WE ALL need a little magic in our lives and for many that is something that has to be translated or revealed, as in a film or a book. But for the lucky ones, magic is all around, to be experienced at any time.
Artist Kate Fensom is one of the lucky ones, seeing magic in something as ordinary as a stem of cow parsley or a field of horses. However, Kate, whose family home is at Northorpe, just outside of Bourne, is doubly blessed because she has the skills to share that experience with others through her paintings. Her work is full of fantasy and mysticism, touching on subjects such as grace, hope and peace, and her pictures are often accompanied by a little story that helps to explain the inspiration for that work.
People in south Lincolnshire have an opportunity to see Kate’s work at an exhibition at the Toft House Hotel this weekend, her seventh at Toft since 2003, and yet she says local people have not yet caught on to her paintings, which are mainly bought by fans who may have come across her work in Cyprus.
It was in Northern Cyprus that Kate sought escape and rest after what she calls “a spiritual epiphany” while at university. Kate had left Bourne Grammar School after GCSEs because she had the opportunity to compete in horse riding at national level for the British team, but then couldn’t get her life back on track. Eventually, while studying for her sociology degree, she experienced an enormous life-change.
Kate explains: “I am not a Christian and don’t have a strict faith, but I definitely have been working with the idea that there is a force greater than ourselves, and in my work I really like to focus on concepts of joy, faith and peace.”
Kate decided she wanted to stay in Cyprus and began painting alongside her job selling tickets for boat trips at the harbourside. From the start, Kate was driven as a painter by her feelings, and she says: “I had a spiritual message. I wanted to sing from the roof-tops about how my life had changed and how I felt liberated from my miseries, and that translates into the paintings.”
Her early work was large and abstract, filled with colour and light, inspired by her natural surroundings as well as her emotional state. When her first exhibition was held in Cyprus she recalls feeling that it was “a complete revelation that I was capable of mustering that kind of energy”. At her first exhibition in Toft in 2003, Kate sold all her paintings, and says: “I knew something good was happening. In my own way I was finding a way of sharing what I was experiencing in my life.”
When Kate met and later married graphic designer Max Dane, their home became Cyprus, although Kate and Max and their six-year-old daughter Lily spend three months of each year in the UK. It was Lily’s arrival that forced Kate to paint smaller, to fit around her more domestic life, and perhaps Lily contributes to the wonderful magic in Kate’s paintings too. Lily will be adding a touch of magic to the exhibition when she and her friends, in fairy costumes, hand around moon biscuits at the opening – the exhibition is open from 6pm to 11pm on Saturday and from 10am to 6pm on Sunday and everyone is welcome.