New ventures….

Curatorspace have kindly written a great feature on exciting events about to happen:

I’m very excited to be heading to Worcester University to speak on my work generated by residencies in Shetland; in particular a strong dream I had where I saw myself before I was born – which has lead to around 500 watercolours being made. I’m now returning to my first love, oil paint, to articulate and negotiate thoughts and feelings around fluids – sap, blood, milk: milk being the bodily expression of motherly love.

After that I’ll be travelling to London to see some exhibitions, and to be part of this event:

where I’ll be doing my ‘hollow bone’ performance drawing/shamanic work….

Notes in the Garden at Tremenheere Gallery. The Tree of thought: an essay by Professor Penny Florence.



The Tree of Thought: The Art of Kate Walters


Kate Walters’ art speaks clearly. Yet because it is visceral, communicating to our bodies first, it can

be easy to underestimate the quality of thought it embodies.

Embodied thought addresses the kind of understanding that bypasses spoken or written language

because it is deeper. Precisely because it embodies rather than explains or narrates, it is not didactic;

Walters never preaches.

There is, nonetheless, a powerful and consistent message. It concerns the big questions: what does it

mean to be fully human; what is our place in the natural world; where are we going; questions that

echo Gauguin’s great philosophical work, Doù venons-nous, Que sommes-nous, Où allons-nous?

But, unlike Gauguin, the work does not so much pose questions as feel its way towards articulating

the mysteriousness of being.

This is a Shamanic understanding of what many of the ancient religions variously call the Path or the

Way – and Walters is a fully initiated Shaman. This is not a casual or loose similarity, but rather the

long-term commitment that underpins her art.

So what is this Shamanic terrain? It is paradoxical, because it is fully aware, yet indirectly evoked. If

you compare Child with Plant Wand and Buds with Babies , the eye-leaves of the first appear to be the

seed-children of the second, who resemble the child holding the plant. These eyes suggest insight as

much as sight, awareness and receptiveness to the cycle of rebirth, to movement out and movement in,

like breathing.

It’s an effect that reminds me of what Maleno Barretto said of the intrepid Margaret Mee (both

botanical artists), ‘She seems to be inside the plant’ . This suggests that art does 1 not distinguish us

from Nature, but rather is integral to it. Many of us who have known individual animals well

understand the absurdity of the idea that they don’t think. It’s the result of projecting our ways of

thinking onto creatures whose experience of the world is different.

But plants? There is increasing scientific evidence that plants, especially trees, do indeed think. The

interdependence of trees, for example, is such that they form something very like a community. Theirs

is a collectivity based on communication. It is extensive and applies to the entire tree: apparently their

more widely known capacity to warn each other of insect attack through the release of hormones

above ground, and to take defensive action, is complemented underground, partly through the

intermediary of fungi. Fungi are neither plant nor animal, but a form of life in between.2

1 Botanical Art & About Margaret Mee (1909-1988) (Malu De Martino on Vimeo.) Walters has recently looked

at the work and thought of Mee, along with Simryn Gill and the filmmaker and gardener, Derek Jarman.

2 See my forthcoming book Thinking the Sculpture Garden (Routledge, Jan 2020) for further discussion of this research.

The book is inspired by, and revolves around, Tremenheere.


Perhaps we might call this capacity to see into the life of things ‘Natural Intelligence’, not in

opposition to ‘Artificial Intelligence’, but as a complement. ‘Human Intelligence’ is only one form.

Mee always worked entirely from living plants, usually in their natural setting and including their

habitat, unlike conventional botanical illustrators. In this way, she shows that that they are integral to

their environment, an inseparable part of it. To capture the enigmatic Moonflower (Selenicereus

wittii), which blooms once and night and then dies, she balanced half the night astride a narrow canoe.

She risked herself alone with nature in order to convey the living energy of an organism in its habitat.

And it is a risk; like her, Walters risks herself. The result is demanding work that rewards the

concentrated looking of open awareness.


Truly look at the works in this show and you will see that living energy, a life-force that unites

everything that lives and breathes; for, as Simryn Gill, another artist admired by Walters, said, “If the

botanical world falters, so do we.” Our ability to breathe has evolved in exact synergy 3 with theirs. It

is an understanding that demands action and restraint from harm, a thoughtfulness about balance and

care. In this it is political; in Gill’s case, against colonial exploitation; in Walters’, in support of

Extinction Rebellion (XR) and taking personal responsibility.4


At the same time, the works are underpinned by a structural precision belied by their fluidity and

softness. This aspect of the work is evidenced in the approaches of two other artists Walters admires,

Christine Ödlund and David Thorpe. Both explore geometry and growth.

