“The paintings in my gallery will always reflect the joys of life.” – Phyllis Kapp
When Phyllis Kapp first began selling her paintings from a one-room studio 30 years ago, there were only a handful of galleries lining Santa Fe’s historic Canyon Road. She slept, cooked, painted and sold her work all in the same building, but it was something she enjoyed. “I never felt poor. I had such joy in being able to do what I love to earn a living,” says Kapp.
Kapp’s one-room studio prospered and grew. Collectors were drawn to the jubilant watercolors that combine her love of gardening, the landscape of the southwest and color. Over time she became recognized as one of the southwest’s most delightful watercolorists.
At the same time that her work was flourishing, Kapp also started mentoring other artists. She’s had the honor of seeing artists grow with Waxlander, and then branch to open their own galleries. “As I expanded the gallery, I got the same joy encouraging other artists to live their dreams.”
Today the gallery encompasses the works of more than 30 artists and 15 rooms, and though it has grown, Kapp’s vision is still at the heart of Waxlander. Stepping inside is almost like stepping into one of her paintings, visitors are surrounded by color and life.
Though Kapp has more more freedom to paint as staff manage most of the day-to-day operations, she still makes critical decisions regarding the gallery. She ultimately decides whose works will fill the building that she once both lived and worked at. Her motto is, “Sure we all have troubles, but why put it on the walls?” and that is reflected throughout every piece. From her own vibrant watercolors, to the playful animals, painted bouquets, immersive landscapes and thought-provoking abstracts of the other artists, each artist and piece reflects the joys that she wants her gallery to encompass.