About the work...
- Alice Shirley, (artist and curator)
My work is about celebrating nature, fusing colour and imagination to create the lushness and beauty of the natural world. Growing up I was fascinated by the intricacies of insects, newts, frogs, birds and that interest in detail has stayed with me to this day.
My work has always involved wildlife, a love of detail and invention. The intensity of colour has also played a significant role. In my last solo exhibition Jungles in London, Mall Galleries, as my Jungle series progressed, so too did the vividness of the colour palette I used. Detail plays an essential role in all my paintings.
The experience I want to give anyone who sees my work is to always see something new. I like hiding small details or creatures in dense foliage to be discovered. I want my work not only to have immediate impact but also to reward closer investigation into the complex, vibrant and overgrown worlds I create. Look closely to see a frog staring back at you or a beetle drinking from a raindrop…
Jungles are very special for the diversity of life that inhabits them, much of which is becoming increasingly endangered. This, too, makes it an important subject for me - not only to evoke the beauty that lies within such a complex ecosystem but also to reflect on how much duller the world would be without them.
For me, jungles give so much scope for my imagination with its abundance of life and natural richness. Although a lot of research into animals and specific places takes place before I even put brush to paper, once I feel I have an understanding of the subject, I enjoy where my imagination can take me.
I sometimes feel that the process of imagining is just as exciting as the process of observation in my paintings. The places and habitats that I put my animals in are not real, they are both an idea and a dream but are always inspired by a subject which I find endlessly fascinating and never lacking in variety or breathtaking beauty - the natural world.
"This world is but a canvas to our imagination."
- Henry David Thoreau
Complex and imaginative in composition, Kate’s work celebrates the plants, animals and insects found in a variety of global habitats with particular reference to indigenous and endangered species. Whilst extensive research informs every painting, Kate imagines habitats from a new perspective, fusing the real with the unreal.
Having obtained her first degree in fine art, Kate subsequently studied at postgraduate level at the Glasgow School of Art and then at Falmouth University where she was awarded her Masters degree.
Kate’s work forms part of many international private collections.
HRH the Princess Royal and Nigel Mansell in attendance, more photos here
Kate's work has been exhibited in the Royal Institute of Watercolour Artist's annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London and was awarded the Premium Art Brand prize at the Society of Women Artists annual Exhibition in London for her painting 'Chameleons'