Retired Wagner Ranch Art Teacher Linda Kam Still Creating Beauty

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Orinda artist Linda Kam always had a fond appreciation for the arts, which was encouraged by her father, an accomplished artist and cartoonist. In her home studio, Kam sits at her late father’s art table from the 1940s. She said it gives her great pleasure to create her art on the same table he used for painting and drawing his cartoons.

    Last month, Orinda artist Linda Kam exhibited her beautiful botanical watercolors and Chinese brush paintings at the Art Gallery in the Orinda Library.
    “I always had a fond appreciation for the arts, which was encouraged by my father, an accomplished artist and cartoonist,” she said. She is grateful to have inherited her late father’s art table from the 1940s. “It brings me great pleasure to work on the same table my dad utilized for painting and drawing his cartoons many years ago.”
    Kam was the art teacher at Wagner Ranch Elementary School for 17 years where she introduced a variety of art mediums to her students. The clay fish that were part of the “School of Whimsical Ceramic Fish” project created by her fifth-grade students were often on display at the Orinda Library.
    “Teaching art in Orinda was a most rewarding and gratifying time because I felt a genuine sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, it made me feel like I was part of the Wagner community of students, staff and families,” she said.
    Kam explained her artistic journey.
    “After retirement, I developed an interest in botanical watercolor painting under the instruction of Catherine Watters,” she said. “Botanical art has helped me examine plant life with a better understanding and greater interest. Each plant I paint has its own peculiarities that I attempt to capture in my artwork.”
    As a member of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists, Kam has exhibited her art at a variety of venues, including juried shows at the Alcatraz Florilegium and Mt. Tamalpais Florilegium exhibitions. Her “Flowering Quince” was just selected to be displayed at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Florilegium later this year.
    “More recently, I have started learning Chinese brush painting and calligraphy from my instructor, Pauline Tsui,” said Kam. “Pauline trained in the Lingnan style of brush painting, a progressive form of Chinese painting incorporating color and impressionism. She has taught me to appreciate not only the elegance of this style of painting, but also the beauty of Chinese calligraphy.”
    She said, in the process, she’s also gained a better understanding of Asian culture.
    “I am especially fond of my two Peony paintings on display. This is because one was created using Chinese brush painting technique, while the other was painted using the botanical art painting style,” said Kam.
    Kam’s botanical art portfolio is comprised of watercolors, ranging from edible fruits and colorful flowers to succulents and seedpods and now, Chinese brush painting.
    Learn more about Kam and her artwork at

Dave Fonseca can be reached at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.