Artist on File: Kathy Evershed
On a snowy morning in January I dropped in to talk to artist Kathy Evershed. I was attracted to her impressionist work during our Open Studios. Events had conspired against paying her a visit back in September, so I was very happy when Kathy agreed to my interview.
Kathy grew up in Japan and this experience surely inspired her creative life. As soon as I came into Kathy’s house I was greeted by the view of an enticing large canvas called ‘Silver Birches’ .
Talking to Kathy about the piece it becomes immediately apparent how a childhood spent in Japan informs her work; ‘I have never seen Autumn colours as incredible as those you see in Japan. Silver Birches are my favourite trees. This painting has come out brilliantly in my range of ltd edition prints.
I love her vividly colourful work called Cherry Blossom in a Japanese Garden. I instantaneously wanted to walk in to the painting and sit beneath the tree, drinking up the warm intensity of the scene.
It is part of a series of vibrant oil paintings called ‘Blonde in Japan’ . They are all painted on wood panels primed in black; ‘I really love this technique as the black background makes the colours really sing out.’ Kathy describes these paintings as; ‘A western impression of my eastern memories.’
Kathy’s Mum is Dutch and her father is from Cannock Chase in the Midlands; they worked in Japan as Missionaries, living on the north island of Hokkaido for 6 years. She attended the local Japanese nursery school and then boarding school, as her parents were travelling throughout northern Japan. At the age of 11, Kathy came back to England to attend boarding school in Cheltenham, which she loved. ‘My parents left Japan when I was 20, so for many years I would travel back there in the school holidays and Christmas. The brilliant colours of the country I saw as a youngster are imprinted on my mind. My work reflects these childhood impressions and my memories of the vibrant colours are intense and magnified’.
Originally Kathy aimed to work in the film industry making documentaries and took her degree in Anthropology and Ethnographic Film at University College London. ‘I love travelling and understanding other cultures. I visualised myself living with and researching remote tribes to document their customs on film. In the end I wound up making Music videos in London!’
As opportunities in the film industry proved too elusive Kathy decided to reassess and took an Art Foundation Course in Essex. ‘We were living there for about 2 years. I worked part time taking school photos of kids and my husband was teaching. It was during this time that I put my paintings in a local exhibition and sold them all, which was really amazing.’
There is more than a passing fancy for one particular colour ‘Blue is the reason I started painting....it's just the most incredible colour in the world!’ The way Kathy uses her favourite hue is gorgeous and I especially love three paintings called ‘Blue Lagoon’, ‘New Day Dawning’ and ‘Tracks’.
Shortly after this Kathy and Rupert moved to St Albans, Rupert’s childhood home. The move would herald a change of career for both of them as Kathy’s husband became a builder and Kathy became a full-time…Mother! With her three children now at school Kathy has been able to return to painting with renewed vigour and also enjoys running her small business.
Kathy founded her business ‘ArtShed’ a couple of years ago, running small after school Art classes for children aged 6-11. The sessions are run from a large log cabin at the end of her private garden and it is a beautiful place for kids to get inspired by nature and art. She now takes her classes into schools and runs Summer ‘Art’ camps for children.
‘I’ve been painting since I was 20, so it is wonderful to be able to dedicate my time to art, be it painting or encouraging budding young artists in my after school classes.’
During our conversation Kathy mentioned that she often likes to work from photographic images; ‘On several occasions I’ve been commissioned by clients to paint beaches and seascapes from a photo taken on their honeymoon.’
If you would like to commission a painting or see Kathy’s work please contact her via Facebook or on the numbers below.
The Artshed', 135 London Rd, St Albans AL1 1TA
Home: 01727 857357 / M: 07908 602972
by CLARE KENDAL BATE