Kay Zetlmaier is the embodiment of passion. She is an adventurer, explorer and lover of nature. And she is zealous and responsive to the world around her, as portrayed in her paintings.
Kay has an extensive education in art. An undergraduate art major at Cal State University, Long Beach, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1972. Postgraduate honors came later in life with a Masters degree from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. Her thesis titled, “Transcending Personal and Social Norms to Paint with Autonomy” was an exhibition of the nude male and female in union with the landscape and was shown at a private venue in Ventura County. It’s no wonder Kay’s profound personal relationship with nature would evolve into the blending of the two for her project “There is a relationship of sensuality, depth, color and movement between man and his environment, and I wanted to represent this”.
Kay fell in love with California’s natural splendor during her childhood years as her parents would make a point of taking her on trips to outdoor places of interest and beauty. Seeing the majestic cliffs and falls of Yosemite, waterskiing on the Colorado River, camping in Lake Tahoe and visiting the Grand Canyon were among the many natural wonders imprinted in Kay’s soul.
In the last few years, Kay's work has migrated towards capturing sublime moments in the seascape that surrounds her. “I have always been drawn to water in many ways, and now I find great enjoyment painting the spontaneous and unpredictable character of the sea”.
Today, Kay splits her time between painting along the California Coast and traveling to the world's most scenic places to seek out new experiences and inspirations in her work. Trips abroad to Europe, Canada, Mexico, Turkey and Greece, greatly add to her cache of information and artistic knowledge. Whether combing ruins of Pompeii, absorbing the French countryside, climbing windmills, or observing glaciers, Kay’s personal adventures, home or abroad are represented in her beautiful work.
Currently, Kay is discovering the spontaneity and boldness of abstraction. this transition, albeit not an easy one, has stimulated and offered excitement in her new works.
Kay recently retired after thirty years of passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm for art and art history to high school students in Ventura County. “Teaching is my vehicle for advocating the importance of art in the lives of our future." Now she is teaching adults in her studio. Other "hats" Kay wears are: Co-curator for D.A.Davidson & Co. Gallery of professional artists and annual youth art show; volunteer for artist in the classroom, Somis Elementary; past founding director for Ventura’s Plein Air Invitational.
Kay lives in Ventura, CA. Being an artist runs in the family. Her son Randy, (www.randymartinez.art) has created official art for Star Wars, Marvel, Jurassic Park, Aliens, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the San Francisco Giants and more.