Three women intersect my life who approached their work with an admirable devotion and fastidiousness. The three women can all be found in Winchester,in the county of Hampshire, South England. The three English women (in order of birth), Jane Austen, my Godmother Joyce Harris, and Kate Harding, artist, sculptor, painter, lover of nature, animals, and Polo player, naturally.
No road in pursuit of happiness is an easy route. This I write a day after Martin Luther King Jr. day who’s words “I have a dream”, have been embraced by so many including the talented artist Kate Harding.
Here is the road traveled by the talented Kate Harding. (The videos in this story I shot of perhaps the best magical show I have seen Cavalia Odysseo).
Interview with artist Kate Harding.
1. When you were a little girl what did you want to be?
I grew up surrounded by dogs and horses, my Grandmother was a leading breeder of British Bulldogs and the family enjoyed racing success owning a Derby winner. I spent every spare minute reading and developing my knowledge of domestic animals. I really wanted to be a vet but unfortunately I did not have the numerical disposition required for Chemistry and this is an integral part of the studies unfortunately. I was born a vet in an artist’s body! Not entirely hopeless but a little challenging. So I studied as much as I could about the animals I loved, particularly horses, learned to care for them,ride them, paint them, and all the while typically of young ‘horsey’ girls, dream of riding for my country.
2. When did you want to become an artist and what was the inspiration?
It was always very clear to my teachers that I had an aptitude in Fine Art, and I was very lucky to have several inspirational mentors who encouraged me and gave me opportunities all the way through my school and University. From the outset classical, figurative representation has attracted me. A favorite book as I was growing up was the anatomical drawings of George Stubbs. I find these extraordinarily beautiful in there rendition working from these constantly and could spending many happy hours understanding how the muscles interlocked and how the limbs sprung along on tip toes. My family were not particularly supportive of my budding artistic career (or the desire to be Mary King) and still held high hopes that I would become the worlds first numerically dyslexic vet. So I began taking commissions in my teens as a way of supplementing my income during further education and in the early part of working adult life.
3. You have a love for polo and horses where did this come from?
Horses are an integral part of my identity, I started riding before I could walk. I am lucky to have ridden and competed and trained with horses and ponies in most disciplines now. Polo ponies though, are amazing equines and great to ride. I have always been aware of polo of course, but had exposure to it during my time at University and have taken it up in earnest once I graduated. I did think it might be reasonably easy to pick up bearing in mind I played hockey and ride. Not sure I still hold this sentiment though, however, the game is challenging and has the most extraordinary way of revealing further and further sets of complexities the more you learn. Its great for the mind, body and a highly addictive soul! I now share my life with five polo ponies all of differing abilities and can certainly say that my polo is enthusiastic and always improving!
4. Where do some of your creative ideas come from a photograph, a dream, etc.?
This is an very exciting time for me. I feel confident in having developed a strong painting style which has been predominately inspired by photography. I get inspiration from clients who would like me to paint them dynamically with their horses, describe the vibrant energy of how riding the horse at that moment may feel for the jockey riding at the time. Watching each person and horse and how they interact, understanding how they want to be perceived in the painting and adding my own perspective is an exciting process. I achieve this by working from a number of sources, observational drawing is essential but because of the speed the subject moves, a combination of video, photographic images, and sketches are ideal to develop the best composition.
5. Have you ever thought of putting art on T Shirts or creating your on line if clothing?
Yes, I have. I have designed motifs for ceramic and home-ware goods. I have been commissioned to develop tableware to be released this year.
6. What do you most enjoy about doing what you do?
I have a great life, it’s hard work and it stretches me. I love horses and meeting new people. I enjoy that everyday is different and I like being my own master, working all day as I need to and still having time for my horses.
7. How would you describe your studio space and it’s energy!
Peaceful and contemplative in the main. I have objects, images, drawing and developing pieces around me. My dog comes in to see me from time to time and the radio is always burbling along in the background. My bookcase and computer provide me with intellectual support. I have several desks acting as drawing, painting or sculptural work stations. There is a lot of ‘stuff’happening but I like to have a calm environment as I spend most of my time here.
8. If you had a magic wand like Merlin what would you use it for?
A client to say; ‘Kate, This is me, these are my horses and I want you to spend time observing my horses, their competitive activities with me and make a series of drawings, paintings and sculpture about us and what we do here!’ Oh yes, and that they can pay me to do it, so I may come home and spend time on developing the next phase of my work and play polo of course!
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