Kate Bentley - Painting What She Sees
|Poppy, Oil on Canvas by Kate Bentley|
- Can you please share a little of your background? For example, where you are from and how your artwork ties into your culture or where you live.
I'm a country girl at heart, from the South-East of England. So I would say it's only natural that having grown up around animals and nature it would become the focus of my work.
- Which situations or experiences have helped you evolve as an artist? For example; what makes you who you are?
Art is in my blood. I'm something like 5th generation arts (that I know of) on one side of my family and the other side we're very creative too. I didn't stand a chance haha!
- Does your work carry a message? If it does not, then can you tell me why you make it?
My work doesn't really hold any hidden meaning, I paint what I see, in a way I like. There's a lot of pressure in the arts world culture to paint abstract or loose paintings, but mostly paintings with some hidden altruistic meaning, and a stigma to the more traditional or commercial style - with a suggestion that you're "selling out" if the latter is your thing. I really don't think meaning is required or that it's been the focus for many artists in history. I'd say money has guided most in their decisions, and just the need, the burning desire to create.
- Who are your biggest influences? Why?
I'm not sure that I consciously have any. I was the girl at school who would do anything to avoid the art project about copying a piece by another artist. And the ones where I had to show my thought process and preparation work. I've always been more about just getting on with it and painting what I want. I actually (practically) failed my art A'level. I got a D.
- Do you have a current project that you are working on?
Yes. At the moment I'm mostly working on dog portrait commissions. I have one on the easel at the moment.
- What has been your biggest challenge as an artist when it comes to your work and/or career?
So it took me the longest time to accept that being capable of producing work that's viewed as being "cute and cuddly" and a bit commercial doesn't make me any less of an artist. I even tried to change my style. Now I just accept it, life is in the details they say. And so it would seem is my work!
It's just the way I paint.
- Do you actively seek out opportunities or do you just go with the flow? Why? How is that working out for you?
I've done both, I actively seek them now because I focus on commission work - pet portraits. I use social media, and you still can't beat a simple poster on a dog walking route.
- Do you find it difficult to price your work? Why?
Pricing is so hard, because art and its value are so subjective. The only way to do it is to have a look around at your competitors and see what sort of prices they're working to and pitch yourself somewhere near. My top tip is that it's easier to start out lower and increase your price than start too high and find you have to drop them.
- Which pieces are you most proud of? Why?
Always the last one I made, because I learn something new and hone my technique with each one and that is incredibly valuable.
- How do you feel after completing a project?
Ready for the next one. And probably a bit tired too.
- How has art changed or challenged your life?
Art has shaped my life, it's made me the person I am today. I'm not sure what sort of person I would have become without it. More frustrated perhaps?
You can find more information about Kate and her recent projects and paintings on her Facebook Fan page: Kate J. Bentley - A Rural Canvas