This sense of co-emergence is conveyed not only through form, but also through technique. There are

four methods in this show: watercolour, monotype, spit bite etchings, or a combination; and oil. Take

for example Kate’s three spit bite etchings: Breath of Plant or Horse ; Horse with Child and Planet ;

Mother Bird Feeds Human Infant. Perhaps the main characteristics of spit bite etchings are textural

similarity of figure and ground and closeness in feel to watercolour. And yes, spit can be an

ingredient, though not always. It seems completely appropriate here.


The image is not materially differentiated from its surround; it’s a matter of degree and, more subtly,

of construction, as in the figure-ground instability of Seeing Tree or Storm, World Tree with

Cocooned Infants and Untitled . Plant, tree, animal, bird and human life all materialise in these works

in the gap that is ambiguity, all part of the same miraculous planetary process. The oils foreground the

kinds of emergence to which the medium is so perfectly suited. Colour, marks (both ends of the brush)

and a fragile symmetry create a textural and layered becoming in which the animals both support and

merge into the human and plant forms, from birth to dissolution. From a distance, the palette and

composition evoke C17th Dutch still life masters; ‘still’ life here meaning ‘always’, not ‘motionless’.

They form a Tree of Thought.


For anyone who thinks they know more than this planetary tree, I offer this couplet from William

Blake’s Auguries of Innocence:


The Bat that flits at close of Eve

Has left the Brain that won’t believe



4 See Programme and Tremenheere website for events associated with the show.



Notes in the Garden

Opening September 6th at 6 pm!

I have great pleasure in inviting you to my forthcoming exhibition at Tremenheere Gallery, which I am sharing with friends.

This body of work has been made in response to time spent in the beautiful gardens at Tremenheere, making drawings and writing about the insights I received from regarding the wild life of the garden.
I will be presenting sequences of watercolours, paintings, writing and monotypes. I’ve decided to also show selected archive works of mine which presage the themes I’ve been exploring recently in depth.
Some months ago I decided to invite friends – artists and poets – whose work responds to related themes to join me in the gallery, hoping this will enrich and broaden the conversations which I trust will be established.
The Opening evening is Friday 6th September,  6 – 8 pm.
I will give an artist’s walk and talk on Sunday September 8th at noon.
There will be workshops on September 8th and 29th (please book through the gallery).
On Friday September 13th Mat Osmond will lead an evening dedicated to Extinction Rebellion (7-9 pm). All are welcome; some of us will be gathering in the cafe from 6 pm.
I’m very excited about this new work, and I’m especially thrilled to be showing in this very fine and special gallery.
I hope very much to see you at one of the events.

Wells Art Contemporary

I’m honoured to be part of this selected exhibition, opening the evening of July 19th.

I’ll be showing 51 works from my recent watercolour sequences, in the beautiful Chapter House of Wells Cathedral.

More very soon on my recent wonderful trip to Orkney and Shetland.

Arusha Gallery March 2019; Shetland Notebooks launch; Ex Libris at Tremenheere Gallery.


Here are two of my works from my recent exhibition at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh – my first there in five years.

I was very pleased with how the exhibition looked; there was a great crowd at the opening on February 28th; and many people bought copies of my new book, Shetland Notebooks & Sketchbooks, published by Guillemot Press.

The next book launch will be at Tremenheere Gallery just outside Penzance, on April 13th, at 3 pm, when my publisher Luke Thompson and I will talk about the book, and then at 3.30 we will lead a workshop on walking and writing (£15 per person). This event is part of the next Newlyn Society of Artists exhibition, entitled Ex Libris, which has it’s Opening Event on April 6th at 2pm (until 6pm).






New York, Ghost Tide, London, York, new work, thoughts…

Here is the link to the exhibition of British artists from the South West, opening this week at Agora Gallery in New York.

