The Dawning

Kathryn Abernathy - The Dawning

My daughter and I just returned from a slightly elongated weekend getaway to the wonderfully quirky and ever artful city of Asheville, North Carolina. We went to Asheville expecting to enjoy a vibrant art and food scene but never expected to be as captivated by the diverse and highly talented artists that call Asheville home. I decided on my return flight that my first official blog post would be about an artist that both my daughter and I found particularly warm and engaging, funny and witty, talented and humble. As I spoke with Kathryn I was amazed at the number of similarities that existed between our lives. Small towns. Corporate Careers. Migraines. Second Chapters.

Kathryn Abernathy Painting in Ashville

Kathryn Abernathy at Work in Asheville

Kathryn, the artist I am referring to, was born and raised in Medina, Tennessee and attended college at the University of Tennessee. She was intrigued by her math professor, who happened to be on sabbatical from NASA, as he had the first computer Kathryn had ever seen. Four years later she graduated with a degree in mathematics and went on to enjoy a successful career as a computer programmer.

In 1998, Kathryn got her first migraine. It lasted five debilitating years. “Years of neurological appointments and buckets of brain-altering pills offered no lasting relief,” she said.

Purely by chance, Kathryn won a watercolor class in an auction. With that first small introduction to colors, something remarkable happened. Her head quit hurting. Kathryn took that as a positive sign and starting painting… a lot. Soon Kathryn had paintings lining the walls of her studio, then all over her house.

Kathryn created her first website in an attempt to sell some of her work. She was amazed that in the first week, three pieces sold This served as just enough validation to assure Kathryn she was on the right path.

Kathryn’s work has progressed from watercolors to acrylics, as they felt freer to her. The work that I witnessed and fell in love with is her most current medium, acrylics combined with blending and layering a cold wax medium.  Although I  didn’t see any of this work on our trip to Asheville, Kathryn shared with me that when she first started painting it was really dark and dramatic. She concluded that was all the bad bad days of migraines working their way out of her system. Whatever the reason, I certainly am drawn to her current collection. Layer after layer, the colors and textures that accumulate seem to be representative of life itself.

Kathryn shared with us that working as an artist has made her a much happier and more balanced person as it forces her to quit thinking and just experience what is happening in the current moment.

My daughter and I were drawn to a piece entitled “The Dawning.” It seemed like a piece fitting for the phase of life we are entering in to. My daughter and best friend will leave for college next week. It will represent a dawning of sorts for both of us. New beginnings. This piece will forever be symbolic of our trip together and of the bitter sweet feelings new beginnings, new dawnings, create for both of us.

So I anxiously await the arrival of our piece. I know exactly where it will hang in my house – a wall that adjoins our bedrooms. A wall that I will pass by every morning and evening and a place that will forever remind me of this special trip shared between a mother, daughter and the art they both adored.

A small collection of Kathryn’s work will also be on display at TallulahBelle’s during the fall. I am honored to share her work with you.






Melanie ColemanThe Dawning