Apart from being pleasant or intriguing to experience, art, when made with pure and sincere intentions, can be a powerful healer. Sometimes your soul is looking for something cheerful and inspiring, other times for a good laugh. In this case, I’ve found something calming, profound, and quietly encompassing.
Kathryn Stevens is a fine artist and painter, originally from Cornwall and currently based in Bristol. Having studied at Bath School of Art and Design, Stevens’ speciality is abstract painting, with her main medium being oil paint on canvas.
Stevens’ style is moody, expansive and replete with colour. She has been heavily inspired by skies and other components in natural landscapes, which seems inevitable, seeing as she is a native of a place that is the complete opposite of the more concrete jungle which she now calls home.
“Living in Bristol is great fun, but when you have spent your entire childhood living in [a] seaside town like St Ives, it’s never going to leave you,” says Stevens. Her paintings evoke recollections of “the ocean. The vastness. The elements. The memories. The family,” and it’s wonderful to see an artist so connected with her roots, to the point where she is the perfect conveyor of the very things she admires and finds comfort in.
There’s also a hint of a similarity with Georgia O’Keeffe, the way that Stevens juxtaposes light and dark colours, which creates an intense emotion in the viewer. What that emotion is, isn’t quite clear – that’s supposedly the abstract part of it – but understanding her coastal background, which instantly brings to mind images of crashing waves and gusty winds, reveals just why her work is so vivid and fraught with passion and force.
In 2017 and 2018 she collaborated with the Bristol Upholstery Collective on a couple of projects which saw her paintings printed on the fabric wrapped around chairs and seats. Stevens has also had her work featured in local news publications, such as The Oxford Times and Cornwall Live (previously The Cornishman), and exhibited at Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Artwave West, Krowji and 44AD.
There are occasions where you don’t fully recognise the exact emotion you are feeling, and it’s often unsettling because you don’t know what to do with it. Stevens’ paintings, the snapshot of a mood, are the next stage – the one where you reflect upon the emotion, get lost in the sheer weight of it, and later find that the journey has been tremendously cathartic.
To find out more about the artist’s work, prices, commissions and exhibitions, visit kathrynstevens.co.uk.
NOTE: The paintings included in this post are purely for display. Please contact the artist to find out which items are currently for sale.
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All photo credits (unless otherwise stated): Kathryn Stevens.