Memories of The Mothership residency in Dorset April 2017


The Mothership April 2017 Kate Walters


A green mouth, woody fingers, bowls of deer dust and wire pulled hair (in my pocket on Shetland, even in Italy: it sticks)

Walking in Sun along leafy lanes, red carcass beside the road, enormous, stenchy, a story about a farmer who beheaded a cow, left her here, ignominiously, to rot red to black in the early summer heat

Memories of a farm and badgers, and another farmer who didn’t believe me when I said that I’d shared a bed with badgers when young, one had swung on my nightdress in play and I had darted about the house in fear…

The farm with perfect meadows and flowers, and everything has changed in thirty years….     Kingcombe


And of railway cuttings dark and forgotten with broken bridges and shadowy pathways

Meeting an old friend up on sandy ridges in cold wind speaking of teaching and people I know no more, and of views across Dorset barrows I rode on when young with my childhood friend now dead. Mary.

A hot room with sunny windows and huge trees old friends watching me as I wondered, felt inadequate – sad even – thinking of Rilke and the strings of luminous, running deer; my son came and we sat beside other trees in the woods, the sun bathed us and the tracks of deer narrow and plaited I came to know as my hand.

In the garden with seedlings and soil and geese bathing joyfully opening wings white- wide, I took my son to visit an old lady who had held him as a babe, and loved him as her own, knowing she would not see him again; and of being recognised in Powerstock from living here twenty years and more before;

Of trees spreading crowns sun swollen, gorgeous.

I drew in my books and felt lost.


DSC07762     DSC07828    DSC07988

Returning to Shetland; CIG Grant.


Print                LogoERDF_Col_Portrait

I’m very happy to announce that I’m going to be the recipient of a Creative Investment Grant from Cultivator. This will enable me to return to Shetland for my research, for some weeks over the next 6 months. I’m enormously grateful for this opportunity to return to the place which has captured my heart, and enabled me to take big steps forward with the focus of my work. All the recent work I owe to Shetland and the dreams afforded to me when I was there.

sitting near birds   Across from Sumburgh Head

Arctic Skua in sky   Fulmar


bonxie small file   puffin flight 1 smaller file

puffin close up smaller file   Puffin

Puffins in grass   Walking from the tombolo

Seal on slipway to Mousa Broch   Kate drawing

Absent Motherhead. Kate Walters 2017 Watercolour   small file    Infant with heart wand   



Herrick Gallery exhibition with Julia Maddison

An ear to hear Watercolour Kate Walters 2017 small file   Horse Island Woman Shetland KW 2017 small file

Kate at Herrick Gallery show October 2017  Horse Sequence Herrick Gallery Oct 17

Lone babe sequence Herrick Gallery Oct 17  Spirit Sequence Herrick Gallery Oct 17  Framed works sequence Herrick Gallery 2017


MOST LOVED MOST FAR:  Kate Walters & Julia Maddison

Exhibition: 16 – 28 October 2017

Private View: 17 October 6-8pm

Herrick Gallery is delighted to present new watercolours by Penzance based artist Kate Walters and a delicate multi-media installation by London based artist Julia Maddison. The exhibition is accompanied by the following especially commissioned texts by the Revd. Dr. Richard Davey, Professor Penny Florence and Julian Firth.

child soul with spirit bird watercolour Kate Walters

Kate Walters

Painting is a physical and decisive act: a mark initiating a world, forcing a form into existence, drawing ephemeral fragments from the imagination into physical being. Paint builds – it structures and shapes, leaving a pigment deposit on paper and canvas; allowing formless things to become concrete, drawing the invisible into perceivable being. But this is not what we encounter in Kate Walters’ Shetland watercolours. These are not paintings that build form, but vehicles through which we are pulled into formlessness; encounters with the ephemeral rather than the physical, a breath of pigment deposited onto paper that suggests figures and forms without defining their solid presence. Figures float into being, still tethered into the void, their weightless form a hesitant proposition. The origin of these tentative creatures was a dream granted to Walters when she was recently staying on Shetland; a vision of her foetal form cast adrift in a disembodied uterus, its unbounded body free of physical constraints, floating in interconnected communion with the universe. It is perhaps unsurprising that such a dream should have come on Shetland, a thin space where physical boundaries are dissolved in the constant ebb and flow that blends sea and shore in a swirling, unresolved flux. As she watched seals blur the line between sea and air and terns draw soaring patterns in the air before plunging into crystalline waters, Walters herself became a shamanic hollow bone, a conduit between the physical and immaterial realms. In her sketches she is seal, fulmar, tern and foetus, a boundary crosser, diving into a cosmic space before birth and after death where everything is held in unresolved, undifferentiated potential.   Revd. Dr. Richard Davey, September 2017