And this is the link to the page of my work:

Memory KW 50 x 70cm 2018 small file this is one of the works in the exhibition in New York…


And in York, U.K., at the New Schoolhouse Gallery, from now until the end of January:


Penzance-based artist Kate Walters’ The Start that Falls from Heaven is an extraordinary, deeply moving exhibition of works in oil and watercolour that were predominantly completed on the isles of Shetland and IonaThe exhibition overflows with motifs of the feminine, the mythical and the natural world and asks: What does it mean to be human, knowing, and living in the anthropocene age?

Here are some images:

1  My dog Keeps watch as I Pray watercolour 2016 KW 30 x 37 cm (not including frame) small file email to Eavan   4 Leaving Event 2016 Kate Walters 45 x 35 cm watercolour


Ghost Tide:

I was very happy to be part of Ghost Tide, an exhibition curated by Monika Bobinska and Sarah Sparkes, at Thames Side Studios in London recently. I spent an afternoon offering ‘hollow bone’ sessions (funded by Arts Council England); the pictures show me doing this work with visitors to the exhbition. This work was done in a ceremonial way, with drumming, trance,  and song.

Tuning in with hollow bone work Kate Walters Ghost London Oct 18    preparing for hollow bone Kate Walters Ghost Tide October 2018 London

Hollow bone ceremony at Ghost Tide London Kate Walters October 2018

The Ghost TideCurated by Monika Bobinska and Sarah Sparkes
at Thames-Side Studios
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.The Ghost Tide – coinciding with the festivals of Hallowe’en, All Souls and the Day of the Dead – takes as its starting point the perspective that ghosts exist as an idea, or as part of belief system, across cultures, across national borders and throughout recorded history.Most languages contain words to describe the ghost, spirit or immaterial part of a deceased person. Often, these words – like the type of ghost they describe – have traversed borders been assimilated across cultures.

The exhibition, situated next to the Thames Barrier in south-east London, evokes ghosts as a migratory tide of ghosts washed up along the shore of the Thames, their historical baggage in tow.

It also evokes the presence of artists in this part of London, as a migratory tide of creative flotsam and jetsam which ebbs and flows as the city gentrifies and develops.

Featured works include sculpture, installation, film, sound, performance and wall based works.

The exhibition will include installations and outdoor interventions, as well as public events and Sarah Sparkes’ GHost Research Library ghost library.

About the curatorsSarah Sparkes is an artist and curator. Her work, The GHost Formula, 2016, commissioned by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) recently toured to NTMoFA (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) as part of the exhibition No Such Thing As Gravity, curated by Rob LaFrenais.She was the 2015 recipient of the MERU ART*SCIENCE Award. Together with Ian Thompson, she was awarded a BEYOND artist residency at Allenheads Contemporary Arts, 2018. Her work is shown by New Art Projects London.Sparkes leads the visual arts and creative research project GHost, curating an on-going programme of exhibitions, performances and inter-disciplinary seminars interrogating the idea of the ghost.

GHost events have been supported by Folkestone Triennale, University of the Arts, University of London, FACT, NTMoFA and Arts Council of England. She has lectured and written widely on both ghosts and GHost. 

Monika Bobinska is the director of CANAL, which organizes exhibitions and art projects in a variety of settings, and runs the North Devon Artist Residency

Artists include Andrea G Artz, Chris Boyd, Davies Monaghan & Klein, Diane Eagles,Gen Doy, Sarah Doyle, Graham Dunning, Andrew Ekins, Charlie Fox, Katie Goodwin, Kio Griffith, Miyuki Kasahara, Calum F Kerr, Rob La Frenais, Liane Lang, David Leapman, Toby MacLennan, Laura Marker, Joanna McCormick, Josie McCoy, Jane Millar, Output Arts, Miroslav Pomichal, Quay Brothers, Anne Robinson, Edwin Rostron, Matt Rowe, Sarah Sparkes, Charlotte Squire, Sara Trillo, Kate Walters, Patrick White, Heidi Wigmore, Mary Yacoob, Yun Ting Tsai, Neda Zarfsaz.PV: Fri 19 October 6-8.30pm with performance by Gen Doy
CURATORS’ TALK: Sat 20 October 3-4pm
HOLLOW BONE ceremony with Kate Walters: Sat 27 October 3-6pm
DAY OF THE DEAD CLOSING PARTY: Sat 3 November 2-7.30pm
Papel Picado workshop 2-5pm
Make your own Day of the Dead cutouts with artist Sarah Doyle. Suitable for all ages, materials provided
Performances & artist led walk 2-5pm
Charlie Fox, Calum F Kerr, Joanna McCormick, in and around the gallery
Day of the Dead Feast 5-6pm
Refreshments will be served
International Film Screening 6pm
Haunting short films in the gallery by Chris Boyd, Liane Lang, Quay Brothers, Yun Ting Tsai, Neda ZarfsazThames-Side StudiosThames-Side Studios Gallery
Harrington Way, Warspite Road
London SE18 5NR
Open Thur-Sun 12-5pm and by appointment

