Guest Post – Kathryn Gibson June 1, 2016 – Posted in: Guest Post
Interview with Kat Gibson
I briefly met Kathryn at a Fete at St Catherine’s church in Gloucester where she was selling some of her art. I really liked her work and thought it would be good for our first ever interview to be from a fellow Gloucester artist. Her official blog site is: http://benandkatgibson.com
Tell us a little about yourself
Hello! I’m Kat. I am a Christian; I live and work in Gloucester; I am a student at Redcliffe College; I have a wonderful husband called Ben; and my hobbies include painting, music (I play the guitar and the 22-string harp), dancing Argentinian Tango, travelling, and spending time with friends.
What tools do you use to create your artwork?
While I have experience painting both on and with a wide variety of mixed media, at the moment I usually use acrylic paints (mainly with fairly large flat brushes) on canvasses of various sizes. My current favourite canvasses to paint on are the 30x40cm (about 12″x16″) stretched canvasses sold at PoundWorld (the ones with the staples around the backs of the wooden frames, not on the sides), and larger 60x100cm canvasses from The Works.
I also love painting with oils but currently do not have the storage space to leave oil paintings to dry for months! I am more recently beginning to branch out into the world of palette/painting knives, but this feels like learning to paint completely from scratch after using only brushes for so long – I feel much more comfortable with brushes. I use any brand of acrylic paints that I can find – though I tend to keep away from ‘Flue’ brand. My current favourite brand of acrylics is Daler Rowney, and I also like Boldmere. I’m not too picky!
How long have you been producing art for?
I have been producing art in some shape or form for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved to make things out of paper, and then as a teenager I began drawing and painting. I would especially paint illustrations of Bible passages that particularly struck me. I took art for GCSE in school and despised it because my teacher disliked my style and because I struggled to remain within the constraints of the specific assignments.
During my last years at high school I painted canvasses whenever I needed to give gifts to people, for birthdays and the like – primarily to save money. I also loved to listen to Christian worship music and get lost in it, and to express my thoughts and feelings through painting while listening to the music and singing along. I found this a very liberating outlet and thoroughly enjoyed it, and saw my art as a form of worship. I also continued to paint my responses to or illustrations of Bible passages when I was particularly challenged or inspired by specific passages.
After finishing high school I lived in Bolivia for about a year, and continued painting there as an activity to do with the teenagers in the orphanage where I was working, as well as when I wanted to give personalised gifts to people. I painted on everything that I could find – one particular favourite during that time was moulding newspaper into various shapes and sticking it to pieces of card or foam board with diluted PVA glue, and then painting over the top with cheap gouache paints.
I loved sticking things to paper or card and painting over the top – I did various pieces involving shoes, old jewellery, small stones, pieces of broken glass and other items stuck onto pieces of card with a lot of paint underneath and a little over the top. I would always paint a Bible verse somewhere on the picture. When I returned to the UK at first I painted mainly on paper for a few years, sometimes in acrylic and sometimes with gouache – again primarily to express my responses to Bible passages and as an act of worship to God – and then in recent years I moved back to canvasses.
Over the past few years my painting has no longer been limited to exclusively Christian imagery but also to express my love of the beauty seen in nature, as well as the wonder of movement and life – pictures of people dancing, jumping, moving around in expressive ways.
Tell us a story behind one of your pieces of art
Wow – in my mind every picture has a story – it’s difficult to choose just one! There’s the swallow-tailed hummingbird picture, painted from a photograph taken by my brother-in-law in Argentina; the Tango-themed pictures inspired by my love of the dance; the silhouette pictures that originally were simply backgrounds that had gone badly wrong and that I was about to throw away but instead painted a silhouette over the top just to see what would happen (and then those became quite popular)…
There’s Dancing at Dawn in which I was absolutely determined to get the man’s face just right and it took me more than double the amount of time that most of the others take (and I completely overlooked the fact that I had forgotten to finish one of the man’s sleeves and one of the woman’s hands because I was concentrating so much on the face!); there’s Dancing in Puddles which did not go at all how I had expected and which I was not pleased with in the slightest when it was finished but which had more interest than the majority of my other paintings…
There’s Flowers and Wine which I wrote off as too simple and messy and silly until various people liked it better than any of the others; there’s Colourful Tango which I disliked at first because of the strange background but now that background is perhaps one of my favourites because of its uniqueness…
There’s Tango Legs which my Tango teacher took one look at and said, “No! That move could never happen this way! For a woman to be able to ‘gancho’, the man’s front leg must be bent! It cannot be a straight leg! No!”…
There’s Fruity Wine in which I began to paint olives and then changed my mind and wanted to paint grapes – and now I’m not entirely sure what fruit they resemble but certainly neither olives nor grapes (and the wine glasses are very uneven – possibly because I had had a couple of glasses of wine with a meal immediately prior to painting this picture)… Many of the pictures have very uneven backgrounds which initially annoyed me but now amuses me – and very few of the paintings turned out quite like the image I had in my head to begin with!
What inspired you to start selling your art?
I have only been selling my art for a few years. To be honest, before that I never considered it good enough to sell, and never wanted to make people pay for something that I had thoroughly enjoyed creating. The selling process began when I was in my first year of my theology degree, and (as was normal for me throughout the course of the degree) I was procrastinating from writing essays through painting.
A friend who had seen some of my paper paintings suggested to me that I scan them into a computer and print them onto greetings cards to sell. I dismissed the idea, until she continued to press it and others did too. I began looking into it and since it seemed like a viable and affordable idea I tried it out and made many sales from Christian greetings cards.
This developed over two or three years until I had 66 A6 designs (half of them are Christian and have Bible verses on them and half of them were inspired by scenery in Finland, where my mother-in-law is from) and 30 A5 designs (some dancing-related, some scenery related and several other ‘random’ designs – along with various occasion-specific designs). When I saw how well the cards were selling – and when I realised that in the flat my husband and I share I was running out of space to store my canvass paintings – I began to sell some of the originals too.
How can someone buy some of your art?
There are various ways of buying my art! First there is my blogsite – http://www.benandkatgibson.com/paintings-for-sale. Through this site one can buy canvas paintings or greetings cards and originals of the paper paintings on request – I try to keep it regularly updated.
A local cafe, Roots (on Alvin Street, Gloucester), is currently displaying seven of my paintings. I occasionally hold exhibitions and stalls, which will usually be mentioned on the blogsite.
Are you an artist? We would love to share your story!
If you produce art inspired by scripture or a Christian who produces art we would love to do an interview with you for our website. All you have to do is fill in the contact form and we will be in touch.