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.

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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.

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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)

Dean Clough, feedback from York…

I had some very lovely and generous feedback from people who attended the talk I gave at ICE in York. I began my talk by reading from Ursula LeGuin’s poem ‘The Artist’ – about going to the ‘gap’, the space between…. which is what I feel I do when I make work. I called my Powerpoint ‘The Body as Sensing Organ’ which refers to what I discovered about my body during my residency on Iona last Winter. I also spoke about the poetry of Mallarme and Rilke, both of which help me to understand my work as an artist.

I’m hoping I will be able to give another talk and perhaps a workshop/’hollow bone’ work at Dean Clough at the end of my show’s run there around January 22nd. Here are details of the exhibition:

‘Bird Making Womb for my Consciousness’
Kate Walters: Punctum and Plume
Upstairs Gallery
October 15th 2016 to January 22nd 2017The Guardian’s review of Kate Walter’s 2012 exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery opened with the line: “It’s not every day you find an artist who claims their home is in the body of a deer…” and went on to refer to her ‘fusion of cave art, classical mythology and a rainbow-tinted hippy sensibility’. In the exhibition catalogue, Richard Davey was more consanguineous: “Reflecting the ancient tradition of the Sacred Feminine, Walters’ paintings are spaces of nurture, birthing pools in which her insights are embodied”. Among Kate’s many art qualifications she has also received formal training in ‘classical shamanism’. Her packed CV would flatter any ONE soul involved in either international art, mysticism or animal husbandry. She is as likely to be talking on ‘expanding consciousness through the act of drawing’ as she is to be discussing her residency in a bothy on Iona; as liable to be quoting Goethe, Griselda Pollock or (as in the title of this exhibition) Barthes. What you get in the gallery is a pictorial blend of animal, human and natural forms in oils, watercolours and monotypes that look to address a sensibility beyond the eye. Chagall is invariably invoked, but Kate Walters is more accurately part of a tradition locally represented by Ted Hughes or the late Derek Hyatt.

ICE talks at The New Schoolhouse Gallery, York

Here are links to the ICE talks I’ll be part of next Friday 14th October in York.

I’ll be speaking about my life as an artist, my work, what feeds my practice….

2 Kate Walters Sharing the animal eye watercolour 36 x 41cm 2012  Sharing the Animal Eye

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Sitting quietly like an Animal, turning blood to Milk…

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, wet auction for Newlyn Art Gallery, October 2016

On October 1st I braved the weather and donning waterproofs, rucksack and easel, I made my way into the Gardens at Tremenheere. (Nr Gulval, Penzance TR20 8YL)

Here are a few images from their website:

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Image result for Tremenheere Sculpture gardens

and here are a few of my photos:

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I spent some time sitting quietly tuning into the feeling of the place. I needed to settle, be still, and wait. I could sense the hands of the people who have worked that land over centuries. They were gnarly, old, bright and light also, weaving their fingers in amongst the plants. They shone through the damp morning.

I had bought a postcard book, I thought I’d walk and draw, making a little document of my afternoon. The rain and mud I wanted to work with changed the scale. I made notes, further drawings.

My insights/thoughts/impulses went a bit like this…
…sensing the hands of the gardeners, the people who have worked with the place, over generations;
drawing with grass, soil, leaf mould, seeing the rabbit traces, imagining them taking back ownership when night falls;
spending time with Tim’s Blind Minotaur, having a sense that the sucked – in eyes were like navels, at the point of vortices between worlds;
then returning to the light place where I sat and drawing, having a sense of the sky providing navels and energetic umbilici to the earth below
sensing the garden as a sleeping creature, nourished and protected by a kind my mythic large-bellied bird (something like a swan) flying and yet motionless above
Here are some drawings I made in the garden. Most were unfinished, the beginnings of something more…(I hope to return to Tremenheere after its’ Winter rest, to work in residence for some months during next spring and early summer…)
the Garden as a Creature sleeping peat, watercolour and gouache  The Garden as a sleeping Creature…
the Garden as a creature sleeping first drawing   The Garden as a sleeping Creature first drawing…
Sky navels over Tremenheere    Sky Navels over Tremenheere…

Bird Woman by Em Strang now available, with my work The Bird is My Brother on the cover….

