Artist Profile: Beth Kaye
Beth Kaye is a Bristol-based painter whose small scale works convey a depth of intimacy and subtlety that belie their humble size. Drawing on her experience as a product and furniture photographer, Beth has an uncanny eye for details and the slightest touches that create an evocative mood. Her works are personal and yet so often the feelings they convey are universal - loneliness, domesticity, the traces people leave behind.
Beth Kaye. Image courtesy of the artist.
I was lucky enough to learn more about Beth's practice, her inspiration and influences, and where her work is headed next.
HM: Describe your process of art making.
BK: My process starts with an image - my phone, laptop and sketchbook are full of images that make me feel something. Many are images I've taken, but I also collect them from all over. I often work with a few images to create the mood or feeling I'm after, taking elements from each one and creating a scene. Until recently I've been working as a product and furniture photographer, which has no doubt influenced my choice of subject and love of cinematic imagery. Sometimes I'll stage a still life scene and photograph it, then work from there.
Once I know roughly what I'm aiming for I'll make sketches to establish a layout and move onto the painting. The paintings tend to come together quite slowly, they don't often just flow out of me. I'll gradually work up in thin layers, tweaking colours and adding shadows until it comes together.
I've actually just started a year long course at Newlyn School of Art, designed to specifically develop the artistic process, it's called Studio Practice. The first session was all about your surface and being in love with it before you even begin to think about painting it. I've been experimenting with natural gesso panels since, starting my process in the kitchen with glue and chalk, it feels great. I'm excited to see what comes of it.
Beth Kaye, Considering a Nap, oil on Canvas Board 12.5cm x 17.5cm (approx).
Image courtesy of the artist.
HM: What inspired you to create small scale paintings?
BK: I guess it was one of those artistic accidents / coming together of ideas and materials. I happened to pick up a couple of small canvas boards at an art shop's closing down sale and I’d been playing around with oils for a while. I created two little scenes from images I’d taken whilst travelling. Something about the scale drew me in. It’s like it makes the painting something to treasure and hold as well as to look at.
Even though I'm working on such a small scale I feel as though I can find so much space in the canvas. I also enjoy giving the illusion of depth and space to the scenes I create, recently I've been painting a lot of mirrors.
Beth Kaye, Red Sink, oil on canvas on board. 12.5cm x 17.5cm (approx
Image courtesy of the artist
HM: How would you describe your artistic style in 3 words?
HM: What do you hope your art does for people?
BK: I hope it makes people notice those little moments in their own lives, where time stops for a beat and maybe you see a beautiful bit of light hit something just right - notice life's small pleasures I suppose.
HM: What's next for you?
BK: I've got my next session at Newlyn coming up and I'm looking forward to seeing how my work develops over the next year. Then just painting as much as possible really, keep working at it and see where it takes me. I'd also love to arrange a residency, but that's TBC.
Images courtesy of the artist