Earthlines covers – back and front!

I’m delighted that my work has been chosen to grace the covers of March 2017 Earthlines magazine:-

Quiet seemed to be the best kind of loud during that crazy, coming-home-to-roost winter. We just knuckled down and got on with doing the work and focusing on making this issue of the magazine as fine as it possibly could be – in the face of all that was, in spite of all that was. And so we have a new ‘Earthlines’ just back from the printer and we hope that it will be a breath of fresh air, a reminder of good people living well – committed people telling their stories, realistic yet joyful. We’ll be mailing out in the next fortnight. To get a copy please visit: Here’s a look at the beautiful cover thanks to the very talented Kate Walters

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Puglia, January 2017


after rain Puglia    curled skeleton

Carrying fire.

Vessel of fire.

Protection against fire and sickness.

Doorway Puglia    Galatina Church Nave

Horse with talismanic gifts.

Head Tree, leafiness, crown seeding.

Heart Tree smaller file     drawings Puglia   Madonna


baby skeleton


Baby Skeleton

Cave Shadow


Shadows make breasts or a crown for me

I am Boat, I am torrent streaming, pooling, shadows, red ground, sinking, gathering.

Burnt olive, ash and smoke, morning scent, orange fruit and lemon.

The poems of Rilke, writing to God, sitting in the cave, feeling the memories of horses walking in circles.

Bird with marigold     In the cave In the cave at Impisi with work by David Westby.


Forms filled with prayer, I clothe myself in prayer.

Thinking about The Ode of the Mantle…. words written by a sick poet: he dreamed of The Prophet laying a mantle over him; when he awoke he was cured. Water washed over the words of the Ode are thought to contain healing powers- they were given to the unwell to drink.

Sewing the scented Wound

Stitching the scented Wound

‘Living with the Sky upon me.’ Rilke

“By paths unknown to us, they all go upwards” Cioran

Wetting the souls of one’s feet in their tears” (writing about the Saints) Cioran.

Being tied to the invisible – how does that look?

Figure Figure with tree spirit in soul place

Figure with Tree spirit in soul place; tree with cut throat;

The melting crown of the seal-hare;

Arms as places for spirit to land, and rest, be restored;

The umbilicus of the Bird – an energetic navel?

Heart's Tongue

Horse with Soul Smoke  Horse with soul smoke

Horse sees a sickness   Horse calls out the sickness


Horse calls out the sickness; Horse sees the sickness; Horse blows sickness away.


January 2017. New work; what feeds it…Italy in winter…

I’ve been looking at Louise Bourgeois’s Insomnia Drawings, and recalling events from my childhood, which took place in France ( a balcony in Rouen; a country house and forest in Sologne). I remember going swimming in a big dark pool. It was raining, I was alone, I was around seven years old. There were large trees surrounding the lake, and everything seemed to be a muted deepening green. I remember crawling along through the water, my palms on the soft squelchy bottom, fingers pulling me along. Suddenly my fingertip felt ice, and warm, and alarm. My finger was cut, the pond was full of broken glass, the blood hung a red cloud in the water. I stood up, blood pouring down my arm, and ran down the path towards the big house. The rain was pouring down, the path was wet with millions of frogs, tiny baby green beings a torrent of legs and little hands on the path all around me. I found a strange woman in the large cold kitchen. No mother. I cried and cried. She wrapped my finger with something. I could not be soothed. Later, walking in the forests with my family gathering yellow mushrooms, I spied a family of goats. There was a pretty young kid. I made friends, I put my arms around her, she was close and warm and smelled of earth, I was comforted.

A recent  dream of an electric current, my father was connected to it, and another man, and so was I. It was full of pain, terror, and pulling. In the dream I knew I could let go of the current. I let go of the current.

I’m thinking (always through drawing)  about seeing with the navel; how the umbilical cord connects us energetically with ancestors and future generations. Bodily knowing. Bringing into sight what is hidden in the abdomen, or the womb, feeling oneself a bee, a queen bee; a carrier of seeds, a distended flower head in the autumn, ripe and full and flooded with the stain of dusky departures.

