Mural artist sees a house as one big, empty canvas |

Mural artist sees a house as one big, empty canvas

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Artist Kathy Hammill is currently working on several murals for the Topaz Lodge.

Kathy Hammill has had a love for painting all her life.

Her favorite medium is oils on canvas, but recently began using acrylics on canvas panels.

“I’ve done lots of murals, mostly in private homes and doctor’s offices,” Hammill said.

“Sometimes when I drive around town, I think, ‘Oh, I did that, and I did one there. It’s kind of fun.”

Hammill, 64, has had her favorite subjects to paint also. She loves to paint animals, and used to paint American Indians.

“Then I did wildlife, people and portraits,” she said. “I love doing big paintings.

“To me, a house is just one big canvas.”

Hammill’s home has several murals and many of her oils on the walls. Her favorite mural is that of several Pittsburgh Steelers football players on a wall behind the bar.

The Topaz Lodge and Casino recently asked Hammill to paint several panels for them. The panels will be installed just before the lodge’s reopening, tentatively scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. The casino was damaged by a fire on April 3.

There are three panels to be placed behind a stagecoach in the lodge, with a fourth panel to be placed in another area.

“You get much richer colors using acrylic paints on canvas,” Hammill said. “I then apply a coating when I’m done as a sealer, a protectant.”

Hammill sometimes works with a decorator, Rita Wolfe of Reno, who is doing the lodge’s interior design. Hammill said the panel with the deer took about three days to complete, committing about six hours a day.

“I use pictures of animals for reference and for the best detail,” she said. “I do the same when painting a portrait.

“The scenery has detail. It has a background, mid-ground and foreground giving it a three-dimensional look. You can do that with any oil.”

Hammill has been painting for years and took classes at Austin Arts, where she eventually became an instructor.

“I love to paint anything, I really do,” she said.

“It’s a focus and relaxation thing for me.”

Hammill has lived in Carson City since 1974. It was while teaching a class at Austin Arts she met her husband, Tom, a retired Nevada Highway Patrolman.

“He was one of my students,” she said with a grin.

She has two children: son, Scott, in Washington, and daughter, Kristy, in Reno, and seven grandchildren.

When Hammill isn’t focused on painting, she enjoys spending time playing in the pool with her grandchildren, out in their travel trailer, or on the back of her husband’s Harley-Davidson.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.


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