Artist of the Month 2017

October: Kate Walters

Image: Kate Walters, watercolour from Shetland Mother series (2017).

Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. October's Artist of the Month is Kate Walters.


Hello, what do you do?

I make work about hidden impulses, trauma and the dream of wholeness, and wilderness. I work with watercolour, drawing, writing, photography, sometimes film, monotype and oil paint.


Where are you based?

I've been based in West Cornwall for 20 years. I like to get away though, to work in residence and to walk – in the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland, and in Italy.


Where do you work?

I worked at home in a spare room for 15 years before my son grew up. More recently I've worked in a studio at Trewarveneth in Newlyn, which I love. I still have a studio at home too, where I store my work, and where I work from time to time. I usually write and deal with emails and applications first thing, then go to my studio for the afternoon, then I go to the gym. I work every day. I'm obsessed with my work. When I go away I always have several little workbooks with me and I’m always on the hunt for visual information, clues, anything to feed my work…I read a lot too and have mountain of books beside my bed.


What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?

I love my garden, and I love to grow flowers and vegetables. Walking barefoot out there in the morning with my breakfast feels lovely. Attending to plants helps to unscramble my brain. My studio is airy and untidy. Whenever I get there each day I just take time to sit and collect myself before I begin working. I play music which I love. There is intensity to the atmosphere there which I have nurtured and which helps me with my work.


What does 'success' mean to you?

Success would be reflected by a solo show in a good gallery, with some sales; it is also a good review of the work by peers or writers; it is the feeling that something is coming together in the work, even before anyone else has seen it. Success is also to do with potential – for example, being offered a residency in a place that would provide a crucible for experimentation, the possibility of new things, new understanding, refinement.


Do you earn a living from making art? If not, or only partially, what else do you do?

I almost make a living from a combination of sales, workshops and teaching (at Newlyn School of Art). My priorities are to be able to buy paper, books, music and paint.


What makes a good artwork?

A good artwork reflects a particular touch. A bringing together of sensitivity, experience, time. The viewer needs to have a particular touch with their gaze – and experience – to be able to see this.


What have you been up to recently? Tell us about any recent exhibitions, projects, residencies, etc.

In March I had work selected for the first Newlyn Society of Artists exhibition at Tremenheere Galleries. In April I spent 10 days at The Mothership in Dorset with a week of glorious sunshine exploring woodland and living quietly. In May I had a solo exhibition of paintings relating to my three residencies on Iona, together with the launch of Iona Notebooks. This was reviewed in Galleries magazine and online by Stride and Island Life. In July I spent a month on Shetland as artist in residence in the south of the Island. I had mesmeric experiences on the wide, white, empty beaches with seals and Arctic terns, blasting sunshine and wind. I wrote a lot, and made many little watercolours tuning into the raw spaciousness of this wonderful place. I'll be returning to make more notes and paintings in preparation for my next book, Shetland Notebooks, which will be published by Guillemot Press in March 2019. In August I ran a workshop for poets in Camelford, and a three-day workshop on Dartmoor.


What have you got coming up?

As I write I'm preparing to go to Venice to work with Grace, Grace & Grace in a performance at Ca' Zanardi as part of the Venice Biennale. Then I'm going to spend a few days walking and writing in the Dolomites before returning to Torcello and other favourite spots in Venice.

In October I'll be showing new watercolours at Herrick Gallery in Mayfair, with Julia Maddison: our working title is 'Mother'.

In February 2018 I'll be curating another exhibition of the group of artists I've brought together who work loosely around the theme of the Feminine (Drawing down the Feminine). We’re around 18 in number, ranging from poets to painters and professors, and not all women! This involves looking at the world/nature through the paradigm of the body, what is hidden, suppressed, or connected in archaic/matrixial/traumatic ways. Our exhibition will open at Bridport Arts Centre on February 2nd and will run for about 6 weeks.

In April I'll be showing recent works at the Garden Room Gallery in Dartington (part of programme) with my friend and collaborator, Karen Lorenz. I'm also collaborating with Mat Osmond. We're working towards a book about the Black Madonna, with poems, drawings and watercolours.

In late July and early August I'll be in Italy as artist in residence for 3 weeks; I am currently artist in residence at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens where I go to walk, write and draw. I'm gathering material for a solo exhibition there in 2019 where I'll be looking at migration, birds and the body, how we are held by trees and stones, and the connections between the far south west and the extreme north easterly points of these Islands.



Born near London, Kate studied Fine Art in London, Brighton and Falmouth. For a few years she worked on a farm in Sussex and taught, before moving west. Now based in Cornwall, she loves to travel to explore wild places in the Northern and Western Isles and Italy to find inspiration for her work.

She’s had watercolours, drawings and paintings exhibited in the Jerwood Drawing exhibitions, Royal Academy, Discerning Eye and had a solo exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery in 2012/13.  Essays on her work have been written by Professor Penny Florence, Revd. Dr. Richard Davey, Laura Gascoigne, Susan Daniel-McElroy, Rupert Loydell, Professor Alan Bleakley, and Partou Zia.



What's On

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Linda Brothwell Conversations in Making

Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE

Friday 24 May 2019 – Sunday 24 November 2019

Exeter's Fine Art Collection: A Sense of Place

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3RX

Tuesday 18 June 2019 – Sunday 15 March 2020

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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