We can also see above the skin, above the skin of the mid-section, with the solar part flexing like a drum, or the voice cords, humming.

Drawings of a figure with head wings and spine wings. And animals as seers.

I think of my dream of the five little discreet lumps, like glands or tiny breasts in a  row, vertical. I think of the dark-eyed man who stands before me in so many pictures, of the book of love I have read again – of the boat, of the wine, the cheese and the metal, and of the dead children and the rain. The lovers in the rain. And the lake, the mountains, and the snow.

Of time wasted; of the erotic in art being sacred, of the energy of desire the same flame as the dull ache I experience as I sit before my easel.

The pink stain of Lucretia’s gown is the stain on my cheeks.


Soon I will be in Italy again, in Puglia, working in a cave, researching.



a-n Travel Research bursary: Radio Coast FM interview Thursday 15th December at 2.30

This afternoon I’ll be speaking about my trip to Orkney and the Western Isles, generously supported by a-n Artists Information company. I’ll be discussing what I saw and felt, what moved me, inspired me, and what I am bringing forwards in my work as an artist. I went to Scotland in August and October, and the trips are continuing to be a powerful force igniting my work.

Here are some more images from my trip, and some images which developed as a result of my travelling:

Inside Unstam chambered tomb, Orkney       Orkney view The Italian Church, Orkney small file                Callanish Standing stones Lewis Lewis, Lochan, Sun       Welcome to Uig, Lewis Drawing, Water, Ardroil sands Peat drawing with Mermaid's purse, deer-bestowed arms smaller file    Figure after Seal Iona 2016 KW small file Figure giving birth through womb navel KW 2016 40 x 50 cm Iona Inks for email    Saint holding feet KW 2016 Iona for Iona


Iona in November; images of place, experience; words and memory

Mull snow caps    Red Valley Mull travelling across Mull…

After teaching my workshop (please see previous post)I spent two weeks on Iona working in the hostel at Lagandorain (the hollow of the otter) doing domestic work and tending the gardens. I walked most days to the beach with a wheelbarrow to gather seaweed to dress the currant and berry beds. For the rest of each day I worked in my nest-like room making drawings and writing; or cycling in the fading daylight to Abbey, Chapel or the beach at the back of the ocean. The hostel is surrounded by fields of close-cropped grass and a couple of dozen of small and wiry black Hebridean sheep. To go anywhere you must pass through a sheep gate or three, and at night ones’ dreams might be accompanied by the percussion of sheep – bottom or horn on corrugated iron.

first glimpse Iona

At dusk I would walk or cycle to the abbey and St. Oran’s Chapel and then spend some time being quiet and drawing in the darkness. For water I used my saliva with watercolour sticks and then I developed drawings from these inchoate scribbling and writings.

seal pup foot

Here is an example of my writing made in the chapel:

I sit beside a sealskin come to wrap me

Bird Spine rock

Spine Flower Ribs

Rock Bones Rock

Stem Blood Blood

St. Oran’s Chapel

Making My Earth Skin Bone Foot

                                                 with my face in the flame 

Drawings with a teacher

here awake, every night shedding my skin




Breasts come down to carpet

the waves, quieten seas, comfort earth me


Vessel which glides

As Ice and Blood

Stone Jug Put Throat Song

Fingers wash

bone bird bolos



Lily blessure bud

blond sea breathe

lichen beach Iona 16     colours beach 16


I made a drawing of a horse turning to watch a birth, asking when the return to water will come… the blue tapping legs of lobsters stir my dreams, the horse turns on her side now, revealing her tender belly; she is pre-occupied with flowers gathering at her mushroom-coloured muzzle.

I gave a talk about my work in the Hostel to Islanders. I began with this text from the I Ching:

“The mare is strong, tireless and incomparably fast, and she is acutely sensitive to the subtlest cues. When you have a mare’s constancy, you will be steadily loyal to the truth, and always alert and responsive to guidance.”

