It is obvious to all who travel across the Cornish landscape that, alongside the effects of hundreds of years of mining, the natural elements have also played a major role in forming our picturesque environment. There is something so beautiful in the shapes created by the constant wind that batters some parts of this part of the British Isles. Kate Richardson’s artworks reflect this beauty. The windswept trees, with their growth controlled by these howling winds, appear regularly within Kate’s works.
“I love the landscape of Cornwall. The trees, with their branches influenced by the direction of the wind, seem to reflect a particularly moody vision. One that is strong and defiant.” Talking to an enthusiastic Kate one learns that it is only recently that she has begun to focus on her art. Many artists take decades to develop a distinctive style, Kate seems to have arrived at this point in less than five years.
“I am curious about the direction of my style and gain an immeasurable satisfaction from the journey. This adventure has led me from large stormy seascapes with lonely little boats, through colourful rock faces, springtime yellow flowers and cliff tops, to little Cornish hedgerows and landscapes,” says Kate. “I never know where it will lead until I find I am drawn to a particular subject or medium for a while and realise my style has taken another twist or turn.”
“I’m self-taught. I didn’t have any formal training although I did apply to go to one art college but didn’t get accepted.” Kate explained. Her work shows that talent and a good eye for landscape is not something she needed to learn. “It may have helped with learning some techniques.”
“All my life I’ve doodled,” Kate explained when asked how she came to use art as a way of expressing herself. Kate trained in Exeter as an Occupational Therapist before moving to Cornwall. As is often the case for those who seek to earn from their art, Kate still works two days a week as an OT, but sales of her work are growing.
“People often comment that they see emotion in my work which I take as a great compliment.” Kate’s work obviously touches something within those who purchase her paintings. Sitting in my car in the yard before interviewing Kate at her home, far away from the hubbub of Cornwall’s towns, one can hear the wind through the trees.
The sound reminds me of Kate’s paintings that had caught my eye a few months prior and I think I understand why her work attracts such comments. “Now I sell through galleries I find, surprisingly to me, that my paintings are now selling on a regular basis.”
In her earlier days Kate created frames from scraps of wood and canvas and daubed her darkened colours across these, as much a reflection of life as an observation of her surrounds. “I am drawn to certain colours depending on my mood,” said Kate. “Black, dark blues and purples when I am despondent and therefore painting dark skies and stormy seas. Turquoise, yellows and violets when life feels good, when I paint sunny flowers and beautiful rock faces.”
How does Kate work?
“I use oil in the main, but use other materials to build up textures on the canvas. I am more comfortable painting on big canvases,” says Kate showing me the varied sizes of her canvases. “I still make the larger ones.”
“Wherever I walk I see views and natural objects I’d like to paint,” explains Kate. There’s no sitting in field with an eseal, partly due to the harsh weather surrounding her subjects. I carry a camera with me everywhere so I can always record interesting sights, many end up in my work”
What do those who exhibit or purchase her work think?
“We have had the pleasure of showing Kate’s work this summer, our custormers have fallen in love with the gentle grace and beauty of her windswept Cornish Trees,” says Jayne Elliot, owner of The Summerhouse Gallery in Marazion, which exhibits many works by Kate. “She is certainly one to watch.”
Kate’s art can be seen at the following galleries:
The Summerhouse Gallery, Marazion
The Great Atlantic Gallery, St Just
Beyond the Sea Gallery, Padstow
There are also permanent displays at:
Land’s End Airport, Sennen and Renaissance Café, Penzance
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