We Stumbled across Kate Shields whilst milling about in Brunswick Square at their mini fair last weekend and one particular illustration drew us towards her stand (see below). You can purchase this print from Kate’s shop page here.

Kate’s focus is on the human body. She is not only a keen Life drawer but also models and puts on classes herself.


Our favorite pieces are Kate’s Oil on wood portraits from her recent solo exhibition which she named ‘Friends & other animals’. She has been careful to choose interesting sitters, people with character and something about them.


We asked her a few questions about her work:

What is your history with art? When did you first realise it was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
I’ve always been creative, and worked in various jobs before moving to Brighton in 2009 to commit myself fully to working as an artist.

What is your favourite medium to work in?
Currently, conte pencils for drawing and oils for painting. I try new mediums fairly regularly but I’ll always go back to pencil and oils.

We particularly like your portraits in oils, how do you choose your subjects, and how long does one painting take to complete?
Portraiture is a real fascination of mine, and many of my recent portraits on wood were part of an exhibition I did last summer called ‘Friends and other animals.’
I am lucky to have always been surrounded by wonderful and exciting people from all walks of life, and so when it comes to choosing a subject, I’m usually spoiled for choice! I like to work from life as much as I can, so the time it takes to complete depends on how often and for how long I can sit with the subject.

As avid fans of the Moleskine ourselves we loved to see that you posted up all your life drawings and sketches. Is there a particular place you love to sit and draw or does your moleskine go everywhere with you?
I love Moleskines, I wish they’d sponsor me! I do indeed carry a sketchbook wherever I go. I draw from life up to 3 or 4 times a week, usually at private sessions in my home, and at Sussex County Arts Club, where I run a weekly session myself. I also draw people around me, on trains, buses, and at cabarets, gigs and in cafes to practice. Many of my larger works start from a small moleskine sketch, so my sketchbooks are very important to me.

We see from your website that you also do life modelling, what do you feel you gain from life drawing and modelling and how does it influence your work?
Life modelling has had a huge influence on my work and my life. Painting the figure, for me, is a collaboration between artist and model, so it makes perfect sense to me to experience both sides. The more I model, the better I can empathise and work with other artists, and the more I paint, the better a model I become.
I regularly collaborate with a group of other life models called Artists, Models, iNK, and our work together directly informs mine. The history of the life model in art is still fairly unexplored, with many colleges and institutions not recognising the importance of such a job, and the skill it requires, so I like to explore it within my work.

What are your goals for the future?
Short-term, I’d like to get exhibiting in Brighton more, as well as getting more work shown in London. I also have a couple of story-based projects in the making, and I’d like to get them out there soon.


Emilie & Jen

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