in art?

As a clueless freshman at WSU I was unsure about a major. I was fulfilling liberal arts requirements with a view to becoming a teacher, but I envied the fine arts students I would see on campus carrying their portfolios. I feared that majoring in fine arts might lead to a meager living. My solution, with encouragement from family, was to major in art education. Becoming an art teacher allowed me to be an artist and to earn and raise a family at the same time. It turned out to be the right choice for me.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?   

When I moved into Farmington Hills, I joined Art On The Ridge, a life drawing group at Oakland Community College.  I now belong to Farmington Art Foundation, Visual Arts Association of Livonia, Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, and the Mary Step Studio.

I would suggest to young artists that they get it out, put down what they want freely and be unafraid of judgment.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

As a result of a one woman show in Ann Arbor, I sold a piece, People of the Stone, to Dr. Diane Kirkpatrick, Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan. The mixed media painting, People of the Stone, was a culmination of an art trip with the Glasgow School of art and encompassed the history, mythology, ancient architecture, art and much more, of Scotland. Dr. Kirkpatrick developed a lecture and presentation created around my piece using People of the Stone and her knowledge and memories of life in Scotland. I was honored to be recognized by Dr. Kirkpatrick and the University Commons members. It was painful to part with my painting but an honor to have it go to such a prestigious patron.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

I believe Picasso said he had spent his life trying to paint like a child. When I taught my elementary level students much of what they created was so free and unexpected that I envied their lack of self consciousness. I would suggest to young artists that they get it out, put down what they want freely and be unafraid of judgment. This seems to become more difficult as we grow older.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to

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