“That I can create a world, from my head, where people would actually want to go, makes me feel like I’ve achieved something.”

Two vivid memories from my childhood: I loved to paint and draw, and I had a strong interest in allegorical figures and mythology.

As a child, an early Raphael painting, “The Three Graces”, particularly appealed to me. I must have rendered it 40 times. I would give fresh versions to elementary school teachers, and would be quite mystified when they didn’t enthusiastically hang the corpulent nudes up for all the class to see, as my mother had done at home.

With a German mother, I’ve spent considerable time in Europe, throughout the years. There is a definite European influence in my work, notably in my fascination with the Renaissance, and both its Italian and Northern European themes.

I received my formal training at the California College of Arts in Oakland, now based in San Francisco and called CCA. My interests didn’t necessarily fit in with the then-popular style of dark, aggressive, political art. It was there, by contrast, that I embraced my passion for a more classical style of painting.

I incorporate styles I love into my work, inspired by various eras in art history, adding some fantasy and whimsy. My paintings are rooted in the techniques of Flemish masters, borrowing from Ingres, Frederick Lord Leighton, and Maxfield Parrish. “Tongue-in-cheek Classicism” as I like to call it.

Lobster Bisque  , on the left, with   Los Angeles  , from The Cities series.

Lobster Bisque, on the left, with Los Angeles, from The Cities series.

A favorite compliment of my work, which I’ve heard a few times now, most recently for Lobster Bisque and Los Angeles from The Cities series is: “I want to be there!” A reaction, based on, perhaps, the harmony they see, the colors I choose, or just the general happiness of the figures I paint. The fact that I can create a world from my head where people would actually want to go, makes me feel I’ve achieved something indeed.

I currently live and work in Brooklyn Heights, New York. You’ll find me at my desk and easel painting pretty much every day.

Additionally, as one of my passions is the Christmas season, (as I mentioned, German mother!), and what that time of year has meant over the centuries, I’ve designed and created an elegant and appealing collection of Christmas items based on folkloric and cultural characters that bestow gifts during this time. It’s been a labor of love, but I do invite you to take a look at my Gift Bearers®, as I am very proud of them.

—Kurt Walters