A Quiet Ecstasy “…a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body,” Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born

These images by Kate Walters are immediately arresting in their simplicity and power. They seem to float, as if still in amniotic suspension – the world imbued with the infinite potential of new life. In these moments of metamorphic meeting, forms bond with the inevitable abandon of cells.

In these watercolours, they come into being by means of a felicitous emergence through technique of genuinely deep meaning; that is, the flow of the paint is as much followed as directed, the image a result of fluid, of absorption, of tension and viscosity, observed until the moment of birth, then gently held.

At this level, the interconnectedness of living beings appears as a given, clear, a matter of course. Procreation through the meeting of bodies is touching in all senses, and worlds away from the baggage with which struggling humanity weighs it down. I would call it innocence, except that it is deeply knowing. Perhaps this wisdom is the innocence of the fully grown, like Baudelaire’s willed return to childhood through desire.

Time in these works is thus quite other than linear or even cyclical. It just is. I find that when I have been looking at them, they resolve into a simultaneous continuity, such as occurs in dreams, rather than a sequence. They are all one.

Sanguine would seem to be their only possible colour, and white space the only possible ground; the colours of blood. And sunrise.    Professor Penny Florence, September 2017

Tiger's Eye Hands KW   Infant with spirit KW


Julia Maddison

A thigh meshed in nylon, a pair of red curtains bleeding light, a coat hanger behind a door. Julia Maddison’s work is so elegantly explicit in a fine balance that draws on objects and images that may sit or stand or lie in plain sight, but pierce the skin and twist the root just where purity and sin bargain for sanity.

Across the landing, through the door float memories scattered and scrawled, the wardrobe ajar, streetlight through lace spattering the wall. In the curious elipse the artist has sliced in the fabric of time and place, where recollections the work drew to the surface were not necessarily beyond my control, my anger was both a pleasure to admit and a relief to have done with. Turn a corner, seeping light from watered bulbs, shadows bloom Infirmary red, the blossom of loss. Her lace, wire, cage, photographs, implements that desire a future are things arranged that suggest collective meaning, and though transitory, are solid history by which we negotiate the rumours that trouble our sleep. By which we study what is absent. By which we learn we can forget only what we know. Learn that we are not a property of pain, and that thought and memory are not the same. This space is a prism, of things as perhaps a directory of inner life, ferrying forms of feeling to and from the artists consciousness, they tell a story, different for you as for me, which though brand new, has waited decades to be told. Objects as gestures. An accordion of fear. Magical thinking is parallel to logical thinking, contemporaneous, both are true, these things contain the past and yet are projects for the future.

Julia’s objects and images unravel my minds technology, and deeper memories emerge. The patterns she presents are not obscure and obsolete, they are not discrete. The coat hanger has carried its histories of closet secrecy and traumatised darkness, and clothes as deceit and ruse, into the twenty first century on bent wire more pure and elegant than an algorithm, jangling automatically in the night, the very thought of which, cold against the skin, weaponised with spite, the data file cannot begin to fortell or describe. This domain of simple things contains the complex possibility that we harbour forms that are not our own; fragments, scruples, traits, both personal and cultural, historic and mythological, that appear and disappear through generations, in gestures and contradictions that govern our lives and bring us inexplicable anxiety.

Julia Maddison’s work is a drawing together of the threads and shapes that have found form through her accrued materials and ontologial indices. Her shaping of thought configures a lexicon where each thing in turn, each object, stitch, each shade, of colour or memory is a cipher too, a lantern shaft onto latent carried truths. By no means a grimoire, Maddison takes the needle of her artists eye and runs it through a series of familiar satellites and captured memories past and present, and weaves them into a tangible wraithe of time that might otherwise have slipped through our fingers, and which we may crumble to dust should we desire.    Julian Firth, September 2017

Link to Herrick Gallery for further images including those by Julia Maddison:

Comments on the exhibition by Julian Firth:

