Savor Your Life Series: Georgia Kandiko, Award Winning Water Color Artist

Georgia in Africa

Are you living your dream life on purpose like watercolor artist Georgia Kandiko? 

You must meet Georgia who is living out her passion! (I want that for you!)

When I discovered that July is World Watercolor Month I knew I must introduce you to my award winning watercolor artist Georgia Kandiko, a signature member of the Minnesota Watercolor Society who has 30 glorious years of teaching and painting experience.

Georgia Sea Dragons Dancing was accepted into the Minnesota Watercolor Society’s Juried Spring Show, Dancing With Color and Light. The show hung in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Reedy Gallery from April through June 2017.

I am especially proud of Georgia as only sixty-four water media paintings were accepted out of 160 submissions.

Georgia is deliciously living her life on purpose! Research conducted at the University of Rochester has shown that having a sense of purpose in life not only increases the quality of our lives, but may also help us to live longer — regardless of our age.

I asked Georgia to share some of her most recent works.

This picture is called Liquid Asset. Georgia saw the general manager reach for the bottle while on the tall ladder in the glassed-in wine vault. It was such a cool image that she had to paint it. She shot references photos but she had to make up the image of him in action from memory.

This poppy painting is called Poppy Heaven. She has grown poppies and loves them. She had a reference for the flower head but made up the rest. She painted this on a rainy Saturday and loved every minute of it. Talk about passion. I want that for each of you!

This picture is called the Sunset Leopard. She got this shot in Africa. Leopards are so elusive and quick. This one beautiful leopard shot out of a shrubby area and was gone in the wink of an eye. She made up the background.

This picture is called Busy. (Don’t you just love …her watercolors names!)  She took photos of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Experimental Dahlia garden. The blooms of this one variety of Dahlia were covered in bees. Georgia went home and painted the scene of three busy bees. She was not totally happy with the piece, so she left it alone for a while. Last night she kept her poor husband poor Joe waiting for drinks-on-the-beach while she added acrylic paint and unryu paper to it. It is now a mixed media piece.

You can contact Georgia if you are interested in purchasing any of these paintings.

I interviewed Georgia to learn more about what puts a sparkle in her heart and gives purpose to her life.


Georgia, tell me about how you got into art?

If anyone asked me at 9 years old, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I immediately said, “An artist!” I was in the middle of a large non-art oriented family, not gifted in drawing, and didn’t faze in well with art taught in school, so by Fourth Grade, I quit identifying myself as an artist. I was still ‘the artistic type,’ hypersensitive, collected markers, always had great assignment notebook illustrations, haunted Chicago’s Art Institute, and then any other art museums where ever I landed, but I studied science, then business in school.

It wasn’t until I was crazy busy running a household with an infant, toddler, and preschooler that I thought, “When I have some time to myself, I have to take a watercolor class.” Once I started, I was hooked. I worked hard learning to draw. The painting part always felt wonderful and natural. Now I teach art classes and workshops. I display my work at galleries and public places; I do commission work and have had some interesting installations of my mosaic work.

I enter show competitions because I think it is fun but also because it raises my profile and gives me something to claim on a resume since I did not attend a formal art school. I am so happy when I paint. Now if you ask me, “What kind of work do you do?” I get to say, “I am an artist!”

What were you passionate about as a child?

I was passionate about ART! I was a good student but sometimes I would daydream about my crayons and how they looked best lined up.

What makes you forget the world around you even forget to eat?

Painting! If I get jazzed working on a painting, I can easily lose track of time and paint past midnight. I try not to do that when I am scheduled to teach the next day.

What is your typical day like?

I don’t really have typical days. Each teaching day is different depending on what I have dreamed up for a class or workshop. I have a family, friends, home, and gardens that all take time and scheduling.

What do you do to reset your energy?

I am an extrovert so I get energy from a group. That is why teaching is fun for me. I also have high energy so I like swimming year round, skiing in the winter, rollerblading whenever the paths are clear, kayaking and sailing, walking, hiking, reading, snorkeling, and gardening.

What is on your bucket list?

More travel is on my bucket list. After visiting Africa once, I would like to go back. I would also like to see Greece and Iceland in the near future.

Georgia in Africa

How do you want to be remembered?

I would most like to be remembered as being loving and kind. If people find my paintings and mosaics to be interesting and maybe even transporting then yeah for me. (You are loving and kind Georgia!)

I was so blessed to have Georgia teach me to paint my first ever watercolor. She is patient, kind and says exactly the right words to guide your painting. She helps you see the world differently. When you are with Georgia the world is seriously more beautiful.

My “Georgia bonus” is she is my superstar friend who rocks at cooking healthy, gourmet meals, gardening (you should see her orchids) and being a friend who cherishes you.

The “guy” behind the artist is Dr. Joe Kandiko her award-winning photographer husband.

Joe’s Moonlight and Dock was selected for the Minneapolis Photo Center Winter 2017 International Wish You Were Here photography contest. There were 1000 submissions from all over the world and only 70 were selected. Way to go Joe!

Joe received his first 35 mm camera as a wedding gift from his wife. As a busy medical resident, he had little time for photography. Through reading and attending workshops he “learned to see”. He was active in the Minnesota Nature Photography Club for years. Currently, he is fascinated by the creative options with iPhone photography. Joe’s work has appeared in multiple MN Weatherguide calendars, pharmaceutical calendars, MN Monthly Magazine, public and private collections as well as the MN State Fair.

The best? They are an active, healthy and very loving happily married couple who cheer each other on with their artistic pursuits and living their best lives.


Curious about discovering the beauty and passion of watercolor? You are in luck as Georgia will be teaching a class Watercolor on Wood Panel: A Feast for the Bees at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in August.

Thursdays, August 10, 17, 24 and 31, 9:30 a.m. – noon

Celebrate August and discover your passion for watercolor with Georgia. Each week you will produce a different piece featuring pollinator-friendly flowers selected by Arboretum horticulture staff: blazing star, New England aster, butterfly weed and purple coneflower.

With Georgia’s compassion, and creativity you will see your skills advance week to week in a supportive atmosphere. You will produce four complete 8″ x 8″ watercolors on wood.  What fantastic presents these would make but you will like them so much you want to keep them for yourselves.  Georgia will give you all the supplies! Bring a friend.

Georgia also teaches at the Artistry (Bloomington Art Center) and Minnetonka Center for the Arts, She is a gift to our community.

She can be reached at

Check out Joe and Georgia’s art at

World Watercolor Month is a celebration to inspire people to paint with watercolor while raising awareness for the importance of art and creativity your life and the world.


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