My life as an artist evolved from a childhood filled with love, joyous laughter, music and various creative crafting projects. From the time I was a young child, I have always enjoyed painting, drawing and crafting.
Throughout my academic career, I was constantly encouraged to pursue my passion for art by my parents, friends and a series of talented and supportive teachers. While an art major at California State University, Sacramento, I studied jewelry making, ceramics and printmaking, but focused primarily on painting and drawing. I eventually earned a master’s degree in art in 1977. At the time, I had no idea what I might do with my new degree. I had only a distant dream of someday working as a professional artist.
Travel has always been an important part of my life. Shortly after college, I set out on an adventure that would significantly influence the direction of my interests. For two years, I worked and traveled throughout New Zealand, my mother’s homeland. I learned to truly appreciate the beauty of nature in the awe-inspiring environment that surrounded me. The exotic tropical flowers and fruits were a great source of delight, and became the subject of my drawings and paintings. I experimented with new forms of artistic expression, which reaffirmed my belief that art would always be part of my life.
While traveling in New Zealand, I discovered my love of calligraphy. It all began with a gift from a dear friend – a two-dollar instructional book on hand-lettering, a broad-edged pen and a bottle of ink. I quickly became intrigued by the art of calligraphy and began filling my journals with decorative words and images.
Upon my return to California, I began taking classes and seriously studying calligraphy. My interest in lettering took me to London, New York, Portland, Rome, and San Francisco in order to further my experience and to study with several world-renowned calligraphers. In 1979, my husband, Doug, and I launched a small calligraphy business specializing in hand-lettered wedding invitations. That work eventually led to commissions for book jackets, logotypes, packaging and greeting cards. It still amazes me that an entire career could be built on such a simple beginning!
The birth of our son, Aaron, in 1981 coincided with the realization that my dream of becoming a full-time professional artist could come true. Doug’s innate business sense and foresight gave me the support and courage to make that dream a reality. In between caring for our young son and teaching calligraphy classes, Doug and I developed a plan to expand our business by working with graphic design firms and advertising agencies on a broader scale. Thanks to some good luck and a lot of hard work, I have been happily occupied with a continuous stream of challenging and diverse projects, ever since. We are now proudly affiliated with a select group of highly respected licensees who are responsible for the manufacture and distribution of quality products featuring my designs, many of which are now available worldwide.
In 1998, I began what has developed into an extremely creative licensing relationship with K&Company. Together with Kay Stanley, an amazingly talented designer and businesswoman, we have developed more than a dozen innovative and popular scrapbooking collections. Beginning with a line of albums, embossed stickers and coordinating papers, our collections have now expanded to include metal and fabric tags, rub-on glitter transfers, clear domes, and ornate metal charms.
Responding to customer interest in handmade cards, we developed “Beyond Postmarks”, a complete card-making program of patterned die-cut cards, decorative papers, embellishments, and a companion project book, "Brenda Walton’s Handmade Cards." Each new collection brings with it opportunities to expand my creative horizons and to experiment with new styles and techniques. I’m proud of the work that I’ve created with K&Company. The high level of quality and diversity of the product line is unparalleled in the craft industry.
For the last five years, I have been a regular guest on QVC, featuring my newest products for scrapbooking and papercrafting. It’s a genuine pleasure to be able to share my creations with a larger community of crafters, and to get to speak with them directly.
Travel continues to be one of the greatest influences on my work. Doug and I enjoy visiting art museums, antique fairs, and flea markets, going for long walks, chatting with the local residents, and shopping (research!). Everywhere I look, something sparks my imagination. I am a collector of all things vintage, and I love to find new ways to incorporate ephemera and everyday materials into my papercrafting projects. You’ll find old buttons, watch faces, postcards, vintage trims, and ribbons sprinkled throughout my work. I think they add a great deal of personality and charm to projects, and immediately imbue them with a sense of history.
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be making a living as a painter and designer. I look forward to coming into my studio each morning and starting to “work”. I have the good fortune of being surrounded with a very capable and talented team of creative professionals. The air is full of possibilities! Every day is another opportunity to be inspired, to explore new ideas and to develop new concepts. I am very grateful to all those who support my work and make it possible to continue doing what I love.