On a beautiful sunny day in May, I met Kirsti at her home in Groningen. Sitting in her garden drinking tea I was privy to her latest commissioned painting in progress. An enormous panel on an easel covered in flowering water lilies, painted in purples and gold.
Kirsti’s inspiration comes mainly from flowers and natural forms, which she abstracts and combines with vibrant colours, a confident use of brush stroke and realises using acrylic paint. The world of flowers offers endless possibilities as she feels that there are ‘… no real mistakes in nature and if there are they still look good.’ Generally nature compliments itself, in the case of the red and green of a strawberry, but if nature chooses to clash, then that works also and it doesn’t offend the eye. Kirsti gathers her inspiration via sketches and photography from life, which she later samples when starting each new painting.
British born, her love of art began with a Foundation Course in Art and Design, which led to an interest and her continuing her studies in photography, at university in Manchester. At the London Institute of Education she took a teacher training course. Teaching art for 10 years, she at one point ran a successful Art department at a large secondary school in Buckinghamshire. About her role as a teacher Kirsti says that ‘humour and patience are necessary in teaching…as often the teacher has a different idea as to the purpose of the class than the student’.
Apart from teaching Kirsti also wrote many comprehensive guides on teaching methods for Kelly Education Staffing, as well as having led workshops on teaching in London and Birmingham.
Although happy as a teacher, Kirsti found that she wanted more out of life than just sticking to the conventional route dictated by society that most people are happy to follow. So, she sold up leaving behind career, house and then partner and took off to Ecuador for 3 months. Here she joined a conservation project and The Red Cross. Once her joy for travelling had been awakened she decided to embark on an eight-month trip around the world on a world ticket. Amongst others, she visited Russia and Mongolia (where she experienced the Trans Mongolian railway) as well as Hong Kong, Japan, Easter Island Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. All the while collecting ideas and images to inspire her work and returned with over 2000 photos, which she still draws upon for inspiration.
She arrived in Groningen in 2007, as a result of having met her partner, Jos whilst travelling in New Zealand. Having gone through the initial culture shock (that everyone goes through), when the move to The Netherlands becomes a reality, Kirsti has since then found her footing and started up her own business Art in Attic. With Art in Attic she offers lessons in drawing and painting to small groups of up to seven people. Allowing her to give everyone the individual attention they require. These take place in the bright and airy spacious attic of her home. Keeping up with her own work, she has also recently taken part in the 16th Art Explosion in Assen, an annual event that enables both new and established artists to exhibit their work. At this she was awarded 2nd place, and was also mentioned in the DagBlad van het Noorden, a local newspaper for the north.
The new season of Art in Attic classes start 1st September 2008, although there are a few day-long workshops before then. Special events can also be planned upon request, eg. parent and toddler sessions.
Should you wish to see more of Kirsti’s work or enrol in one of her drawing or painting courses, you can contact her via her contact details below.
Website: Art in Attic