Anne Hudson explores how artist Kate Calder expresses the beauty of the country.
Kate Calder delights us with detailed drawings inspired by the beautiful countryside in which she lives. Be it a bird’s nest filled with eggs, a hare, a bee or dragonfly, her drawings are exquisite. Through detailed observation of her subject and careful composition Calder produces outstanding work.
She does not come from an art school background, but has studied under New Zealand artist Ben Woolcombe, and has spent time refining her own technique. Painting since high school, it was the four-year sojourn in the Mackenzie Country – with its unique colour and the grandeur of the landscape – that markedly influenced her work.
Often we ask or proclaim that anyone can learn to draw. Is it not a skill acquired with practice? To some extent this may be true. Certainly those with a trained eye and a knowledge of perspective can produce very accurate renditions, but is it art? There is plenty of debate on the source of talent, from DNA, 10,000 hours of practice, to reincarnation.
I think Calder comes from the school of natural talent. No doubt her upbringing, love of drawing and the hours she has applied herself to her craft have helped, but her work has a freshness and authenticity that a natural response to the subject can only be the source. There is artistic licence in her work and her own interpretation of the object.
She lives in the countryside, works in the countryside and is a keen observer of her surroundings. Calder uses the environment and her drawing to give us a glimpse of her life; she invites us to see things as she does. The hare, bee and dragonfly all have a special place in the environment fulfilling their own important role alongside us.
Calder now lives outside Waikari with her husband and three children. She maintained her interest in art while running a busy café-cum-gallery but had little time to paint then. Now she enjoys farming and painting on a regular basis. She has exhibited at the Merivale Fine Arts, the Augustine Gallery and Art In A Garden, as well as at other private exhibitions.
Calder is one of many countrywomen who, despite the hard work and sometimes isolation of their lifestyle, has found an added income and an added vocation, providing a source from which to enrich their own lives and that of their famil.
Her work would adorn any home, of any style, with confidence.