Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Katya Walker & Ben Haggett

The Palos Verdes Art Gallery
is dedicated to bring you the highest caliber fine art from contemporary masters. We specialize in realism and responsive painting. Our philosophy is to bring to the collector beautiful paintings with intrinsic value in their enjoyment and lasting investment. We represent extraordinary artists. They are pioneers forging through the art world on their own merits while creating trails to inspire future generations.

Welcome to our gallery.
Enjoy getting to know our artists and their work.

Katya Walker

The impact of Katya Walker's plein air paintings is fresh and joyful with a childlike freedom and exuberance. Underlying the innocence of Katya's paintings is a sophistication that interacts with the viewer at a deeper level. When looking at Katya's work we share her view of nature, beauty and color: reawakening our own joy in the simple pleasures of our daily life.

Katya was born in the heartland of America in 1962. Her heritage is diverse and culturally rich and her education ranges from the arts to science. From early childhood Katya displayed a powerful artistic talent that was fostered by her encouraging parents. Honing her craft over decades, Katya studied with world renowned teachers at a very young age. Katya met and received a partial scholarship from Sergei Bongart at fifteen. Katya says, "The time spent with Sergei and Del Gish in Idaho at Sergei's workshop is where I learned the keys I needed to unlock my talents, giving me the freedom to paint anything subject I wanted. It was hard work, fifteen years of studying color on my own, learning various techniques from the skillful mastery of Dutch still life, to the glazing of the French portraits, to the fevered strokes and buoyant color of the impressionists ~ yet that was the turning point of painting career." At sixteen Katya met the brilliant sculptor Max Turner, adding to her art education and then continuing her studies with a full scholarship with Sergei Bongart.

Katya's style is rooted in a foundation of academic knowledge in the line of the great masters of brush work; Joaquin Sorrolla, James Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and Illya Repin, as well as the subtlety and magic of James McNeil Whistler, Valentin Serov, and the colorist explorations of the impressionists Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. Her work has been described by art critics as a combination of Sargent, Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse, but with a modern flair. Katya has followed the path of the great masters while grafting her own technique and expression to her powerful artistic style.

At seventeen Katya received her first large commission of thirteen still life oil paintings for the Chicago Hyatt Water Tower Hotel. While the art world embraced conceptual contemporary art, shunning realism and representational fine art, Katya found that her artistic knowledge and design skills, along with her understanding of the human response to visuals were a valuable marketing asset. As an Art Director of numerous Award-winning movie posters, Katya continued to further refine her craft and artistic abilities. As a creative professional, she has influenced which movies you have chosen to see as well as created works of art that have graced the halls of private collectors and public venues with her numerous commissions and exhibitions around the world.

In this exhibit is a selection of her recent plein air and oil sketch work. They range from demos while teaching, quick plein air sketches with fellow painters, solitary excursions into the country side and desert, quick still life studies, to the thrill of painting the human form in short pose sessions. The caught moment un-adulterated, just pure responsiveness to the beauty in front of her, this is what Katya paints. She shares her exploration of these precious moments with us as only a modern master can ~ with precision, power and passion. Her work creates a lasting impression of color, movement and vibrancy that entices you to look again and again.

After moving to southern California Katya recalls her first time seeing the ocean. "When I was three my father was transferred to San Diego, a rocket scientist working for the government. We had just spent my first three years in Kansas and Arkansas where big open spaces were ingrained in my early psyche. I had the privilege of being in nature, riding horses on the expansive plains of the prairies. I had a hard time moving west until the first time I saw the ocean. I still remember how I let out a little yell as I ran full speed into the waves. I was rescued from being tossed in the foam by my brother and father, who had to drag me out repeatedly as I kept running back into the waves. It was as if the ocean was my real mother and I was diving deep into her bosom. No fear, no trepidation, just pure joy. That magical feeling has never waned, but has increased over the years. Her rhythms and shifts reflect to me the human emotions, as well as the spiritual aspects of ourselves. To capture that essence is what I attempt to convey when I paint ~ to share that mystical and physical connection."

Katya Walker resides in Los Angeles and in the Sierras, painting and teaching her Russian/ American method of fine art. For more information on Katya Walker visit

Ben Haggett

Ben Haggett, born in 1966, grew up in the big sky country of Montana, and you can see the direct impact of this in his intense and beautiful skies in his work. Ben has a degree in English and a second one in Fine Art. Ben found his way to representational painting through his own efforts, as the academic focus on art at the time was mostly conceptual. This forging of his own way, to find his own artistic style, I believe has given his work such distinct personal voice. Not overly flavored by the technique or style of another's hand, his is a strong and individual creative tone. In his brush strokes you see and feel the confidence and energy of the dance between what Ben sees and how it impacts his own personal experience.

We see this pure energetic brush and color in Ben's immediate and intense connection to his subject. The physicality of his work has glimpses of Van Gogh's. Pure like a fresh strawberry that can’t be improved by additives, or the clear crisp pure water of a high up mountain stream. The impact is refreshing and welcome.

Ben shares,
"Through happenstance and proximity I worked quite a few years in Glacier Park and eventually needed a way to respond to it besides climbing and skiing and fishing, and started painting. I doubt I'll ever stop... I need something real to respond to, real sunlight, real snow, and real water. I admire very much the work of the Canadian Tom Thomson, whose paintings are abrupt, direct, and either beautiful or, occasionally, complete train wrecks. Better to have nine train wrecks and one real painting, than ten decent pictures, I believe. That is where I want to be with each painting, walking that sort of ridge line, with a fall on either side and the only way up, or down"

With Ben's paintings, we get to relive his experience so wonderfully captured in wild yet controlled brush strokes as he paints, taking us with him on the ridge line, sharing with us that pure honest moment.

Ben says it perfectly about his work when he shares his philosophy, "When I was at college, getting a degree in art and some teaching credentials, all the studio classes emphasized the conceptual. Sure, there was some very basic color theory, and some drawing, but mostly it was all about the idea you were trying to communicate, whether it was fresh and clever, ironic and self aware. At the end of the day, it really didn't matter whether you actually knew how to handle your medium, except maybe in ceramics. The part of painting that is about craft, about technical knowledge, about making color and value decisions, about, God forbid, standing out in the big wide world trying to understand what nature has put in front of you, that part, well, that was pretty much up to you. Maybe that's how it should be. After all, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of landscape painters. As for me, I have come to value simplicity above just about anything. Instead of trying to think my way through a painting, I try to quiet my mind, in order to get closer to something like a direct experience of what is. It seems to me that the product of such perception must of necessity be beautiful. Of course, to have this artistic event happen your knowledge of the craft of painting has to become second nature. It's the same old conundrum that artists of all kinds have always faced. Practice, practice, practice. I have to say, though, I love the practice. Painting doesn't have an end. It just goes on and on, running like a river, and I like to stand in it as a river, and watch the evening grow out of it, the cottonwoods fired by the last light, pure color everywhere. Trying to convey some of this seems important work, though hard like all good work is, and if you feel just a bit of it looking at my paintings, that's all I can ask."

Ben Haggett resides in Montana and is the creator of www.Allaprimapochade.com

These gems of Katya Walker and Ben Haggett are even more
beautiful and transcendent when you see them in person. We hope you bring one of these rare moments into your life, and feel the resonance of Responsive Painting.