I’m thrilled to introduce to you the next artist in our Artist Interview series .. the lovely Kate Crane. Many of you would know Kate through her blog – The Kathryn Wheel – or may have done one of her Journal Soup online classes or possibly even seen her articles in some of the popular magazines.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi there, I’m Kate Crane. I live in a rural village in the north of England, UK, with my two lovely children and a very supportive husband. I originally trained as a musician and spent many years teaching music in schools but after having my own children I began to make more time for art. Gradually the art took over from the teaching job, and now I juggle the two! I adore messy mixed media art and have a particular passion for art journaling, and art for art’s sake.
How/when did you get interested in art?
I think I was always interested in art and making things in general. I have always drawn and doodled, and was taught to sew and knit at a very young age. As a skinny teenager when I couldn’t find any clothes to fit me, I used to get my sewing machine out and make my own! I still like to draw, knit, sew … and all sorts of other crafty things!
Can you remember one of the first things you drew/painted?
My mum can remember better than me. In fact she saved a drawing I drew for her when she was in hospital having my sister so I would be 22 months old at the time. It’s a bit wobbly and wonky but it’s clearly a person! She also tells me that I always loved paints, but that I used to paint everything black. As I got older I did a lot of art at school and had a very understanding art teacher who used to let us stay in the art room for ages after school and create and play to our heart’s content. I can remember doodling and drawing on every available book cover at school in a style very similar to what we now call zentangling!
What’s your favourite piece of work that you have created?
Usually my favourite piece of work will be one of my latest creations, but I also have a few favourite older art journal pages that I love. Sometimes it’s the space that I was in when I created the art that makes it my favourite, not always how it looks on the page.
Do you have a favourite artist?
Ooh, I have many favourite artists and I like to stalk them on the internet! Among my favourites are Dina Wakley and Mindy Lacefield. I find their loose and free style very inspiring. I generally like colourful, loose, messy art … it’s where I want to be with my own art.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
I never get tired of creating art because it always feels new. I love the learning journey – there is always more to learn. It’s fascinating to look back and see what I was creating a few years ago. I also love sharing what I do with others through teaching workshops and my on-line classes.
Do you like to have music playing while you create and if so, what kind of music do you listen to that inspires you?
I almost always have the radio on when I am creating. I like the mix of music, news and chat and I feel like it keeps me in touch with the outside world.
What is your favourite thing that you often include in your work? (e.g. faces, quotes, birds, etc)
Lately I am adding a lot of doodling in my art pages (inspired by the book Art Doodle Love by Dawn Sokol), sometimes as a feature and sometimes it gets buried in the backgrounds. The more you doodle and draw the more you realize that you have certain go-to symbols which make a regular appearance. I LOVE colour wheels and they often appear in my art, along with scallop shapes, leaves and anything circular. I taught myself how to draw whimsical style faces and have also been doing that more and more.
What are you doing when you’re not creating?
In real life I am a school teacher, although I am lucky enough to work part-time now to allow me to continue with all things arty. I currently teach a class of 8 and 9 year olds. I like to continue with my school teaching as it keeps my teaching skills sharp, and because also I love working with children. They amuse me no end; every day in the classroom has its funny moments.
What are your favourite products to use?
Acrylic paints are my all-time favourites. They are so forgiving to work with and allow me to build up multiple layers in my work. I love the fact that I can add texture, build up layers of colour, and bury text and images in the background. And if I don’t like what I’ve done I can just start over and paint over it!
I also love Portfolio oil pastels, and Polychromos coloured pencils by Faber Castell. My favourite journaling pens are the Faber Castell PITT pen, and the Signo Uniball in white. And I wouldn’t be without my Stabilo Aquarellable pencil.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words to share?
Don’t be scared to have a go at something new, and don’t be put off by getting something wrong. Failure is a key part of learning, and true learning takes place when you experiment and follow your instincts.
Where we can view your work? (e.g. website, blog, Facebook, etc)
I have a blog here:
And a facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/KateCraneTheKathrynWheel
I have been uploading my photos to Flickr for many years now so I have a large collection to view showing my progress over the years:
And I have an Etsy shop here:
Do you have any upcoming online classes where we can enjoy learning from you?
Most of my classes are held in the UK and I keep details of all of these on my blog here: http://thekathrynwheel.blogspot.co.uk/p/teaching-schedule.html
However I also have on-line classes which are hosted in a private group on Vimeo, details of which can be seen here: http://thekathrynwheel.blogspot.co.uk/p/journal-soup.html
And over the years I have filmed various DVDs which are available internationally, details of which can be seen here: http://thekathrynwheel.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-journaling-dvds.html
Thanks Kate for sharing your answers with us so we could get to know you a little better. xx