“I prefer to create paintings that affect me personally and/or express my feelings as an Asian immigrant and now a transplanted American. Nostalgic memories of my past, my heritage, and my view of the current social, religious, and political views are also suggested – some are done in a satirical approach and some in a more serious tone.”
Her works are abstract and represent memories of her childhood growing up in the Philippines. Using stick figures, Watkins interprets the innocent images she recalls often using her fingers to paint instead of brushes on the canvas surface. Painting for Watkins has been a cathartic and therapeutic release both mentally and physically.
Watkins has been an American citizen since 1976 and has been a practicing studio artist for more than 20 years. Her paintings have been featured in Oklahoma exhibitions including the City Arts Center in Oklahoma City, Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and the Leslie Powell Gallery in Lawton. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and received several awards and fellowships for her sculpture and painting including a residency in painting at the Fundación Valparaiso in Elmiria, Spain.
Besides her undergraduate degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, and her master’s from the University of Oklahoma, Watkins is a member of the Oklahoma Visual Artist Coalition’s Think Tank. She has taught art at the University of Oklahoma and is a member of the Firehouse Art Center’s board of directors in Norman and has directed children’s activities there.
Watkins says she is doing what she loves to do and offers a bit of advice to emerging artists. “Paint from your heart. Don’t copy me and do what you feel.”