MOST LOVED MOST FAR. Herrick Gallery 93 Piccadilly, W1. With Julia Maddison and Kate Walters.
The Herrick Gallery is a two floor walk in, on street level, naturally-lit and cube smooth, and below stairs, rendered and subterranean, shadows of pedestrians flickering through the tiny misted skylight The gallery is home presently to two very separate strands of thought visible as form. Above, a flock of eloquent watercolours move around the walls baring a disparate series of shapes, female, baby, horse wing delta, vessel, except that if instead of imposing my intent I allow them into my thinkingness, the flock murmurate and form a whole within, and I am embraced and held, by feathers and blood, by my birth, by my anxiety, by the loss of being at all, by all these things – Kate Walters images are the compound of dreams, of thoughts before they are lost as words, but they are one, as much as they are many. So too, should you decide to descend into the pools of light that brighten the space downstairs. Installations can be grim and directive but here Julia has chosen with delicate intimacy a number of signs and shapes and shadows left to describe and form the trauma of bereavement into a series of remains held into the light, to question and still celebrate, not in an archive, but in a series of recreated momentos that while asking herself and us about birth and home and mother and love, also affirm that these elements are of her, are contained and therefore do not define or deny her determination. Both artists present work in a series of separate pieces that are also whole states of mind, and these two in turn weave around one another, above and below, but go slow, go slow, allow them in, this construction has a consciousness that it will not reveal to those in a rush. On until October 28th.



Studio sale! October 13th and 14th. Noon – 5 pm.

I’ve decided to have a studio sale to make space for new work. I’ve cleared out my plans chest at home so there are lots of drawings, many wrapped unframed drawings and monotypes, catalogues and cards, and some unframed paintings too.

There are also some framed works which I love but which I have had around for me too long – and they need to go out into the world!

Works made on Iona, with Marc Almond (for his album Velvet Trail), and work inspired by travels in Italy will be for sale, as well as many experimental pieces. I’m also going to sell some of my many art books.

My studio is no. 6, Trewarveneth Studios, Trewarveneth Street, Newlyn, TR18 5JQ. It’s best to park near Newlyn Harbour and walk up from there.

I’ll be opening from noon – 5 pm on both Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October, with prompt closing times. I’ll also be open on Thursday 12th from 2 – 5 if the other days are not suitable. Or by appointment – message me on Facebook or Instagram.

Hope to see you!

Mountain horse sleeping Kate Walters watercolour 2016



Near Sumburgh towards Horse Island  Clarity East Voe

Here are a few extracts from notes I made whilst on Shetland. The rest of my writing and some of the watercolours/studies will be gathered together into an exhibition and new book – Shetland Notebooks – to be launched in 2019. Details to follow!

Horse Island

Heathery air. Circle of green on a grey-mauve hill flank. Simple. Lovely. Clouds like so many bird kisses resting on the hill tops. Lime green clumps of clover along the way and pale green breath gathered at the yoke, the node of serpentine shoulders.  Sheep mothers pretending to be deer with their shorn coats and brown skins. Climbing over the black rocks to Horse Island my balance improves. I share the air with fulmars and terns, they traverse an airy valley of thermals I cannot see, but sit alongside, in my seat of blasting sun-struck rock.

Approaching St. Ninian's Isle   From St. Ninian's Isle

Tirrick wing

Clouds like wing of tirrick, white dots on rock tirrick bodies folded for a moment until they rise like tree flowers falling. As if borne by some celestial cord the birds open themselves to the air, and trust. Through a bird’s eye a glimpse of worlds beyond stars.

Wave of sea-goddess hair lifting across rocks with a gasp, a sigh. I walk along the empty beach, sand white and soft; I gather feathers which have grown out of your body, tern-tirrick or shag; a flight feather which pointed east as you stood out there on the black rocks, drying your wings. Sea body broken by tirrick lance, blood red spear on tiny face all focus. My body broken by the driving cut of red words and empty hands, my own unworthiness. My work a migrating bird.

Working on St. Ninian's Isle    Whale Skull Sumburgh

Undressing after Shetland

The night I return from Shetland: when I undress, my clothes smell of birds, the chalky perfume of feathers. I am still there.

Skull with Birth Canal    Head wings with listening creature (Shetland). Watercolour

Animal baby KW 2017 small file    both pregant with themselves KW 2017 small file

Child on a promontory KW small file 2017   Balancing baby KW small file 2017

News! Poetry workshop, courses….