The Way of Beauty: Iona Workshop 2019

Iona view to Dutchman's Cap    first glimpse Iona
The Iona workshop, the Way of Beauty, will be held at Iona hostel, an award winning hostel with bunk bed accommodation in rooms of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 beds.
 It is a very beautiful holy Island with a great deal of history and natural beauty. It is a ‘thin’ place where your dreams and vision are likely to be enhanced.
The price is £550 per participant, which will include teaching/workshop work from 10 am – 3/4pm daily, with a short break for resting/individual work in the late afternoon or after lunch, then evening work after dinner from around 7.30 – 9.30pm. We can arrive anytime after 2 pm on Monday October 7th (gathering for tea and introductions at 4pm), and stay there until the morning of Friday 11th October (leaving by 11am).
The workshop will focus on beauty and will include drawing, writing, painting, walking, dreaming, shamanic journeying (for those who would like it) with drumming and guidance, night/evening walks, elemental work, laughter,  and time for solitude. The Island is not large or hilly so the walking is not too demanding or ever very far (although it is around 1 km+ from the jetty to the hostel on a single track level road).
This time we will bring our own food or buy from the Island shop, and either cook for ourselves or share meals/food preparation – keeping it simple.
Staples such as rice and pasta are often left by previous travellers, but we can’t rely on that….
Travel to Iona is quite easy. Train or coach to Glasgow then train to Oban, ferry to Mull, bus to Fionnphort, then ferry to Iona, then walk….
By car you drive to Fionnphort (by ferry from Oban first) then park in the free car park which is 5 mins walk away from the ferry to Iona.
Combining this workshop with a little tour of Mull or Skye would make a very good trip…both islands have very varied landscapes and are very beautiful.
If you would like to book a place on this workshop please email me your confirmation, and I’ll give you payment details –
Deposits will be refundable up to 6 months before the workshop, i.e.  the end of March 2019. After that it might be hard for me to fill places as most people like to plan well ahead.
Also please give me your permission to share your email addresses and mobile numbers with other people who have registered for the course.
There are 4 places left on this workshop…friends are welcome to come together!
   North Beach Iona  thistles near Abbey Iona  Sheep on the north Beach, Iona
Kate teaching Iona medal shining   to flicker to release mother Oak gall ink and watercolour 24 x 31 cm Kate Walters 2016  girl saint with her bird and protector Oak gall ink on paper 24 x 16 cm Kate Walters 2016
Abbey Museum detail book of Kells installation   light


Agora Gallery Press Release

Facebook: AgoraGalleryNY
Press Release:
For the British artist Kate Walters painting is a shamanic experience that emerges from deep from the collective feminine unconscious. Like a shaman, she plumbs the depths of the psyche to tap into the source of the most archaic human imagery so as to render it anew for the contemporary world. If Walters lists the artists Joseph Beuys and Bracha Ettinger, alongside the Jungian psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz as her influences, it is because her paintings continue in their steps and add to their legacy.

Walters is particularly interested in the recovery of the sacred feminine principle. She believes that the masculine warrior culture has coopted femininity, disrupting natural balance. Her delicate yet powerful watercolors work to restore this balance. To this end, paintings like 
Mother on Tree with Bird and Deep Space with Infant refer to organic shapes, the female body in its connection to nature, fertility, cyclical time, and life and death processes. In the words of Dr. Richard Davey, Walters’ paintings are “vehicles through which we are pulled into formlessness,” “encounters with the ephemeral,” and depicting the body as “free of physical constraints, floating in interconnected communion with the universe.”
Memory KW 50 x 70cm 2018 small file  In the beginning Kate Walters Watercolour 2018 approx 40 x 30 cm Artrooms
Deep Space, Infant KW 2018 50 x 70 cm small file