Kathryn Scaldwell-Culf Tells Us About God, Her Illustrative Artwork and Her Inner Hippy!
Inspired by her faith in God and bright, bold colours, artist/illustrator, Kathryn Scaldwell-Culf has a passion for drawing and painting imaginative fantasy characters with 'fantastical...long bodies'. She tells us why 'the home' is a constant theme in her art work and why the home and God have a strong link in her mind and why she wants to inspire people with her artwork. And why her work is perfect for the world of children's book illustration.
(PICTURES: KATHRYN SCALDWELL-CULF, VARIOUS PIECES OF KATHRYN'S ART)
Kathryn you are an artist - but how would you describe yourself? An artist? A painter? Do you like to create other things too?
I would describe myself as an Artist/ Illustrator. Oil painting is my main medium although I do enjoy creating other things too. There’s probably not a moment in the day when my fingers aren’t twitching to draw, or turn a piece of newspaper into a model bird.
I teach an Art Club at a local Primary School and love to experiment with different mediums with the children. If there were more hours in the day, I would love to experiment more. I miss working in clay, which I haven’t done since college.
I have been painting for many years and as with most artists, it took me a while to figure out what my style was. I used to paint many different things; portraits, pets, landscapes etc. But it wasn’t until 2008, when I moved to Bath, that I found a particular style that I liked. I like bold bright colours and I love imaginative fantasy people. I like that the people I paint are strange and fantastical, with long bodies and unusual, beautiful clothes. I may not dress like a hippy artist, but I suppose my characters dress how I see myself in my head, or how I’d like to dress if I had the guts!
You have a particular style of painting - how would you describe it?
My paintings are very illustrative and stylised. The people I paint are simple, fantasy characters. I like curves and smooth lines in my paintings, and the characters are seen as artistic forms instead of life like creations, with long flowing limbs and clothes.
I also like bright bold colours, particularly red, green and blue. There is a distinctive colour pallet forming in my latest work. These colours make me happy, and brighten any room, and I hope others will feel the same way when they see my paintings. I want my work to encourage and inspire.
Your paintings have featured hearts and also homes/buildings - what fascinates you about the heart? And why do you love to capture it in your work?
The heart is the centre of everything, and perhaps that’s why I often paint homes on hearts, as the saying goes, 'The home is where the heart is'.
I have a passion to paint the heart of God and show the world who he is, and I also paint the various journeys the heart goes through. When I found my style of painting in 2008 I churned out painting after painting with encouraging messages for broken hearts. I had no idea what an impact they would have. Looking back now, I don’t think the quality of the paintings were very good, but the messages were very powerful, and that’s what touched people. I have found that people are searching for hope and I hope my Art will always bring this. I’d like to think that my artwork will be a talking point when hanging up in someone’s house and the message behind it will encourage and inspire.
You married recently (is it a year yet??). Has embarking on married life affected your art's style/content? and why?
Yes I married over a year ago, on the 21st May 2011. My husband has been a rock for me in supporting my artwork. He takes care of all the 'business' side of things so I can focus on painting. Without him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. My passion is to paint and sell my work, but painting a picture is just the beginning. It’s everything else, like websites/framing/prints/galleries etc that sell the work. It’s these things that can sometimes be overwhelming and test your determination. But you just have to keep going, and my husband is one of my biggest encouragers, along with my family, who have always supported and encouraged me in pursuing my dreams.
You are a Christian - does your faith influence your work?
My faith is the biggest influence on my artwork and most of my paintings have a significant meaning, often to do with the heart. And it’s my faith that keeps me going when the dream of being a Professional Artist seems too overwhelming and impossible to achieve.
I believe God has a plan for my life and I believe he has given me a gift. He is my greatest encourager and in those times when I feel like giving up, he pushes me on, and I trust my future is in his hands. And it’s because of his love, that I want to share his heart with the world and show people who he really is. Most of my paintings come from time spent with him.
When I was 19 I went to Toronto to attend the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Ministry School. It was an incredible experience and it was the start of a meaningful relationship with God, knowing him as my Father. Since then this relationship has grown deeper and deeper and it’s this relationship that I paint about. I want to share the different journeys I’ve been through, and hopefully others will be able to identify with my paintings and be encouraged, as others walk through the same journeys. It’s interesting that in the most difficult, painful times in my life, or the terrible things that I see happen around me in this world, I paint my best work. Everything is to do with the heart and every heart has its own story. This is why the heart features so much in my work. I paint the journey of the heart and the response of my loving Father God.
Have you had an exhibition at all recently? Please tell us about it if so?
The last exhibition I had was a year ago. Since then I have been working on some new paintings. I have been perfecting my style and improving the quality of my work. It is important to me that my work continues to develop and improve.
What are your hopes for the future - with your art/work?
I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. It’s a hard dream to have as the art world is a challenge to get into, but coming from a family of Artists I know it can be possible, even if it’s not easy. If you’re serious enough and determined enough, you can achieve what you are after and I also believe that God has a plan for my life and my art, and with him anything is possible.
The Art world is very tough and you have to face a lot of rejection. In the past I have walked in and out of several galleries who weren’t interested in my work, but I had to keep believing that one day someone would like what I do. Art is very subjective and you can’t take it personally when someone doesn’t like your work, even though that is very hard to do, as art is very personal to the artist, and so it can feel like you as a person is being criticized. But I think this is something that improves with age, and I know this doesn’t affect me like it did 10 years ago.I have been selling various pieces of artwork since I was 18, but it’s only in the last few years that I have seriously tried to establish myself as a Professional Artist and pursue this as my career. In the last year I have joined the SAA (The Society for All Artists), as a Gold Member. My latest work is on their website. My own website is currently being designed, and should be ready some time in October/November.
How would you like to develop your creativity?
I have many more images to paint. My sketchbook is full of quick sketches ready to be painted. And I have many more ideas still swirling around in my head. Hopefully the more I paint, the more my technique will continue to improve.
I have many other creative ideas I would like to pursue. All my time at the moment is spent on developing my paintings and establishing myself as a Professional Artist. I look forward to getting myself well established in the Art World, and am excited about the messages that my art brings.
If I had more time, I would love to use my creativity in many other areas. About six years ago I was trying to decide which creative path to go down. I love to sing and write songs and started to record some of them. But I also wanted to paint, and also wanted to write. I think I would have to live my life several times to achieve all the things I would like to do. But I decided to focus on my painting to begin with, and hopefully the other dreams will follow.
I know the next step, once my paintings have become more recognised, is to explore the possibility of illustrating children’s books. I have written and illustrated several children’s stories and would love to see them one day published.
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