Artist Statement

My motto, “See the Unseen” is realized thru symbolism, the language of my art. As a Magical Realist, I faithfully represent the seen exterior, thereby revealing an unseen spirit that symbolizes uplifting qualities of human nature. My small, beautiful paintings create a big impression, and use accessible imagery rich in substance to inspirit visual delight and lighthearted introspection.

I bring common elements together in uncommon ways, and contrast intimate detail with blended distance; unifying these differences paints a more cohesive story. Elements are combined using intuition and philosophic whimsy until it ‘feels right’, even if the combination is unusual or curious. My paintings are composed using axis lines of the harmonic grid, since for me, geometry offers mystical qualities that represent nature’s beauty while bringing harmony and order to my work.

Due to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, I use water-washed walnut oil paint, solvent-free techniques, and high quality eco-friendly panels. I work in highly detailed, thin layers of finely blended colors without brushstrokes. This allow the viewer to see beyond the surface and focus on the subject’s essence. Titles are determined by the emergent symbolism and unified story of the complementary imagery. Every painting is intended to serve as a visual reminder to nurture dreams and inspire imagination to soar in harmony with your soul.


Kathryn E. Noska paints animals and objects that symbolize uplifting qualities of human nature. After receiving an AFA from Montgomery County Community College she studied 17th Century Still Life painting at Chester County Art Association under Bill Ewing. Kathryn has won excellence awards in the local Philadelphia Suburban area including the Board of Directors Award from Cheltenham Art Center, the Carolyn Alber Memorial Award from in the Philadelphia Tri/State Artist Equity, and first prize in painting for the ArtAbility exhibition at the Bryn Mawr Rehab Center. She also took first prize of the National Platinum Award for Trompe l’oeil at the Fauxcademy of Decorative Finishing in Las Vegas, NV.

Her work has been accepted in numerous galleries and juried exhibitions including the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Yellow Springs Art Show, The Art Gallery at Devon Horse Show, and Malvern Retreat House Art Show. Kathryn’s work is represented in West Chester, PA, cherished in private collections, and has been exhibited in New York, Oregon and California.

Kathryn Elizabeth Noska expo photo 2 in

Being an Artist with MCS:

What is MCS? An Environmental Illness manifesting as an unusually acute allergy-like reaction to extremely low levels of many seemingly unrelated chemicals and toxicants (triggers): VOC’s, Pollutants, Solvents, Perfumes, Fragrance, Petroleum, Aldehydes, Smoke, Pesticides, Plastic/resin, Pine products, Cleaning/hygiene products, Paint/varnish etc., and often Pollen, Mold, Dust, Pet dander, Food, and Sensory input. Aka: sensitive to the modern world.

A View of My Studio

As you can see, I like being organized. On the gridwall to the left I have my brushes hanging in easy reach, right above my Art Treehouse paints. To the right you see a white try hanging off the shelf... that's my palette.

How MCS affects me:

I began training as an oil painter at 12, but gradually became ‘allergic’ to the paints/solvents. I switched to acrylic, but am sensitive to ammonia, formaldehyde, and petroleum (acrylic is plastic). Sensitive to most art materials, but a painter at heart, I did persistent research to find a paint (vs. another art form) that won’t trigger symptoms.

Huzzah! Art Treehouse walnut oil paints. This company makes sure the oil they use is not chemically processed at all stages of production. It is just cold-pressed walnut oil, which they water-wash to remove impurities.I can work with the paint when wet with no problems, but I notice that I’m sensitive to the ketones and aldehydes off gassing while the paintings cure.

I work solvent-free, using paint straight from the tube, or loosened with water-washed walnut oil or gel. Choosing a non-triggering painting surface was challenging. I like panels vs canvas, so I found that Ampersand makes their boards formaldehyde free.

Clean up is easy. I remove most of the paint from brushes with grapeseed oil, and wipe them on paper towels. Then wash them really well with Dr. Bronner’s Unscented soap.

I am overjoyed to have found a way to produce art so that I can still bring beauty and meaning into the world.