I paint from my studio at home in Wimbledon. I work mostly in oils but also love to use pencil, charcoal and watercolours and attend life drawing classes. Subject-wise I paint mostly landscapes but also love painting flowers and still lifes and portraiture. I use the same method of painting regardless of subject and I would like to hope that all my work, regardless of genre, looks like my work (if that makes sense!).
I am a Director of Common Works Gallery, a non-profit community interest company that sets up community art events. Most recently we ran the Merton Artists’ Open House trail with 70 artists showing their work across 27 different venues across the borough.
In 2021 we set up the inaugural Art in the Park festival in Cannizaro Park in Wimbledon. We had an art fair, sculpture trail, art classes for both adults and children, a community sculpture project and lots more. It was a great success with over 2,500 visitors.
A big event in 2020 for me was being a competitor in Sky Portrait Artist of the Year. A really wonderful experience and one I would encourage other artists to enter. Click here to read my longer blog post about the day.
My portrait of NHS foundation doctor, Skukura Murray (shown above), was published in the Portraits for NHS Heroes book published in late 2020. It is a fabulous, and heart rendering, celebration of the NHS and what a tough year they had, I was very proud to be involved.
In 2019 I was profiled in the Sunday Telegraph and dubbed ‘Britain’s most sought-after dog artist’ and was pictured with my dog, Toastie, in my studio.
I would describe my work as colourist. I obsess about colours and spend a long time mixing paint before I start on the canvas. My aim is to explore all the ‘true’ colours in the subject I am painting. For example, take an orange. At first glance you may just see the colour orange on whatever background is there. However, look closer and in the lighter shades you will certainly see several patches of clear yellows and possibly some pinky reds and peach. On the darker side, you will see dark brown, purple and probably blue; the opposite of orange on the colour wheel. That does not even take into account any reflections from the background.
The next dilemma is balancing form with colour. In this pineapple painting I had to build the complex jigsaw that is the pineapple using all the different greens, organs, browns and yellows. What is surprising is how dark the darks are. The shadow cast by the pineapple looks almost black – although of course it is not black at all but a mix of ultramarine blue, cadmium red and a touch of cadmium yellow.
For inspiration I look to the colourists of the 20th century: Matisse, Derain, Peploe, Vlaminck, Hockney to name but a few. I am very lucky to live so close to all the fabulous exhibition spaces of London. I try to see all the big exhibitions and write my reviews of them in my newsletter and on instagram.
I have painted my whole life but upon leaving university I started work in advertising. Whilst being great fun, after a decade in advertising I found myself becoming increasingly claustrophobic in an office, yearning to be outside battling the elements with a paintbrush. The past 10 years have been dedicated to just that.
May 2022: Fresh Air. Joint exhibition with Emily Harris at AdLib Gallery in Wimbledon Village
April 2022: River Culture, Merton Priory Chapter House
September 2021: Art in the Park, Cannizaro
April/May 2021: Affordable Art Fair online with Artfully Sorted
Autumn/Winter 2020: Portrait featured in NHS Portraits for Heroes, buy the book here
November 2020: Competitor in Sky Portrait Artist of the Year
March 2020: Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park
July 2019: Exhibitor in Stewards Enclosure Gallery, Henley Royal Regatta
March 2019: Featured artist on Artfinder artfinder.com/katharine-rowe
2014-2018: Resident artist at Fox and Grapes pub, Wimbledon
October 2017, 2018: Wandsworth Open House studios
Summer 2017: Rehang of solo exhibition at Fox&Grapes, Wimbledon SW19
May 2017: Solo show at Sprout Arts, Furzedown SW11
October 2016: Wandsworth Open House studios
September 2016: Solo show at Sprout Arts, Furzedown SW11
Feb 2015: ArtFinder pop-up exhibition, The Foundry, Camden NW1
October 2014: Solo show at Webb’s Fine Art, Webbs Road SW11
May/June 2014: Untitled Artists Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, SW10
May 2014: Portraiture at Putney Library, SW15
October 2013: Wandsworth Open House, SW18
Summer 2013: Summer Exhibition, Kings Road Gallery SW10
Spring 2013: J Design, Barnes High Street, SW13
December 2012: Selected Southfields Artists, SW18
October 2012: Wandsworth Art Trail, SW18
2013: Salt & Pepper, SW18
October 2011: Wandsworth Art Trail, SW18
Christmas 2010: The Old Sweet Shop, SW18
September 2010: Wandsworth Art Trail, SW18
July 2009: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital
Education: University of Edinburgh, Universite de la Sorbonne 1996-2000