West Yorkshire, Britain
Physical and Emotional Experience of Being in the Landscape
I live and work in the Holmfirth, West Yorkshire area and currently have a studio space at Radiant Works. I graduated from DeMontfort Uni 2 years ago and am slowly carving my own line in the art world.
I've always been surrounded by creative people and encouraged to be artistic.
I feel being an artist isn't merely getting a degree in art. It's an all consuming element of a person. It's the way you see the world, think and conduct yourself. I feel if I wasn't an artist or have art in my life my world would be worth less and be less bright.
Please explain all about your art
I love the outdoors and am fascinated by the constantly changing appearance of the landscape.
My paintings are not pictures of a landscape but a record of the physical and emotional experience of being in the landscape, using all my senses to record the walk, the sound of leaves or a passing plane.
I am inspired by small moments such as a hovering bee and also the huge panoramic. My paintings strive to convey a sense of space and openness that I always feel. Drawing, recording and photographing the landscape are my source material generating a personal language of lines, shapes and colours that capture my thoughts and feelings.
Colour is central to my work; I love the process of mixing colours and exploring colour relationships. The physicality of painting is very important to me; the expressive marks reflect my enthusiasm. I am fascinated by the visible history of the paintings; the scraping and rubbing back of the surface revealing a many layered process. The paintings are confident and expressive reflecting my passion and enjoyment of paint and colour.
What music do you listen to while in your studio?
I tend to just listen to the radio! In the studio everyone seems to listen to a different station, so I listen to all sorts! If I'm in a bit of a rut opera seems to help spur me along! Maybe the sounds go well with gestural marks.
How do you find inspiration?
I have certainly had moments of ‘artists block’ or periods of time when I don't seem to be happy with the work I'm producing. When this happens I feel it's very important to get back to the basics of drawing, experimenting, looking at artists and studying previous paintings. Even in work I don't like I always try and find something positive, whether it be a colour or mark that works well. I don't tend to throw work away, instead I put it away and go back to it later. Months later I've gone back to pieces and worked on them, often using recent ideas to finish/ completely change the paintings.
What do you do besides create art?
Art, in some form, seems to take up most of my time! I enjoy being outside and keeping fit, so you'll either find me outside trekking up mountains, kayaking, skiing, cycling or in the gym if I'm not at the studio or a gallery!
Even then these activities provide a lot of inspiration so I guess there's no getting away from it.
What are you currently working on?
Recently I just completed a body of work for my first solo show so I'm having a short break!
I am however getting some canvas's ready for some more work in my 'Coastal Series'. Then it will be paintings influenced by a recent trip to France. I don't really plan work beyond size of canvas until I start making the paintings, then I'll choose a couple of main colour palettes and drawings to use.
I work on two or paintings at time side by side, not only for drying time reasons but if the same colour or marks are used in multiple paintings it gives them a sense of rhythm when displayed together.
What do you think is your best painting?
I think this has to be my first painting I did for my degree show. After struggling through the 2nd year and being unable to produce work I was happy with this painting was a real turning point. After working on the painting for a while I turned the canvas round to be landscape and just went for it. It was a really free and expressive piece that opened up a new way of painting for me.
What is the role of artists in the world?
Big question that I'm not sure I have the capabilities to answer.
Art surpasses generations and worlds, it has always had a place in society, from cave paintings to modern architecture, so without the artist to facilitate these creations what would we have? Arts' language is readable anywhere by anyone in the world, its message is universal.
I think art can ask questions that no other medium can and it can also provide the answers.
Have you sold many of your paintings?
I have had lots of interest in my work but not that many sales, at the moment that's not what it's about, though it would be nice.
Currently I'm busy making work and promoting myself. The work I have sold has been at open art events, shows and people contacting me directly.
How do you promote artworks on the internet?
At the moment I have a website and a Facebook page. They are going well and seem to be generating interest. It's good way for an emerging artist like myself to build an audience and keep people up to date.
I have a few favourites that I always look at and find myself coming back to for different reasons.
Mark Surridge - I connected with his work early on in my artistic journey, his colours and mark making are inspiring.
Lewis Noble - His paintings always have a sense of being in the landscape, being rained on and battered by the wind! They always rekindled my love for a more natural palette.
Cy Twombly - Every time I see his huge, bright, gestural canvas's it makes me want to paint immediately. He was a massive inspiration at a time I was struggling to be free with my mark making.
Barbara Rae - Anytime I need colour inspiration I look at her work.
I wouldn't be where I am today without Greenhead art department, specifically John Standeven. John got me painting, he taught me about colour, mark making and gave me the confidence to paint in my own way.
Please tell us about a favorite contemporary artist
Lewis Noble again! His work just speaks to me on so many levels.
Nobles work connects the viewer to the physical and emotional aspect of the landscape.
The work uses all the senses to collect information and create the paintings and this comes across. Most of his smaller pieces are done outside in the landscape itself influencing the work by the sights and sounds. Sketches are then brought to the studio where he works on the bigger paintings until the atmosphere of the place is captured. He returns to the landscape many times during a paintings creation to keep capturing the feelings of the place. I find his work very physical in appearance, the process of the creative journey the paintings take.
Please tell us some interesting stories in your life
I have had many adventures so far. Being in the hills, mountains and water has certainly provided some stories over the years, too many to tell really. I've capsized, head butted walls going over handle bars, raced down mountains in thunderstorms, skied down black runs, got lost on mountains in the thickest of fogs, stopped myself from sliding into boulders on a snow slope, seen some of the most amazing animals and views.
The feeling of achievement from physically pushing myself when I climb a mountain, paddle miles or cycle miles is indescribable. People will probably think I'm mad but I can't get enough! There have been times when I've thought why do I do this but I seem to be addicted to epic adventures! I've made that sound like I'm some kind of Bear Grylls, I'm not.
Where do you see your art career in ten years?
In 10 years time I would really love to be making and selling my work as a living. I'm also very interested in helping the younger generation of artists and have done various talks to students and work in schools, so perhaps some teaching would be great too.
What advice would you give to aspiring and emerging artists?
To any fellow aspiring and emerging artists my advice is pretty basic and seems obvious. You have to make stuff happen yourself, seems silly but I was too scared to put myself out there for a while.
Art is so personal it can be daunting to let people see you and your work. If you have confidence in your work that will come across and help you be more confident. Other than that I'd say keep entering competitions, open exhibitions, residencies, contacting galleries etc... something’s got to happen sometime.
Kate Masterson – Emotional and Physical Experience of Being in the Landscape
West Yorkshire, Britain
Website: Kate Masterson Painter
Facebook Page: Kate Masterson Artist