Kathryn Matthews Painter - Shoreham-by-Sea, UK

Your art training has been in two countries, The Netherlands and the UK. Can you discuss the differences and how this shows in your work?

The Dutch are more open minded about art in general and painting is not as elitist as it is here in England. I had my first abstract painting classes in Holland which terrified me as I went there straight from A-level college in the UK which is all about painting as realistically as possible.

Your studio is in Shoreham-by-Sea. Can you share both your studio (inside) and explain the effect living by the sea has on your art?

My studio and my gallery are both virtually on the beach about 6 miles from each other. From both I have an incredible view of the sea and the south coast. It is ever changing. The beach outside my studio is quite wild with lots of beach flowers. From May – July, the beach is a wash of pinks, purples and blues. In the summer months I swim a lot which helps me focus on my work.


Discuss both the sea and colour in your work?

I am quite well known for my use of colour. I use very high quality oils with a high pigment ratio which I think is important to make my colours ‘sing’. Occassionally I treat myself to a certain blue which is prohibitively expensive but it looks incredible. My obsession with the sea began whilst studying at Rotterdam Art Academy. My studio overlooked the harbour and I became fascinated by the shapes and colours of the boats.


You work from, “Quick sketches”. Can you discuss the stages your work takes?

My sketches have become quicker since having children as they don’t let me sit still for long! However, the speed of the sketches mean that the lines are fluid and not overworked which I hope carries through onto my paintings.

You exhibit around the world, both solo and group shows. Can you expand on how this had developed over the past 20 years?

I began by doing all the big art fairs in London, selling the work myself until I got picked up by several agents and galleries who offered me exhibitions and gallery led art fairs in London / Dubai / Paris and New York. I’ve always worked very hard and it took a lot of perseverance in the early days to get my paintings out there.

The Wheel

How important has the internet become for your artistic career?

The internet has brought a whole new audience. I now have customers across the world seeing a painting on my website and having it shipped out across the globe. In fact I have quite a few customers in Melbourne who have done just that!

You have done several commissions in particular for P&O Cruises, can you expand on this?

This was really fun as the paintings were huge. There were lots of very specific guidelines though for example everything had to be certifiably fireproofed so I couldn’t paint on board as normal, I had to paint on a special canvas that is used in theatre set building!

How important is commission work to your career?

It is an essential part of my career but it can be quite nerve racking when you bring the client in for ‘the big reveal’! Thank goodness I have never yet had someone who didn’t love what I’d done but it can be terrifying!

Commission Piece

Discuss your thoughts on the importance of art in hospitals?

I spent some time in hospital a few years ago when my baby son needed heart surgery. It’s a difficult time for parents and so if in any way I can help make the time pass more easily, I am happy to do that. I remember once going to meet a consultant and the room looked dreadful with a half torn Mickey Mouse poster on the walls. It shouldn’t have been important but it did make me worry about the standard of the place.

You also present your work in the form of prints. Please discuss?

My paintings are not for everyone’s budget so I am glad to be able to offer a cheaper option if someone really likes my work. I do both signed Giclee prints and also limited edition handmade silk screen prints.

When did you first start using this medium?

I trained as a print maker at university.

Seagulls On The Rock

How do you decide which works become prints?

I choose the most popular paintings to turn into giclee prints. With screen prints it is completely different though. There is no original – The print is the original in its own right. It isn’t a copy of a painting.

How many do you have printed per Edition?

The screen prints have a maximum of around 75.


Can you discuss your involvement in the Two Kats and a Cow Gallery?

I set up Two Kats and a cow Gallery in 2001 with friends and fellow painters Katty McMurray and John Marshall. We’d all been painting on the seafront for a few years but felt like Brighton was lacking a good contemporary art gallery. We completely renovated it ourselves and built it up to be what is now a major gallery in the South and a popular venue on the Brighton Tourist trail.

Brighton Pier

Can you discuss your work, ‘Mevagissey Morning’?

Mevagissey morning was painted this year and sold almost as soon as I hung it. It all came together really well. Sometimes a painting just flows and everything worked with this one from the word go.

It is quite a large painting; 90 x 90 cm plus frame. Its oil on board.

I’m a huge fan of both Cornwall and the Cornish artists of the 2oth century. In particular the St Ives Group – Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton, Alfred Wallis.

Mevagissey Morning

In you 2014 Collection you have work from the Souk. Can you discuss both the place and the inspiration it has given you?

Entrance to the Souk


I took my boyfriend to Marakesh as a surprise 40th birthday present. He ended up suprising me by proposing to me whilst we were there so this painting has lovely memories for me. Morocco is so inspiring. The souks especially are such an explosion of colours – it’s a painting paradise.

The Hat Shop in the Souk

Contact details.



Kathryn Matthews, Shoreham-by-Sea, UK

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, September, 2014