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VIVA welcomes Viroqua oil painter Kathie Wheeler

VIVA welcomes Viroqua oil painter Kathie Wheeler

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During the month of August, VIVA Gallery will feature the work of Kathie Wheeler, a Viroqua oil painter whose work has garnered national recognition. The member artist featured in August is Maureen Karlstad, an accomplished potter. VIVA’s monthly First Thursday artist reception remains on hold.

Wheeler is a representational oil painter whose work is inspired by the people and places in her life. She grew up in the Chicago area and studied at the American Academy of Art. She now lives on a small farm with her husband in southwest Wisconsin. Wheeler is a lifelong student of painting and loves to pass her passion to others through classes and workshops. She is a signature member of Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society and American Women Artists. Her work is regularly selected for national exhibits by each of these highly-respected organizations.

Wheeler counts herself fortunate to be an artist. Her evocative landscapes and stunning portraits reflect the scenes and people in her daily life. Many are painted on location or from life. Whether experiencing the challenges or the pleasures of painting “in plein air” or painting in the sanctuary of her studio, she is happiest translating the beauty of her surroundings onto canvas with brushes and paint.

When Karlstad works with clay, she strives to make objects that are both functional and beautiful. All of her pots have an aesthetic usefulness to them, and many transcend pure usefulness to become art objects as well. Lately she’s been thinking about pottery as craft and focusing on the forms she is making. But after forming and glazing, she is called to add a brush stroke or two to make the piece feel complete. It’s the dual nature of pottery work that really calls to her — craft and art in equal measure.

Wheeler’s oil paintings, Karlstad’s pottery and the works of VIVA’s 25 member artists will be featured at VIVA throughout the month of August. The gallery is located at 217 S. Main Street in Viroqua. Hours are Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information about this and the status of future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608-637-6918 or

The gallery’s First Thursday reception is normally followed by a 7 p.m. dinner next door at Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table. While restaurants are impacted by gathering restrictions, Rooted Spoon is providing themed meals for pick-up each Thursday. Information can be found at


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