What is the role of the artist’s canvas? Is it simply a surface upon which to paint or something more? For artist Kate Word, the canvas is a theater, a space where emotions, ideas, patterns, and shapes come together in a dance of color and light.
Kate’s paintings invite viewers to slow down and take in the details of the work, to find meaning in the shapes and colors. In a fast-paced world, her paintings offer a moment of stillness and reflection, a chance to connect with our own emotions and experiences.
Kate aspires to create artwork that captures the viewer’s imagination and sense of wonder. She wants her viewers to be intrigued by the mysteries of artmaking and entertained as they view her work up close. Kate believes all her work should come from a place of beauty, and she hopes viewers will experience a transformation when they encounter her artwork. Collectors have told Kate her paintings have a robust design and architectural sense, and she likes to think of them as the architecture of life, presenting a closely held tension between chaos and order.
Through her use of color, shape, and line, Kate seeks to create visually exciting and emotionally resonant paintings. She finds inspiration in modern architecture, nature, and textiles. Her work often reflects an interest in exploring the tension between the organic and the geometric, the spontaneous and the planned.
Kate’s paintings are often non-representational, consisting of geometric shapes that intersect and play off one another, often as abstract landscapes. These shapes are sometimes painted with repetitive marks and patterns, creating a sense of movement and interest in their variations. Hard edges contrast with softer, blended edges, and areas of control are juxtaposed with areas of artistic abandon.
Kate was born in north Texas, and when she was 8, her family moved to the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. She was a rebellious middle child and hated leaving her family and school chums. However, Kate was creative and enjoyed recognition. Her sister told her she colored well, even though her favorite crayons were black and brown, and art became solace.
During Public School Week, her parents visited her first-grade classroom to see what she had been doing. Kate waited for them to find her drawing, and from across the room, she heard, “she did that?” Her overstretched wiener dog with a Rudolph red nose garnered their surprise, and her first “show” was a success!
Kate’s love of art grew, and though she is mainly self-taught, she did study at Texas Woman’s University for a time. She focused on textiles and fibers, with a minor in painting. However, she didn’t complete her degree due to raising two children and running a weaving studio from home. Instead, she opted to move to Taos, New Mexico. With the advent of the internet, she has been able to study with teachers from all over the world, including New Zealand, Montana, and Santa Fe.
Kate’s studio is full of bright colors and creative energy. Her paintings are often large and full of intricate detail. She begins her paintings with a loose sketch or thumbnail, but for the most part, she starts intuitively. Even though she uses pre-primed canvas, she gessoes a couple of layers and creates rich surface layers from the beginning. She might embed collage materials at that time or imprint/carve circles shapes into the gesso with various mark-making tools. Depending on her desire for textures, she might use modeling or crackle paste.
After the first layers dry, she adds matte medium and allows that to dry before adding colors. In the early layers, she uses commercial stencils or cuts her own to establish patterned areas or large shapes that she knows may ultimately be covered. She also tends to alternate warm layers followed by cool and vice versa.
Kate’s work has evolved through a lot of trial and error, “with a focus on error,” she jokes. Kate believes principles of composition and technique are essential. Still, once she knows the rules or has the skills/knowledge of materials, she throws the guidelines away to have fun, especially in the early layers of her work. She’s learned that it’s ok to wreck her painting and confidently find it again.
Kate has devoted herself to giving back to the community and helping others. She has volunteered at a juvenile detention center, teaching art classes and doing spiritual mentoring. Kate also donated one of her paintings to raise money at a local human trafficking charity. These projects gratify Kate, as she knows that she is making a difference in the lives of others.
Kate has exhibited her work since 1996, showing work at prestigious galleries such as the Steidel Palm Beach Showroom, ADC Fine Art in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Art Center of Corpus Christi. In addition to her many exhibitions, she has also won numerous awards, including a Best of Show at the Art Center, the Career Coaching Award, and a repeated finalist at the annual Art Comes Alive international event sponsored by the Art Design Consultants in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kate’s artwork reflects her own life experiences and emotions. Through her use of color, shape, and line, Kate seeks to create visually exciting and emotionally resonant paintings. To see Kate’s work in person is to be transported to a world of beauty, mystery, and intrigue.
To view more of Kate’s work, visit https://kateword.com/