Kathryn Furniss creates beautiful art works inspired by the natural world and her garden setting in her hometown of Nelson. We quizzed her to see what ignites her creativity.
Where did the transition between your paintings featuring native birds and your floral still life works come into play?
I loved painting NZ birds but just came to a time in my life where my kids were all grown up and I felt the need to push myself out of my comfort zone and to experiment with my work, changing my colour palette was the first step. The transition to florals was a conscious decision to try painting florals, it started with a lot of playing and experimenting which evolved into two different styles, one loose and abstract the other more stylised. They both felt unique to me.
Do you have a garden that you tend to and gain inspiration from with seasonal blooms?
The Garden is a constant inspiration, not always for the blooms but also the curves of the plaster walls. The patina on copper pots, aged lime wash colours and dappled light.
I am lucky to live in the house designed by my step mother who was an artist, the late Jane Evans. She was always way ahead of the times with her ideas and built a house and garden with a unique Mediterranean feel. We have recently landscaped part of the garden into a more useable space for our grandkids but have tried to keep the same quirky aesthetic using encaustic tiles, water-jet panels I designed and lots of Lavender, Rosemary and Olive trees.
You have collaborated with fellow artists (Martha Blanche Sidonie for example), do you find that your creativity is sparked by spending time around the artistic community of Nelson and beyond?
I actually started out wanting to be a potter and have huge respect for ceramic artists. I enjoyed incorporating some of these vessels into my paintings with permission from Martha Blanche Sidonie and Alice Bell Ceramics.
What does a regular day look like for you?
Coffee, breakfast and emails then into the studio by 9. I paint all day usually surrounded by loud music or a podcast. I finish around 4:30-5 when I go for a walk with friend and fellow artist Fiona Sutherland, we walk the bush track of the Centre of NZ or the Maitai River walkway. It’s a great way to wind down and get some fresh air. We talk about our day in the studio, what’s been working and what’s driving us nuts! it often results in new art ideas.
To view Kathryn's full collection of art works, click here