During the coming week I will be teaching a workshop to a group of poets – the Indian King Poets, a group of poets who meet regularly in Camelford, most of whom are published in the small presses, and some of whom have won national poetry awards (Mslexia, the Plough, Hippocrates).  We will work with the breath, the body, wild places, sound and the poetry of indigenous poets to help us access deeper ways of working with words and drawing…
Later in the autumn this year I hope to teach a workshop in Yorkshire at Lund Studios…the date below will change slightly…

This October we’ll be hosting a course exploring techniques to aid and develop creative and visionary processes, from a leading name in this field…

Kate Walters:
Body memory, body awareness  and
the awareness of the Land

19/20/21st October 2017

During this three day course Kate will guide students on a journey to discover participants’ own inner responses using techniques such as drawing with the breath, working with the drum and shamanic walking. Spending some time in silence students will be able to use words and images to explore the subtle matrix of life, which will include refining and developing feelings about the natural world.

Surfaces will be prepared with a range of mediums including gesso and size. Drawing onto a range of different surfaces to give marks a beautiful quality which will be exploited and developed through employing layers of ink, watercolour, gum Arabic, charcoal and pencil.

Working on the more forgiving surface of paper with traditional inks, watercolour and gesso will allow rubbing back, giving drawings much more scope for flexibility and invention in response to stimuli.

This course will include an illustrated talk by Kate on her work and methods and plenty of individual attention. (note – due to the nature of the course places will be limited – don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in joining us for what will be a memorable three days…)

To find out more, visit

Next year I hope to deliver a workshop in Exmoor, in April 20th – 24th, at Shorland Old Farm ( ) . This course will involve walking and working outside as well as in the studio: Details on the website…

Walking, writing and drawing the Land: Body as Sensing Organ: 20th – 24th April

A course for those who enjoy responding with words and drawings to wild places.

Head wings with listening creature (Shetland). Watercolour


Tremenheere Gardens in June – hot, dazzling; and new works

‘hot violet in soul’ I’ve written in my notebook, alongside a drawing of greeny-gold wash and pink dots. We connect through fluids, through song, through the hands of men. I made a drawing of a babe hanging in a tree like a pendulous seed.

In my studio the babe turns away from us, the tree becomes an animal with a long tongue, which touches her back at the place the soul enters. I think of how the animal can breathe soul into us.

I visit the gardens again, on a very hot morning.

Cares and prayers and birds on my shoulders

their song falling like rain

Caves and Saints and cyclamen in forests walking the high paths where a sheep carried me in the dream. I rode the fleecy warmth; he carried me along the high pass. I looked down to see his feet carefully following the high narrow ridge, senses all a-quiver.

Then he slipped and fell and I was afraid, but he landed on his feet, on another narrow path just below, and he kept going. All was well.

Caves and cyclamen and Saints, you walk a high path to find them, the stony corners curl in, carve dreams from air and bee breath. A serpent sleeps beside the pool. The rainbow serpent slumbering in tree form. I walk over you, you drink slowly, no one can see.


As I sit in the Gardens I think of how being in gardens have awoken me throughout my life. Asleep, the garden touches and awakes you.

In Menton at the lovely Clos du Peyronnet I fell in love – with a garden. At dusk I would stand beside the Datura, enormous white trumpets hanging silkily in the violet shadows, perfuming air with seduction. Lunch beneath the groves on ancient stone tables; tree rats running overhead. The pools with kingfishers and terrapins, the lotus flowers in their immaculate glory, opening day after day, stirring me to another life. I would gather lemons and avocadoes, breathe in the hot delicious air, wish that each day would never end. I would sit for long hours in the garden and draw. William would bring me flowers, enormous lily-shaped bosomy wonders, with chunky purple stems. His rooms smelled of smoke, and olives and garlic. It was cool inside. Each morning he would rise at 6 am and spend time caring for his bulbs. I was entranced!


I find a place to hide at Tremenheere, away from the sun. It is behind a screen of giant fronds. I remember finding this spot for lunch many years ago when my boy was small and it was a hot day. I lie on the grass beneath the trees.

