Kayo Peeler, The Process and The Journey

     Kayo Peeler’s remarkable oil paintings reflect her appreciation for the beauty and mystery of life. Kayo (rhymes with mayo) works in an expressive style filled with light, color and texture. Her strong command of composition and form, coupled with skilled technique, invites you to share her charming, unique and vivid point of view. 

     Born in Oberlin, Ohio, Kayo was immersed in creativity and expression from an early age. Almost daily ballet lessons, classical piano studies and weekly art classes at the local museum channelled her energies towards the arts from an early age. An active child, Kayo was the typical “horse crazy” kid, and remembers harassing her parents relentlessly until she was able to have her own horses, training and showing Thoroughbreds in regional hunter/jumper competitions. 

     Kayo became a serious visual artist on entering Wellesley College and discovering the art department, plunging into classes of drawing, painting and sculpture. It was here that she fell in love with the rich juiciness of oil paints and has been a dedicated oil painter ever since. “My art is fueled by the creative process and the feelings of empowerment and transformation that creating art has gifted me. In my work I share these moments of joy with my viewers and take them to places where they can connect to a unique and powerful, yet momentary, experience.” 

Always learning, Peeler returned to school and earned an MBA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, supporting herself and her family for many years in corporate positions as a project manager and financial analyst, all the while continuing to paint and develop her artwork. After a number of years, realizing she was fully committed to her art practice, Kayo returned to school once more, earning her BFA from Colorado State University, Fort Collins,
in 2005. Being both a graduate of the University of Colorado and Colorado
State University, Kayo is officially both a Buff (CU), and a Ram (CSU). This proves interesting and especially fun during football season, when the annual rivalry between these two schools heats up. 

     Peeler cites CSU art professors Dave Yust and Patrice Sullivan as important influences on her work and processes. “Through my education I have been able to continually deepen my exploration of the creative process and honor it as the foundation for my work.” Some of Kayo’s favorite books on creativity include The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Kayo remembers her time in art school as being filled with tremendous challenges and growth. One of the highlights of her BFA experience was having the opportunity to live and study in the Tuscany region of Italy as part of CSU’s art program. Peeler’s subject matter, composition and point of view reflect a deep understanding of art history. 

     Foremost, Kayo considers herself to be an American painter, following in the legacy of American masters Edward Hopper, Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud. Like them, Peeler’s subject matter focuses on the backdrops and objects of our daily lives and is inspired by the energetic forces of the “here and now” surrounding all of us. Her painterly treatment of these everyday experiences reflects a generosity of spirit, a bit of humor and definite compassion for life. 

Peeler’s latest series of intimate works, titled Sweetheart City Nocturnes, has been described as “little zen windows on Loveland, filled with a warm palette and indigo nights.” Peeler describes this series of paintings as an expression of appreciation for the shops, venues and street corners of her hometown of Loveland, Colorado. Kayo’s cityscapes are easily identified by her unique point of view and her ability to capture the moment with an expressive use of shape, value, color, light and edge. “I am fascinated by the otherworldly atmosphere of the night scene. Normal things are special and strange at night; it is easy to be pulled into the realms of imagination and feeling.” 

The natural landscape also engages Kayo, especially rivers, lakes and the precious bounty of fresh water that flows down from the mountains every year, nurturing life along meandering paths. “Water is one of our most precious commodities; sitting on a rock in the river and feeling the life forces flowing all around me, I am inspired by the power and the movement of these natural forces. I wonder and question what might lie below the surface, and I admire the new life that is continuously being generated and fed by the river’s dynamic waters. Living along Colorado’s Front Range, it is impossible to not be affected by the commanding forces of nature in our lives. The palette of color and light is unique and deeply moving. I endeavor to capture and evoke feelings of joy, peace and the perfect mystery of life, temporarily dissolving the separation of the individual from the place. We can pause and share this experience within ourselves, returning again and again through the power of art. This is why painting the landscape is a life-long, never ending experience for me. I return again and again, and with every visit I replenish my creative well and grow new ideas and feelings I want to share with my audience.” 

In 2012, Peeler made the shift to working full time as an artist and established her own studio, Kayo Peeler Fine Art, which has been located in both the Fort Collins Museum of Art, Fort Collins, Colorado, and also within Artworks Loveland, Loveland, Colorado. Kayo paints every day in her art studio in Loveland, and is an active participant in Open Studios, Art Walks and Studio Tours. Kayo is a member of the Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Artists Colorado, and the Women’s Caucus for Art. 

In addition to creating and painting every day, Kayo is into simplifying her life. “I love walking, it is my favorite form of exercise. The rhythmic pace connects me to the earth and to my surroundings in an exceptional and significant way. I am able to slow down and appreciate the moment; I see things that other people miss and I experience feelings that I can share in my paintings.“Kayo believes the manner in which we choose to live directly results in our level of happiness and the amount of joy we can experience in life. Harkening back to her childhood, Kayo still loves to dance and will take any opportunity to spend an evening with friends, moving and grooving to just about any kind of music. 

     To quote Eckhart Tolle, “How is always more important than what. See if you can give more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve.”  For Kayo, creating art is all about maintaining the sanctity of the process and continuously improving her life experience. Kayo Peeler’s artwork mission is to connect more and to share more of the authentic visual experiences that surround us every day.