Then I read aloud a piece I wrote two year ago, about the horse I knew so well:

“Thinking of Phaedra, of how the breath of the horse creates a kind of womb for me; holds me aloft, intact, supported, whole. A womb of air, a light-filled womb, perfumed, smelling of a horse’s grassy green breath.”  And about how Iona used to be known as the Island of the horses/horse people so it is right that I should feel at home there. And this time many of the drawings which emerged were of horse forms, maternal, loving, protective.

In another drawing the horse weeps dark tears.


fish supper    lobster with tapping legs

A man brought a plastic tray of fish for the suppers of women. I watched as they gathered in a circle around the fish. Amazed at the beauty and strangeness of the lobsters (which I have only eaten once, my father bought one just before he died)…..

I wrote about the lobsters.

When blue legs tap

which world responds?

Your blue legs are thin, hard, cool.

Blue legs little tubes of night sky, deep sea darkness you rattle in my world

A visitor you, one afternoon amongst women’s voices, a man’s hands and pale sun.

Strapped here in a plastic tray,

With your barrel-red body and your knowing of  other worlds, I am sad for you.



My work ‘The kiss of the Womb restores the souls of the lost’ on the cover of new book of poems…

Can’t wait to read the poems! Congratulations


Karl O’Hanlon

Cover for website

And Now They Range


Karl O’Hanlon

Karl O’Hanlon’s first pamphlet is an immensely attractive thing. He treads a fascinating line between a cool, modest – at times austere – phrasing and an engagement with the passionate physicality of English on the tongue and in the ear: ‘Mystique of keratin / becoming forest’s altarpiece / then blood-whoop of a jay: / shattered obsidian // scattered into black elms.’ It is this contradiction, this ability to marry a technical restraint with an exuberantly overflowing language,  together with his wide-ranging concerns for history, family, art, love and nature, which drive the poems throughout this lovely, and hugely promising, short collection.

Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Karl O’Hanlon grew up in Purdysburn, County Down. He studied at Georgetown, Washington D.C. and has taught in Orléans. Recently, Karl completed a PhD at the University of York. He has worked as an editor for Eborakon magazine and his poems have appeared in AgendaStand, and PN Review.

And Now They Range is Karl’s debut, and a very impressive one. It has been printed and section sewn at Palace Printers in Lostwithiel on Mohawk Superfine papers and features a cover and frontis by artist Kate Walters.

Iona…workshop, feedback, and time to work…

Before my Iona workshop I had two days on the Isle of Mull to prepare. Here I am on the way to Tobermory, standing in the rich colours of orange-green seaweed.

InstagramCapture_1d8890a7-792a-4431-a6c3-de13ea0108ff (1)

The scent of sea was strong and clean. I stayed at a beautiful old Manse called Frachadil near Calgary Bay.
I made some drawings beside the bay, a favourite haunt of otters, bisected by dykes, tuning into the geology, the sea birds, the weather, and a mummified seal I found myself to be sitting near; graceful even in death, it’s form describing an arc, rear flippers appearing to cradle an egg.
The following day before crossing to Iona I saw four eagles and a black-winged heron.

On the Island I gave a workshop to 9 participants. We worked with the spirit of place, stories around St. Brigid and St. Columba; tuning into the special pristine qualities of the North Beach near the hostel by laying on the sand with closed eyes and making notes and drawings about the experience; we used the shamanic journey to divine the exact focus for each person, and we also used this technique for vision or clarity around particular personal questions. I invited the group to let go of ego (as far as possible) and to respond with enhanced bodily sensing to phenomena. I spoke about the ancient quality of the rock here, the Lewisian Gneiss which goes back to the early years of this planet (and is ten times older than granite).

We worked also with the dream, the intention, and experimentation with a wide range of high quality drawing materials supplied by Pip Seymour.

