Kristy Watson, Artist

Born on a farm in Fremont, Michigan, the youngest of six children of Jack and Lois Sanderson.

Kristy has been painting since 1986. She was most inspired under the teachings of the late Dean St. Clair when she attended a horseback riding and painting workshop with her sister, Jackie, in Canyon de Chelly, AZ in 2000. Dean St. Clair taught his students to notice how light is reflected on a horse's body by the surrounding environment.

This attention to light and color is reflected in Watson's use of her palette. Blues and purples are in the shadows, while yellows and oranges are in the highlights. In Watson's paintings, green grass gets reflected onto the horse's belly, while the blue of the sky is reflected onto the horse's back. In Kristy's equine and bovine inspired art, she strives to pick up the essence of personality and the soul of the animal.

As well as being an artist, Kristy is also a graphic designer of Polonyx Graphic Design and the inventor of Ground Control Urethane Horseshoes, which she and her husband, Todd, market around the world. Kristy is past president of the Boerne Area Artists Association and past President of the Agricultural Heritage Center & Museum in Boerne. Kristy is the manager of the Boerne White Sox Vintage Base Ball Team.

Kristy is shown here riding her horse, "Hickory," who passed away July 2004. He was her favorite horse of 14 years and inspired the design for Ground Control Horseshoes.
Going Way Back... The Pony years

Any time that Kristy could get away from the farm chores she would ride her pony bareback two miles up the road to where her friend lived. Those were Kristy’s grungy years when her legs were full of pony sweat and she didn’t care if there was a big knot in her long blonde hair. She would ride with her friend for miles all day long. Sometimes she would come home in the dark, which always got her into trouble. On days when Kristy would spend the night at her friend’s house, they would get up early in the morning to ride before school. During winter they would hitch a sled to the back of a pony. One would ride while the other was pulled behind over the snowy ditches. Horses were her life. One day, she even brought one to school for show and tell.

In third grade, Kristy was selected by her teacher to participate in a gifted art program once a week. As she puts it, “It was weird being singled out of the class of other students. I was put into a room with older kids and everybody kind of did their own thing. Some of the kids were good at math, some were good at writing, and there I was with a canvas and acrylic paints. Every subject that I painted seemed to have a horse in it. Winning poster contests and other art accomplishments during my younger years encouraged me to focus on art later in my life.”

Highschool ... The Art & Science years

Kristy’s father got into Standardbred harness racing after retiring from teaching agriculture. Now with race horses in the barn, Kristy learned that horses had to be conditioned to compete successfully just like any top athlete. She entered a science challenge project her senior year of high school with race horse training as the focus.

“The records of my scientific study were actually mediocre. I recorded how the heart beat recovered faster with interval training. A heart rate monitor was attached to the girth of the race horses to get my data. It was my hand painted display board that made a big impact on the science challenge judges. I even played hooky from school in order to finish painting the display before the event. When the judges decided to give me first place, I realized at that moment that my art talents would be a big help to my future success. ”

Kristy’s high school art teacher taught her the fundamentals of art. From Ms. Prince, Kristy learned art history, techniques of painting with acrylics, watercolor, and the important elements of design. The highlight of Kristy’s senior year was being selected as Fremont High School’s Showcase representative in art.

College ... Focusing on the future

At Michigan State University, Kristy studied graphic design and geography. Realistic as she was, Kristy thought she had to have another major to balance an art major if things didn’t work out.

“My parents thought I was crazy for thinking that I could find work in cartography, but I saw it as the perfect combination of science and art. While at a geography convention in California I interviewed for a job with H.M. Gousha Mapping Company in Comfort, Texas. The man who interviewed me laughed when he saw my resume, thinking that it was a joke from his boss. They were looking for a person with my exact qualifications for Map Design Coordinator.

Texas ... Calling The Hill Country Home

"Traveling to the Hill Country for the second interview for Gousha, I remember seeing the beautiful wildflowers in the spring and all of the horses in the area. I was certain that even if I didn’t get the job, this was the place for me.”

Kristy was only with Gousha for four years when Rand McNally bought them out, terminating all 80 employees in the process.

Kristy decided that the only way to truly be happy and secure in life is to own your own business. So, in 1996, Kristy and her husband, Todd, started Polonyx Graphic Design. Their office is located in Boerne, Texas. The name Polonyx comes from the combination of their two dogs, Polar, their white lab and Onyx, their black lab.

The Summer of 1999, was an inspirational point for Kristy’s art career when Kristy and her sister took a week long trip to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. With seven other people, they rode mustang horses for fifteen miles per day. In the afternoons they painted the colorful canyons. Navajo guides traveled with the art supplies and cooked amazing meals. As luck would have it, a Canadian film crew was on the trip and the whole experience was caught on video. The show entitled, “Quiet Places” appeared on the Travel Channel. At night they would sit around the camp fire and talk about all of their different life experiences. “It felt so good to paint again!”said Kristy. Kristy made a commitment to herself that when she got home from that trip that she would paint as much as possible.

Ground Control Horseshoes... New Invention Brings New Beginnings

In 2000 Kristy invented a urethane horseshoe called Ground Control. The goal was to get better traction than metal shoes, and keep horses sound with better shock absorption.

Kristy jumping bareback on her pony, "Wildfire". The Hubbard squash in the background were grown on the farm for Gerber Baby Food.