Trudy Kraft received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976 from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. From 1976 to 1979 she attended the Art Students League in New York City, and from 1980 to 1984 she studied and painted in Japan in the first of several long visits there. A native Texan, Kraft now lives in Haverford, Pennsylvania.
Kraft has explained that the technique used for her paintings is a combination of watercolor, sumi ink, gouache, and frisket (a masking medium). Usually she begins with watercolor, freely painted, then creates a second dimension of pattern by masking the surface with frisket. Additional structure emerges through the application of sumi ink. Finally, gouache is used to augment and adorn, until the desired effect is achieved.
As Kraft builds images, she remains aware of her indebtedness to a wide range of cultural traditions. In Japan she was exposed to time-honored, sophisticated uses of the decorative arts. African masks, textiles, and baskets have sensitized Kraft to the interaction of pattern, surface, and texture. She is emboldened by the luminosity of color in Thai silks and Indian embroidery.
Kraft has also been visually and technically inspired by Aboriginal dream paintings, which demonstrate the abiding significance of content even in decorative abstraction. These and other multicultural influences, which Kraft embraces as part of our common planetary heritage, continue to nourish her work in conscious and unconscious ways. She has said that she regards her paintings as a physical expression of the underlying interconnectedness of all things.