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The adventure of wandering is essentially me. It was bequeathed to me at birth in my naming – Wendy means wanderer. Confirmation came later, when I recognized myself in these words of Jesus: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”


My father, Thornton Utz, an illustrator, portraitist and fine art painter provided a unique artistic environment but it wasn’t until our four children with my doctor/professor husband, John, were school aged that I ventured into my own artistic development.  Now painting is a family tradition, as my brother David Utz, my brother-in-law Charles Leonard, and my daughter Emily Leonard are all well established artists.


Loving travel led me to landscape plein air work (painting in fresh air). The effects of light and atmosphere on land forms are constantly changing and capturing them challenges and blesses me. I relate to these words of Vincent van Gogh, “I wrestle with nature long enough for her to tell me her secret.”


My delight in gardening is reflected in painting flowersvegetables (once delaying supper to finish painting the artichokes) and gardens.


Communion with people, watching them grow and change, and appreciating their uniqueness has given me great empathy and affection – challenging me to capture their individual spirits in portraits.


Love of story has a fundamental place in my heart. What appeals to me is the challenge of capturing motion, humor and surprise. My tools are mostly swift lively strokes, unconventional compositions and enchanting color.

An enthusiasm for recognizing the joys in our everyday lives has prompted me to write and illustrate my own stories from personal experiences. I am also eager to bring other writers’ stories to life visually.


Wendy’s training has been both formal and informal. As daughter of renowned illustrator, portraitist and fine art painter, Thornton Utz, she grew up in the unique enviornment that only a professional artist’s home can provide. She has taken courses in New Haven, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; Greenville and Oneonta, New York; Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. In workshops she has studied with David Taylor, Sondra Freckleton, Jack Beal, Kim English, Alex Powers, Al Broilette, Christopher Schink, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, Burt Silverman, Paula Frizbe and Dawn Whitelaw.


Wendy’s paintings have been included in the Central South Art Exhibition, Tennessee All State Exhibition, Tennessee Watercolor Society Exhibitions–in which she has earned Artist status, and the Arts Conference Exhibition in Kiev, Ukraine.


She has been the featured artist in shows at the Centennial Club, Marnie Sheridan Gallery of the Harpeth Hall School, Merchant’s Restaurant, the Wild Iris Cafe, The Yellow Porch and the McCarty’s Gallery in Montheagle, Tennessee.


She has participated in group shows benefiting Belmont University, Brentwood Academy, Harding Academy, Heritage Foundation of Franklin, Tennessee Landtrust, Harpeth River Watershed Association, Nature Conservancy, Friends of Radnor Lake, Friends of Warner Parks and the Vanderbilt Stars.


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