About Me

Kate at Cooley Woods photo by Kevin MorganFor me, creativity is like breathing: sustaining, healing, a delight. It’s how I celebrate; it’s how I grieve; it’s how I learn; it’s how I show love, care, and respect; it’s how I cope.

It’s how I became what I was meant to be.

Becoming Lost book coverI was born with an overwhelming love for stories and a lifelong interest in the outdoors. Walking, drawing, making notes, playing with tadpoles and bugs made me long to be a naturalist when I grew up, and I have been blessed to spend my years wandering the outdoors, writing books and articles, making field sketches and paintings of what I found in nature. Nature is my muse, my healer, my ancestor, and my greatest teacher. I can’t imagine a life separate from the wind, the earth, the fire and the waters that surround us. It’s a constant inspiration. It is home, and I have the best of both worlds – doing what I love and earning a living from it.

And now I am privileged to have reached my cronehood relatively unscathed, to be able to slow down, take time to learn, absorb, explore the inner landscape as well as the outer one. Drawing, journaling, sewing, slow-stitching, making drums and flutes and small beings I call poppets seem to suffice to keep me off the streets. I look for signposts along the way in my favorite modern-day storytellers, and poke around amongst the old tales of my Irish, Scottish, Welsh and British ancestors, dreaming of standing stones and dolmens, Druids and the fae. I find my life the richer for it.

But one still has to eat … and so, to business.

Kate at Wallace State ParkI’ve worked as an artist, writer, teacher and naturalist for most of my working life and have written and illustrated 36 books. These include 11 for North Light Books and two art books for The Sierra Club. But publishing is a volatile business, and both North Light and Sierra Club are now out of business. Happily, many of those books are now being produced by Echo Point Books, and others through Viking Penguin. They are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local bookseller, and many right here on my Catalog page.

I’ve taught online since early in this century on various platforms, at first with interactive classes in Yahoogroups, then on dedicated blogs on Blogger, and finally self-directed mini-classes in early 2010, thereabouts, accessible through my own webpage. These last are still available – please check the Art Classes page for details.

I’ve done online classes for Strathmore Papers and for Sketchbook Skool; who knows what the future may bring?

Technology changes, platforms come and go, be we always find a way – I am an inveterate teacher, as I’ve said, and I not only love to share, I need to. My students and friends often call me Kate, and I love it – feel free. We’ve had some wonderful times together through the years, and I hope to continue with you.

Kate's Art JournalsI own and operate Graphics/Fine Arts Press with my business partner, best friend, knight, and husband, Joseph Ruckman. G/FA publishes books of interest to history buffs and interpreters. In that field, I am most often known as Kate Johnson, a name that stuck when I got into the hobby of historical reenacting over 30 years ago. We live in an old house at the edge of a small town 28 miles from busy Kansas City, two blocks from a beautiful river and Isley Park Woods Missouri Natural Area, with a small, revolving menagerie of cats.

My offerings can be found in my Etsy shop, Cathy Johnson Art — an eclectic mix of original fine art prints, books, art supplies, handmade jewelry, and whimsies. I also have an occasional presence on eBay at katestreasures — please come visit!