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 Kathi Hilton  (1939 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Utah      Known for: western desert landscape painting

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Biography from Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery:
Kathi Hilton is the daughter of desert artist John W. Hilton 1904-1983.  As a young girl, she spent time in the Northern Mexico town of Los Alamos while her father explored the plants, animals, and customs of Sonora.  Her father wrote about her in his Sonora Sketchbook.

Hilton shares her father's love of the desert, and her paintings tell the tale that she learned to paint at her father's easel.  She was included in her father's circle of very interesting people.  One of John Hilton's friends was aviator and industrialist Howard Hughes. Once, Hughes landed his airplane on the highway in front of John's humble gem shop and art studio just South of Indio, CA.  He brought dinner with him, which was fresh Maine lobster for little Kathi's birthday.

Another of John's friends and painting partners was actor James Cagney.  Cagney liked to get out of Hollywood, visit John at his Twentynine Palms ranch, and paint. One day as both men were painting, little Kathi joined in.  She was frustrated that she couldn't paint as well as her father.  At one point, Cagney turned to young Kathi and said, "Kathi, don't worry. You don't have to paint like your father, just paint what's in your heart."  Of that day, Kathi now says, "That's the day I became an artist."

As an artist, she had several successful exhibitions, and has been featured with covers and articles in Desert Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, and was invited to participate in the Frank Tenney Johnson Memorial Show at the Gene Autry Hotel in Palm Springs.  She was a founding member of Women Artists of the American West (now Women Artists of the West) and a member of other art organizations.  She has given many educational programs in California and other Western states.  She carried on the tradition of the Death Valley 49ers Encampment for many years.  She currently lives in Northeastern Utah.

Kathi uses a palette knife, and a technique crafted by her father of mixing bee's wax with oil paints to achieve a texture perspective, giving the finished painting realistic impressions of depth. Her paintings show luminosity.

Sources: 
John W. Hilton, Sonora Sketchbook
The Desert Magazine
www.waow.org.

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