Does Heaven have whiskers and a soft belly, pink and nippled I ask my doggy companion…

Will I be able to lie on my back on the earth and see the spinnakers of trees, smell the brown earth, the green of new leaf? Is there sunshine there and how will my body feel? Being birthed to eternity…

Earth as this womb, wind womb, air soughing, boughs rubbing

The clouds go by. I do not speak. I give my wounds to trees. They take them. They become the body of the animal I pray to, with every hand of my body.

2 Kate Walters - Earth Child with empty hands. Watercolour and peat on gesso prepared paper 2017 18 x 18 cm    2 _  Our Lady of Deliverance Watercolour 2017 Kate Walters

1. All the Hands of the body pray- watercolour - 2017 -Kate Walters



Notes in May: memories of Outer Hebrides, a morning at Tremenheere

I gaze out the window to see white swelling sheets and pale lilies. Schubert’s song Winterreisse wraps my head, like the beauty of the natural world which wraps my head in dream.

Rain has washed the moss from the roof, little soft islands of green lie forlornly on the concrete path.

I remember

I sat on the dry white shore on North Lewis:

Hand receiving rain, rock brown pink

green gold grey

Hand receiving rain and the tininess of broken things

wind making sand ripples, a vertical tide.

Scooping up salt marsh grass the rising sea feels soft against my ankles, I bend and gather handfuls of water, spread them on my pages, melding water and pen, drawing and being here, standing in the surge of sea, and eagles are above, how grateful am I!

I draw a fish woman, hands growing from arms like feathers.

Sky earth soft flying some spirit birds raspy Raven put them there, blew away their dust, made it air

Notes like clouds

My hands believe

The roar of a distant wave breaking, a woman singing quietly

A bay ringed with song.

connecting at the root in red monotype     ghost monotype with pencil Connecting at the Root

Connecting at the Root.

Warm morning, damp morning, I walk through the dark valley at Tremenheere, feeling safe, safe, in amongst the trees’ whispering and the earth’s paws. To come to a wood and feel safe is a good feeling. I am reminded of woods from far away in my youth when at dusk I would feel them asking me to leave with insistence, with force. A young woman then, I had been afraid.

Today I find a tree fallen, captured by the arms of friends, and providing a horse memory; the long round trunk like the neck of some fabulous soil bound steed as I sit and gaze to a horizontal heaven. I ride side-saddle, the skirts are roots, beneath them the source of my story

Fallen Tree Tremenheere     Suntree

Sun Skirts Roots

The Iona Notebooks

I’m delighted to be able to announce that my book The Iona Notebooks is available now from the publisher, Guillemot Press.

Here is the link…

Woman of the Horses Watercolour with ink stick, 2016, Kate Walters, 35 x 45 cm approx for email   Orkney drawing


“Kate Walters is an artist rooted in a more shamanic, mystical tradition. She engages with place through dreams and visions, the flow and dribble and pour of paint and ink, the scratch of hesitant pen and pencil. Iona Notebooks (Guillemot, 2017) presents some of the work from her residency on Iona, living and working in the wild.

The beautifully presented full-colour book is accompanied by a set of postcards of land- and sea- scapes, bright and joyous, clear and forthright, whilst the work in the book is darker and stranger, accompanied by simple fragments of text, sometimes scratched into the work reproduced here. Deer and moose and horses and dogs and birds all cluster around the artist, sometimes literally depicted nesting on a figure’s head, elsewhere looming vaguely into dreamscapes, crimson and maroon emerging from layers of white. Both writing and painting are sensual and evocative, hermetic even, full of feeling and emotion, desires and a longing to commune with the earth and its inhabitants, both seen and unseen. It is engaging, disturbing and entrancing work.”   Rupert Loydell poet and director of Stride.

Full review   including other books about place here:

Extract from the review by Nicholas Usherwood in Galleries magazine, May 2017:

“on the edge of Bodmin moor, new (2016) independent publisher (poetry,art books, pamphlets) Guillemot Press and visionary artist-writer Kate Walters, comes to fruition this month with an exhibition – and publication – of the latter’s extraordinary ‘Iona Notebooks’. These come from some three periods of time working in her residency on this intensely sacred island; notebooks full of words set down with her eyes closed, drawings made in chapels at dusk, paintings and monotypes all creating a powerful sense of an artist ‘dreaming ‘her way through the landscape, both backwards and forwards in time, ancient and modern in the same breath’.”

Mountain horse sleeping Kate Walters watercolour 2016

Coming Rain   Hill over sea   Swan Cloud