Artist Kitty Cooper seduced us many months ago with her landscapes and seascapes, most of which are inspired by her beautiful surrounding on the Isle of Wight. She has been painting for over 15 years, and although she spent a few years studying Fine Art she is mainly self-taught. We caught up with Kitty to find out more about her work, techniques and inspiration…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Hi! I’m Kitty, an artist/painter from the Isle of Wight. I paint landscapes and portraits in oils, acrylics and watercolours on a variety of surfaces including canvas, wood and paper. I like to make affordable art in a variety of styles and subjects.
When did you start to paint?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was about 16 and have been painting since I was a kid. I’ve always been creative, making different things all the time.
Your work features nature scenes, the woods and sea. Where do you find the most inspiration?
Most inspiration for the landscapes comes from the Isle of Wight where I live. There’s a huge variety down here of coastlines, beaches and woodland. I always take a camera when out walking. Trips to the Lake District have also been really inspiring. I think trees probably feature most in my landscapes and are a big source of inspiration.
How did you find your style?
I’ve never really aimed at creating a particular style, I tend to just follow my instincts and inspiration at any given time. I have become quite settled on doing portraits and landscapes and I have a variety of styles or ways of working for each that have developed naturally over time. Each picture feels a bit like an experiment and I’m never sure where it will go, but that’s what keeps it fresh and interesting for me. I like to always be moving forward and progressing, so the work is evolving.
The women in your portraits are beautiful. Do you know them in real life or are they completely from your imagination?
Thank you! Yes, I’m probably a bit obsessed with beauty. These are portraits created from imagination, then when I go to paint them I sometimes use references for extra detail and realism, if I want that. That’s why it’s a great contrast to painting landscapes, as it’s a total freedom of creativity and I can just play with ideas, with juxtaposition and surrealism.
Can you talk us through one of your pieces from start to finish?
‘Woodland‘ is an original painting I made this year. It’s inspired by a place not far from where I live. It’s a really overgrown woodland path, with planks across the ground where it gets really wet. There’s a river running through it and it’s very lush and green. When I photographed it I used the pin-hole effect on the camera, so it has this black-edged look to it, giving it a nostalgic feel. I tend to start by sketching the main areas in pencil, but often it comes more down to just painting and laying up the tones and areas of colour. I like to have areas of detail and precision as well as parts where it’s more free and expressive, more painterly. Once I feel it’s complete, I leave it to dry for two weeks, then varnish it. After another week it’s fully dry and I can list it in the shop.
Where do you work? Can you describe your studio?
I work in one of the spare rooms in our house. We only moved in in June, so it’s still getting sorted and I think over time it will become a really great studio space. It’s pretty great now – I have a big bookcase for all my art books, storage towers for the materials, a built-in cupboard where I store lots of the finished work, and a big table to work on. I’d love to have more space, but I’m so lucky to have a room to use, be able to fully concentrate and make a mess!
Do you have any exciting projects you are currently working on?
I always have lots of work on the go, but I’m keen to do some larger work this coming year. I’ll also be revisiting some of my smaller past pieces and reworking them on a larger scale, and in oils.
Finally, is there a piece of work you’re particularly proud of?
I think my most recent work is often my favourite, but the one I’m most proud of is ‘Path to Mottistone’. It took along time to complete and has been one of the most popular landscapes I’ve done. I also have a new set of oil portraits on wood that I’m really pleased with too.