Art Talks with *new artist* Kathryn Doner



In this edition of Art Talks, we explore the themes behind the practice of one of our most recent additions to Crescent Hill. Her beautifully contemporary and moving abstract works create mood and emotion in any space. Read our interview with Kathryn below to learn more about her practice and interests! Let us know what you think!



artist bio

Kathryn Doner is a Toronto-based abstract artist and muralist. Her insatiable curiosity and boundless energy result in an experimental, vigorous approach to art – tempered with her keen eye for balance and detail. Her career as a graphic designer has influenced her desire to seek balance and harmony between loose organic strokes and controlled shapes.

Abstraction is her journey to seek the full experience of creating a problem, and then solving it through layers, blocking, transparencies, color, and form.


“Soak It All In I”, 48×60 inches, acrylic on canvas

interview with the artist

CH: Can you give us a bit of background on your experience as a designer and artist?

KD: I’ve had a flourishing career in graphic design for over 15 years which has allowed me to hone my skills and kept me current with design trends.

In addition to my design journey, I’ve embarked on a personal artistic exploration, dedicating the past 5 years to becoming a self-taught abstract artist and muralist. This self-discovery has been marked by a conscious shift towards a more humanistic approach, tapping into my intuition and engaging my entire body, particularly my hands, to create meaningful and emotive artwork.

I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring (bringing) this unique blend of technical expertise and a holistic artistic approach to your gallery.


“Duo II”, 48×36 inches, acrylic on canvas


CH: What would you say motivates your practice? Why do you create? 

KD: I love to problem-solve visually. I create art to feel grounded in something physical and allow myself to completely fall into a state of flow.


“Family Quirks”, 30×30 inches, acrylic on canvas


CH: Your work often focuses on colour fields with a variety of expertly composed mark-making. Why do you gravitate to this subject matter/format? What do you find compelling about it?

KD: Much of my work is pulled from the concept of different moods or emotions, and colour is the way for me to tell that story. I love to experiment with different palettes, and I have always been drawn to color theory.  Finding balance and depth in my work is the most compelling aspect, and I achieve that with composition, color, and texture.


Kathryn’s Studio Space


CH: Can you explain your process for creating a piece? Does this have some relation to the imagery you paint?

KD: My process is now a true reflection of who I am as an artist. It is a marriage of both intuitive painting and digital problem-solving. I start with an underpainting that is completely intuitive, where I make marks and experiment with different techniques like staining, dripping, palette knife, large brush strokes, etc. From there, I take everything into a digital phase where I plan the composition of the piece. Finally, I return to the physical where I paint the composition into reality.


“Untitled”, 30×24 inches, acrylic on canvas


CH: What do you think brings the most inspiration to start painting?

KD: My inspiration, like most, stems from personal experiences. I translate emotions that are tethered to my perspective, onto the canvas through various methods and techniques. The need to create and work from introspection helps capture my moment in time.


Kathryn in studio


CH: What has been the most enjoyable part of your art career so far?

KD: Seeing how far my work has reached. From large-scale international corporate murals to custom artwork for many enthusiasts and collectors. Hard work, patience, and persistence towards my vision to be a creator in this beautiful world. My journey is ongoing, I have much to experience and plenty to learn & experiment with.


“It’s In My DNA”, 48×60 inches, acrylic on canvas


CH: What does the term “art” mean to you? How does it identify with your practice?

KD: The beauty of art is in everyone’s own right to feel what they want to, both in making the art and experiencing it. My art practice includes both control and planning, layered on top of emotive intuition. I am so drawn to the process of my work because I create the puzzle and then work backward to piece it back together.


“Duo I”, 48×36 inches, acrylic on canvas


CH: Has anyone influenced you significantly in your artistic journey? If so, who and how did this change your practice? Are there any other artists/artworks that you are inspired/influenced by?

KD: My grandfather was an artist who worked in many different mediums and influenced my desire to experiment and find art in anything. From up-cycled sculptures to copper enamel, he dabbled in lots of different areas of art.

My mother, still life – high realism. I appreciate her keen eye for detail.

I was influenced and inspired by Helen Frankenthaler; Lawren Harris; and Heather Day.



CH: What do you do in your leisure time when you aren’t painting?

KD: I spend time being present with my lovely husband and business partner and our spunky 4.5-year-old. We love to be outside in our backyard where we spend time gardening and creating a space for friends and family.


“Small Study I”, 8×8 inches, acrylic on canvas



“Small Study II”, 8×8 inches, acrylic on canvas


CHWhat are your goals for your art practice in 2024 and beyond?

KD: Goals for 2024 are to continue to build my brand. Create a new website and gather an email list. We plan to build an art studio for 2024, so much of our energy will be put towards creating a beautiful space to be creative. No doubt this will spark a ton of creativity into my process and will position me to flourish!




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