We catch up with Katie Simpson, an artist whose work speaks to the soul. Her paintings are a reflection of the everyday life. We immersed ourselves in her world through paint and colour…
When did you start painting and what inspired you to get started ?
Born in Kenya, I grew up in an artistic environment and started painting at a very early age. Always inspired by the vibrant colours of Africa. I did a three year classical training in figure and portrait painting and drawing from life in Florence, Italy ‘The City of Art’ learning a philosophy of seeing.
Briefly describe the nature of your art…
I use earth pigments and bright tribal colours, traditional oils and also love the freedom of watercolours, mixed media and texture.
You paint people and paint the wild. Do you have a favourite?
I enjoy the excitement of plein air painting in the African bush but I think there is something very special about painting a complete stranger from life. It’s a silent conversation between painter and sitter, where a simple human gesture tells a story. Trusting your eye to find the balance of accuracy and abstraction to capture the soul on canvas.
One must use a small mirror when painting a portrait for a ‘fresh eye’.. always! A Samburu Moran took my mirror to look at himself while I was painting him.. They are after all beautiful butterfly people. But, he was reluctant to give it back to me!
Some of the best moments you’ve had while painting?
I love it when my subjects get totally involved. Very curious friendly camels in Laikipia have tried to eat my easel and taste the paint. Please not the lead white.
How has painting influenced your travel experiences or perceptions about the places you visit?
I feel painting while traveling brings me closer to nature and I feel more connected to the environment around me.