Artist’s love for her daughter, art supports rare disease
Katie Wall Podracky is painting what she loves and loving what she paints. On July 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can view her artwork up-close and personal in a free pop-up show at Collective Interiors (113 N. Church St.) in Asheboro.
Podracky, a Burlington-born Triad native, said she grew up in Asheboro, received her biology and art degrees from Washington Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and then went on to get her Master’s in art education at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She later moved to Savannah, Georgia, where she worked full-time as an artist and took one class a quarter at Savannah Art & Design for two years. Ironically, she met her husband in Savannah, who later got a job in Greensboro, and they moved back to the area with their two children in 2008.
Podracky said she was represented in several galleries in 2008, but said, “it was not a good time to be an artist,” so she began teaching art in public schools for five years. Then she became a mother, and once again returned to painting. Presently, she works by commission and is not represented by any galleries. (Although folks can see one of her paintings at @Elm Street Grill in Greensboro because, she said, a generous customer purchased one of her works. She said she happily donated that money to Irving Park Elementary PTA. )
Podracky said that oil is her favorite medium and that she loves the vivid color and texture. She also likes to work in gouache paint, an opaque watercolor medium that is easier to clean up, especially she said, when traveling with children. She combines her love of nature in her art en plein air (which is the act of painting outdoors). She said she works to find balance as a painter and mother. She has someone who cares for children at least two times a week, while her husband takes the kids places on the weekend. She said she created a time-lapsed video of her work to show how she starts with very bright colors that most people are surprised by, and loves how the bright colors create happy surprises in the final painting. She said she does most of her work in her Greensboro home studio above her garage, and she isn’t just creating art for art’s sake these days. It would be impossible to write about her art without including another project near and dear to her heart. It involves raising money for medical research for a rare disease her daughter, Georgia, was born with.
“Food Protein-induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) is a rare food allergy that affects mostly young children and infants… This allergy occurs in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can lead to severe, even life-threatening complications”, according to Healthline.com. Podracky said this diagnosis made her feel like she “had no control over anything in her life.” She hopes to help others who may not have yet found the proper diagnosis for their child. (Folks can read more of her daughter’s story here.)
There is an upcoming “Greensboro Walk for FPIES” at Country Park to help Georgia Podracky and other families with FPIES on Sunday, July 28, 3-5 p.m. Podracky said this is a benefit for I-FPIES (a nonprofit that supports medical research for FPIES). A suggested donation of $25 per participant is requested to fund medical research for FPIES. This event will include a 1.5-mile walk on a paved stroller-friendly path and shaved ice (FPIES safe treats) will be available for purchase. In conjunction with the walk, Podracky plans to donate a painting, “Super Moon over Bald Head Island.” Tickets for the drawing may be purchased online with a $5 donation.
Podracky will also be teaching four camps this summer: “Up Your Colored Pencil Game” (rising third graders and up) on July 10 and 11; “Under the Sea Paper Collage” (rising second graders and up) on July 31 and Aug. 1; “Paint the Eiffel Tower or a Parisian Portrait of Your Pet” (rising second graders and up) on Aug. 7 and 8; and “Paper Flower Bouquets” (rising fourth graders and up) on Aug. 14 and 15.
“Painting has saved me, it’s my therapy, it’s my income and my escape from the overwhelming demands of motherhood,” Podracky said. “I’ve always been an artist; it’s just who I am. I could never be bitter about my life, but I can become a little bitter when I don’t get to paint.”
TERRY RADER is a former ad agency pro creative director, branding strategist, Earth Harmony columnist and storyteller on a mission to write stories to promote creative people, grassroots, sustainability and underground happenings in our community while she pet/home sits and writes her personal stories, songs, poems, and nature essays.
July 27, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Katie Wall Podracky Art Pop-up show at Collective Interiors, 113 N. Church St., Asheboro. July 28, 3-5 p.m., Greensboro Walk for FPIES, Country Park, Greensboro, $25 donations for participants and $5 for painting drawing. To learn more, visit Podracky’s Facebook page.