“Bird-Woman is now available, folks! Here is a link to the Shearsman site. Also available at Wordery or The Book Depository.  Many thanks again to Kate Walters for the wonderful cover image. I’ll be launching at The Bakehouse in Gatehouse of Fleet, The Radical Book Fair in Edinburgh and hopefully The Project Cafe in Glasgow…Also, somewhere in Dumfries soonish! Will post dates in due course. :-)” Em Strang

Published 2016. Paperback, 80pp, 8.5×5.5ins, £8.95 / $16 [Download a PDF sampler from this book here.] “Em Strang’s poetry reminds us that right dwelling is not just a theoretical or ideological concern; it must also be rooted in the gravity that structures everything, rich in the old pagan know…
“Em Strang’s poetry reminds us that right dwelling is not just a theoretical or ideological concern; it must also be rooted in the gravity that structures everything, rich in the old pagan knowledge and unafraid to find a home for what we do not fully understand. Bird-Woman is a delicious collection, a book to be savoured in the fullest sense.”  —John Burnside
“Em Strang’s poems are shamanic, in that they restore to us abandoned mythologies.  Nothing is stable in this very real world, where houses can become birds, where the animal lies shallowly below the surface of the human, where poems are haunted with what is unsaid. An ‘old throat from the other side’, full of bewilderment, concern, passion and beauty.”  —Jen Hadfield

Lunchtime talk at the New Schoolhouse Gallery, York



Kate Walters

October 14th (12:30-13:30)

Artist Kate Walters is based in Cornwall, where she finds great beauty in wild places that fire themes in her work, which employs watercolour in an unorthodox way.

Kate will talk about her artistic influences; her interest in the way hidden phenomena may be revealed through the creative process; and how the rhythms of Nature provide further insights for her practice. Her talk will be of interest to both artistic practitioners and the general public.

Kate has exhibited at the School House Gallery, Newlyn Gallery and Millenium Gallery St Ives. Her solo exhibition Punctum & Plume opens at Dean Clough Halifax on 15 October.

Black Swan Open

I’m delighted that this work My Dog keeps watch when I pray has been selected for The Black Swan Open in Frome, this autumn…

It was inspired by relationships I’ve had with the dogs in my life, and visits to Norcia in Italy, where I’ve spent time in churches , where Benedictine monks pray and sing bending from the waist in supplication and humility.

My dog Keeps watch as I Pray watercolour 2016 30 x 37 cm   Watercolour on gesso-prepared paper, 2016.

My blog for a-n and other news…Fallen Animals….Dean Clough…New Schoolhouse Gallery, York


Here is the link to the a-n page:

and I’m currently writing my blog about my trip; it’ll be published soon I hope!

Here are a few photos which bring back memories of my wonderful trip :

Sheep and clouds Teampall na Trionaid    Two sheep, North Uist

DSC05339  At The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness

DSC05165  On the beach, with a seal bottling,near Skara Brae, Orkney

Beside The Ring of Brodgar  Beside The ring Of Brodgar, Orkney


I’ve just finished co-writing – with Professor Penny Florence –  a chapter of the book which has developed from  the Fallen Animals conference at Aberdeen University in March 2015.  Here are the details:

Full title: Fallen Animals
Editor: Zohar Hadromi-Allouche
Publishers: Lexington Books
Expected: 2017


…but to whet the appetite, here is an extract by Professor Penny Florence, which she wrote in response to my work Spirit Horse…

2 Spirit Horse watercolour Kate Walters 2016


The culmination of this wonderful re-creation of bodies into the humanimal, for me, is embodied in Spirit Horse (Fig. 14). Space in the painting is not representational, but it’s not abstract, either. The dramatic band of sanguine that constitutes about a third of the picture, together with the indeterminate boundaries of the bodies, brings alive the idea of ‘becoming animal’[i], which can be understood in many complementary ways. These include the expression of soul, which is invoked in the position of the horse’s head outside the darker area, and shadowed or echoed in the lines and shapes above and around it. The acceptance of how much more like than unlike animals we are leads to re-locating humanity in a cosmos that is both more mobile and more connected. In Rilke’s terms, by passing through the horse’s head, its face in the sense of its being, we might stop looking at ourselves, and so stand a chance of glimpsing what exists, beyond.

[i] Rather than pointing specifically to one of the many references to the concept of ‘becoming-animal’ in Deleuze & Guattari’s writings, this refers more closely to Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art, NY, Columbia, 2008.  Her comment that, “art after painting, can be seen as the action of leaving the frame, of moving beyond, and pressing against the frame, the frame exploding through the movement it can no longer contain” (p.18) is a good example of how she brings Deleuzian thought to bear on art that initiates “harmonious vibration” (p.19).

And I’m very excited about my solo show at Dean Clough, in the Mosaic and Upstairs Galleries, opening October 15th, early afternoon. On the 14th October I’ll be giving a talk on building a career as an artist at the New Schoolhouse Gallery, at lunchtime… I’ll have works to show and catalogues to view…all welcome!