Katherine Cowtan, artist

Artist's Statement

I am passionate about colour.  Painting is a great excuse to mix and play with colours!  Wherever I go, I am always on the look-out for inspiration.  My love of walking and the countryside, the local hills and nearby Loch Lomond National Park, as well as my garden, provide rich sources for inspiration. 


For me painting is a direct way of sharing an experience. I aim to capture the quality of light, an impression of place, colour, texture, light and mood, and often a sense of journey along a path. The experience (like that of walking along a dappled woodland path) is often universal.  Through close attention to observation my paintings are a direct interpretation of what I see.


My training as a craftsperson and designer forms the basis for how I process and develop ideas and compositions.  Perhaps having started out as a weaver, I am often drawn to landscapes that have interesting textures, and find the colours arranged in horizontal stripes. 

After the limitations and discipline of weaving, I find painting is liberating as there is much more freedom to choose how much or how little detail and complexity to include. 

I enjoy the diversity of different media and use both water mixable oil paints and watercolours, using a combination of wet into wet and wet on dry techniques to build up layers, often adding other materials to build up depth of colour and texture.  I choose the style and medium that I think is best suited to explore and represent the subject.


I particularly enjoy exploring how to achieve a balance bertween contrasting elements within a composition - vitality v tranquillity, drama v calm, cool v warm shades, dark v light, sunshine v shadow, near v far, vertical v horizontal, complexity v simplicity, illusion v credibility, painterly mark making v an illusion of reality.


Recently I have enjoyed undertaking commissions, teaching at local art groups and running workshops from my own studio and at Culcreuch Castle where I am 'Artist in Residence'.  I enjoy talking about and sharing the process of developing a painting, and also enjoy talking about projects I worked on during my career as a textile designer.


Customer comments:

'Your weaving is beautiful and inspirational'

'the influence of your textile background is apparent in your work, as some of the paintings look like woven landscapes’

'I love the natural colours in your painting.  So many other modern painters use such harsh bright colours.'

'I really like the way you use colours to convey an atmosphere of the work.'

'I have to tell you I want to walk right into your paintings'

'When I am inspired by an artist's work in an exhibition, I see the world from a different perspective afterwards.  When I take my dog for a walk I now find myself noticing 'Katherine Cowtan' trees and paths that I would not have looked at twice before - I now see my familiar world afresh, as if through her eyes.'

'Your beautiful painting has a new home and we are beyond thrilled. I know it was a big gamble buying something sight unseen but it is even better than I imagined. The light on the lake is just special. Many thanks'

'Simple, evocative, lovely'

'With simplicity and clarity of colour and brush stroke you have captured the Fintry we love'

'You paint the ordinary, but it looks anything but ordinary'

'From a distance it looks like you have painted immaculate detail, but when you look close all you see is brush marks - the detail is an illusion'

'You have painted just enough detail for me to know exactly what it is I am looking at'

'Oh I LIKE these!'

'I can imagine taking my dog for a walk along that path, with him pulling on his lead'

‘I could stand in front of that (painting) all day and imagine standing there looking at that view’

‘we used to take the children there to paddle in the summertime’

‘I can imagine climbing / have climbed those hills’

‘I love the way you have captured the light’

'The dappled light on the path in that painting is so bright it makes me feel I need sun glasses, but that is exactly how it feels when you are in a place like that and the sun flickers through the leaves as you walk along'

‘Although this painting is really big, I feel very comfortable sitting right close to it, because I feel as though I am there, and want to walk right into it’

'The way you have painted the bog reminds me how it feels to be out in the rain with wet boots'

'I like the variety in your work'

'Your work sings'

'Light shines out of the paintings'

'Your work is breathtaking'

'I really, really like your style'

'When we have our own house, these are the kinds of paintings I would like to hang on the walls'

'I know where that is. I've been there. We go there every year'

'If we weren't in the process of downsizing I would buy one'

'I am blown away with your LOVELY paintings'

'Your paintings are so peaceful they would be very theraputic on the walls of a hospital waiting room.'

'very lyrical'

'I was happy to stumble online across your painting of Sunny Steps, on Inchailloch, Loch Lomond. Happy because, I was part of a group of National Conservation Corps volunteers who installed steps and walkways made of railroad sleepers all the way to the top of the island. That was way back in the summer of 1974 when I was a wee lad of 16. Thanks for the memory! (from Massachusetts USA)'