At night we walked to the beach in silence and with focus. I invited the group to each make small journeys to the sea each day, and to sing to the sea. On the last night we gathered on the beach after walking in a procession, and we had a very moving time singing our songs to the sea, as a group. This is one of the old Hebridean ways.

We worked with deepening our matrixial awareness to make drawings/monotypes and to explore our inner lives/develop our antennae/sensing organs through using our hands and materials.

It was a wonderful warm group without any shadow.    Here is some feedback…

‘ Thank you for one of the most memorable weekends ever. Your wisdom, generosity and kindness made it a truly enriching experience on so many levels. I am left with a feeling of anticipation as I return to my art project – hopeful that the spirit of play, exploration and discovery will continue to develop. ‘  M. H.
Kate teaching Iona medal shining   thanks to Sally Tripptree for this photo..
“Kate is a warm and inspiring teacher and she shares her skills and experience with huge generosity. The workshop was a rich immersion into the felt body experience of the sacred island of Iona. With drumming, journeying, poetry, prose and exercises which cultivated connection to the land and sea through the senses and the body, we were guided to respond with words and paint. It helped me understand and map my creative process and I have brought home volumes of inspiration to continue working with. There was a good choice of quality materials to work with.  The venue was light, warm and spacious with beautiful views of changing skies through the large windows and the sea a short walk away. 
I loved the intensity of our packed itinerary, it was good to push through notions of tiredness in order to fully participate. ” M.W.
“I miss your company. The fun. The lightness. The hard work. The inspiration. The cobbler. The apple crumble. Andrew in the kitchen. The soup I never had !
Your ears that listened to my poetry. Your eyes that watched my drawings. Your stories. Your presence. Your work. Betsy. I miss the island. The light. The seaweed. The shells and stones. The black sheep. The views. It’s a good feeling: missing. I like it.    Thank you Kate for being my first shamanic teacher ever. And thanks for combining it with artwork and the feminine. Thanks for your good care and loving attention. You’re an excellent teacher in so many ways! ”  JvO
My next teaching adventure will be at Newlyn School of Art in March 2017 (Art and the Feminine) and I plan to return to Iona to teach a workshop during October 2017 – 21 – 25th. Please contact me for further information.

I will spend some time on the Croft at Lagandorain working in the garden and with my drawings. I plan to make some night drawings in St Oran’s chapel and Iona Abbey. Walking at night here it is silent and feels precious, intense.

Kate on north beach Kate at the North Beach


drawing    drawing by Sally   workshop Iona 2 workshop photos

workshop Iona Sally and Tina    talking about work    drawing Sallyworking workshop Iona


the path we made  the path we made at night when we went to sing to the sea, walking in single file, working towards invisibility, appreciative of First Nations’ peoples ways..

the saint and the oystercatcher Oak gall ink  24 x 16 cm 2016  a drawing I made of the Saint Breeejah with her protector, the oyster catcher…

I asked the water Monotype Iona 2015  a drawing I made of my longing to go into the water to be charged by it’s purity…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   an earlier work in watercolour, Man is Head of Woman shown in the Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition, 2008.


Black Swan Arts Open Poster, prize winning news, and Invitation…and a link to a film/talk from 2015..

I’m thrilled that my work ‘My Dog keeps watch when I pray‘ has been chosen for the poster and the invitation for the Open exhibition.

Arts Open open poster final 290916 v3



My work was awarded the Mount Art Prize:-

We’re sponsoring Black Swan Arts Open this year, and as part of that we gave away a £100 framing voucher to go towards the cost of a bespoke frame. We were invited to a sneak preview of the exhibition ahead of the opening last week, and we got to choose our favourite piece. This was one of the hardest choices we’ve ever had to make! We loved everything, and found it really hard to select even ten favourites, let alone one. But with the pressure of time, we had to make a decision, and went for Kate Walter’s amazing painting, My dog Keeps watch as I Pray.

kate walters

Here is a link to an interview I gave in February 2015  (although I no longer teach at St. Ives School of Painting – only at Newlyn School of Art)