I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember: and yet, one of my vivid childhood memories was standing in front of an easel when I was about 8 years old, being so frustrated because I couldn’t draw the picture that was in my head. At that moment, I decided that I couldn’t draw, and therefore I wasn’t good at art.
Consequently, I never chose art as a subject at school, but my creativity manifested
throughout my life in many different ways. First as a pianist and singer, as a cook, a
gardener, a photographer, a writer, a quilt maker and finally today, I comfortably call myself an artist.
When I hit my late twenties I realised creativity was so important in my life that I named it as one of my core values. A few years later, I was heavily pregnant with my son Conor and was writing a business plan designed to capture what I wanted to do when I returned to work after his birth. I was burnt out of the corporate world, knew that motherhood would change everything for me, and wanted to write my business plan with a clear head before I gave birth so I had it to come back to when I was ready. Part of the plan was a commitment to honouring my creativity: to finding work that allowed me to grow my creativity and that put it first.
When I wrote it, I had no idea how much my life would change in the next few years and how much I would need that plan. My painting and my work coaching and teaching others is me living out my plan.
What artists do you admire?
Recently I travelled to New York for the first time, and got to visit several wonderful galleries and museums there. It was such a privilege to stand in the presence of great works by Monet, Chagall, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Renoir, Rodin and Klimt… but equally, it was amazing to stand in the presence of artists I had never heard of – incredible sculptors,furniture makers, silversmiths, painters and textile artists.
There are SO many talented creatives – past and present, and I appreciate art and creativity in many disciplines. The artists I admire the most are the ones who have committed to their craft: who have created, despite the inevitable challenges. The ones who decided – damn it, I’m going to do this, and followed the calling of their art. Letting nothing stand in their way.
Often, I think this is the greatest difference between those who ‘make it’ and those who
don’t. It’s not talent, it’s not genetics. It’s focus, and determination. It’s making a choice thatyou’re going to create.
Could you tell us about a time where you had lost your groove as an artist? What brought you back?
The end of my first marriage was a difficult time for me creatively, and working through the grief process dulled my creative mojo for a long time. I was frustrated at myself because I wanted to be creating, but at the same time, I often felt too exhausted and as if I couldn’t create. Creativity and self-esteem are inextricably linked, which makes creating when you’re feeling bad a challenge. On the flip side, if you can express your creativity, it will help you to feel better about yourself, restoring your self esteem.
As I worked through rebuilding my life, I was aware of how important creativity was for me, and as much as I could, I used my creativity to help myself heal. One of the things I did was to complete my first photography 365 project – where I consciously looked for something beautiful and joyful to photograph every day for a year. This practice changed my life, and I have completed several other 365 projects since. Among many other benefits, it totally cemented my belief in doing something creative every day, and taking one small step towards your dreams every day, no matter how small.
Tell us about the time when you sold your first piece, how did you feel?
When I sold my first piece, my overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude. Thankfulness that something I had made was going to a beautiful home, and that someone had seen the value in what I created.
What gives you the drive to continue your journey as an artist?
I know that creativity is central to who I am. And I know that when I am creating, I’m a much happier, more grounded, at peace person. Creativity does all sorts of wonderful things for me – it gives me energy and helps me appreciate the beauty that is around me every day. I’m also committed to putting beauty into the world: I want my work to leave the world a little better than I found it, and I make art because I have something to say. I put my art into the public domain because I want to spark a conversation, a thought, an action. I want to help people give voice to their own creative gifts, I want to help them have the courage and confidence to do this.
I have a very deep sense that what I’m doing now is my life purpose. After years of being too afraid to live it, I now feel it would be impossible to turn away from. I get so much joy and satisfaction from what I do. I still have many aspects of my plan that are yet to come to life, and I still don’t know HOW they will unfold. But I trust that they will, and in the meantime, it’s up to me to keep doing the work.
Have you had any formal training to study art making or design?
Despite having 3 degrees, and a lifetime commitment to learning, I have never formally
studied art, though I would love to! I’ve done lots of short workshops and courses with
teachers throughout the years – though very few in my current mixed media techniques. I love learning, and invest regularly in expanding my knowledge – whether that is as an artist or in the business aspect of being an artist with an online business. Life experience is also a huge teacher – my ideas and inspiration come largely from within, so my observations and life experiences inform everything I create.
Join us for Part 2 where you will find out more about Katherine –
- the time she felt comfortable to call herself an artist
- the meaning behind her website ‘anchor and wings’
- her favourite piece of art and the story behind this.
- her creative coaching
- new developments in her journey.
Please visit Katherine’s website, I asked Katherine if I could interview her because she inspires me to continue my journey playing with paint, her artwork is so beautiful and the stories behind them are also beautiful. She also inspires me to challenge myself.