Growing up in Sydney, Kate Lewis spent most of her childhood in the textured coastal landscape of Jervis Bay. ‘Our house backed onto the bush where we spent our days getting lost, crafting and creating imaginary worlds,’ Kate says. ‘I have always been a tactile communicator using artmaking to connect and convey my emotions.’
Since then, a few things in Kate’s life have changed. She moved to Melbourne, gone to art school (three times) and just recently completed her Masters in Contemporary Art from the Victorian Collage of the Arts at Melbourne University.
‘It’s been a windy road to end up where I am today,’ Kate adds. ‘Painting and [being in] the bush have been the only constants in my life.’
The artist has only been painting full-time for the last few years, but her deep appreciation for the great outdoors already emanates from the dreamlike aesthetic of her paintings. There’s a lot of care behind her organic shapes, rich earthy colours, and layered brushstrokes beautifully immortalise the real-life scenes that Kate finds on her regular ‘expeditions’ in Victoria’s High Country and The Otways, alongside her memories of Jervis Bay.
‘My painting practice is a distillation of those moments when you lay your eyes on something glorious – a kind of oily record keeping, if you like,’ she says. ‘For me, these moments spring up most commonly when out strolling in the bush. Of course, I could pen a diary entry or snap a photo, but words aren’t my closest friends, and the hard lines of digital photographs hardly do justice to the oil-laden Australian landscape.’
‘Oil paints are the obvious choice when evoking the languid lines of a eucalypt under the relentless sun – oils ooze and are forgiving. They shimmer with that harsh vividity of the Australian bush yet, in form, perfectly express its laconic and lazy lines.’
When she’s not working from her inner-city studio, or teaching art classes to a high school in the mountains, Kate really enjoys painting en plein air among the trees and quietude of the great outdoors – despite the unpredictable weather and ‘very cold fingers’!
See more of Kate’s work on her website here.