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CAN'T GET SPRING FAST ENOUGH: Shorts, skirts and flipflops: Students outside the TSC are eagerly awaiting the warmth that has been favoring Salt Lake City for weeks. / Photo by Josh Russell
Today's word on

Thursday, March 10, 2005

From the High School Free Speech Front:

"If they feel an article isn't appropriate, they will pull it -- or ask the student to make changes to it. They said that isn't censorship. They said they're just approving or not approving what goes in. What's your definition of censorship?"

--Hawley Kunz, co-editor of the Warrior News, Weber High School, Pleasant View, Utah. The principal ordered prior review of the monthly newspaper after an editorial critical of the condition of the school's running track. (3/8/05)


Providence artist Kay Homan paints the West's beauty

By Shauna Leavitt

February 26, 2005 | PROVIDENCE -- In the upstairs of a rustic red brick farm house nestled in the shadows of the Bear River Mountains, Kay Homan works on her western paintings. During the 2004 Festival of the American West, Homan's paintings won the People's Choice Award.

DEN OF CREATIVITY: Kay Homan shows some of her paintings in her Providence home. / Photo by Shauna Leavitt

"I love the West, that's my heritage," said Homan.

In the living room of the Homan home hangs a sampling of Kay's paintings: elk walking through a mountain stream, an old cowboy holding a pup, wild horses racing through a river and a chipmunk stealing the carrot from a snowman.

"[Kay's work is] beautiful; I like it for the fact that she does western themes and really brings out the western feeling in her paintings," said Irene Whittier, who grew up on a farm in Idaho and has purchased some of Homan's artwork.

Homan was raised on a ranch in Nebraska where she gained a feeling for the American West. "I had a lot of subject matter around. Before I could speak, I was drawing chickens and cows lying down," said Homan.

She didn't plan to have a career in painting. But after some unexpected bends in the road, Homan became a professional artist.

"I didn't go to art school. I didn't think I had the confidence to sell my artwork. It was scary. With all the competition out there, I didn't think I had a prayer," said Homan.

"I was working as a secretary in California. I was the last person hired so when they cut back I was laid off. It was fear of going for a job interview that gave me the drive to sell my art," said Homan.

"I had made some Christmas gifts and I thought, "hmm, maybe I'll go sell these at a swap meet [to bring in some income]," said Homan. Her art sold so she kept on going.

"I started by burning [scenes] on leather with an electric pen, I'd frame them or stretch the leather and nail it onto a rustic board. It just gave me six years of hands-on drawing and I was still able to sell it because of its uniqueness," said Homan.

"What saved my bacon and allowed me to stay in the arts was that I was working in a medium that no one else was doing. It doesn't matter how poor your skill is, if it's unique sometimes you get an edge there.

"I did everything backwards. I started with the hardest medium that I possibly could. You couldn't make any mistakes on leather; you burn a mistake and there's no way to fix it," she said. "Then I moved to colored inks on paper. I would have 20 little Dixie cups lined up on my table and I would just have to remember which I added a little bit of water to so I would have different shades. I can't believe I did that. The ink would stain and you can't make a mistake with ink."

Homan eventually tried water colors and that has been her preferred medium. "In the art world, everyone says watercolors are the hardest but after what I'd been in, it's been easier," said Homan.

Homan is always looking for new ideas for her western paintings. When she travels around the West she takes her camera in hopes of finding scenery to use in her paintings. Photos are a priceless tool in Homan's paintings. Homan said she needs photos to paint accurately. With photos she can see how the sun reflects off an elk's antlers, or how the hair of a rabbit looks when it's wet. If the opportunity is right, Homan asks Native Americans and cowboys to pose for her. She'll photograph them on horses, climbing rocks and any other actions she may need for her paintings.

Homan keeps an index of all the photos and ideas she gathers. She is always searching for the ideal background and characters for her paintings. Homan could have a cowboy and mule-team painting waiting for the perfect scenery for a year or two.

After years of hard work, Homan now participates in prestigious art shows up and down the American West including National Rodeo Finals, Pendelton Roundup Art Show, Western Artists of America Show and Buffalo Bill Invitational. She also exhibits in the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles.


To view more of Kay Homan's paintings, see


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