To me Kate is an incredible woman, an example of how there really is no such thing as too late. It’s all connected. She is inspirational and I loved listening to her story unfolded of how she became an artist only a few years ago.
Kate Thompson works as a fiber artist. Working with fabric and fiber to create abstract 3-dimensional forms was her focus for many years. She started painting full time in 2009 focusing on portrait/figure work painting in acrylics, watercolors and mixed media. Fractured Angels is the continuous thread throughout her work. Kate Thompson’s art parallels her spiritual journey as she identifies with the flawed, cracked and fractured human yearning for peace and fulfillment.
“The older I get the stronger the pull to explore and express this theme in my work. Along the way I discovered I loved teaching. I find the creative process so incredibly interesting. My energy lies in that process and to share that with others has been the most fulfilling role of my life. The spiritual nature of the creative process is something that I think about a lot. The idea of constant practicing of my craft along with allowing myself to let go in moments of creating is the key to authentic art.”
Tell me about spirituality being integrated with your work? Tell me the story of the Fractured Angelics:
My creative process is a direct reflection of my spiritual life. I can have a day of incredible flowing creativity. It is almost effortless and so joyful and I think to myself….”I figured it out, it is all going to come flowing out of me now”. I go to bed and wake up to another day in the studio and nothing goes right. I forget how to paint a face. The more I try and struggle, the worse it gets. What happened to that amazing flow?
What I realized is that my creativity, like my spiritual condition, is a day at a time. The discipline is to go to the studio everyday no matter how the work comes out.
The days I struggle, usually create a crack, that will eventually open me up to another level in my work….so I call myself a Fractured Angel and my work Fractured Angelics. There is a song by Leonard Cohen called Anthem and one of the lines in the song is “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” I found that so profound and so very true in my life. I never can rest on my laurels. I continue to be a student and will never stop growing and learning.
How has your experience as an artist changed you? How can or does this experience help others?
My experience as an artist has changed me by giving me hope. No matter what is going on in my life, I always have my creative practice to look forward to. It is such a gift to have this. I can look out the window of my studio and watch the light hit the trees in such a magical way that I can run outside and capture that in a photograph which can lead to creating art. Being an artist makes my senses open to incredible visual experiences. If I didn’t create in my life I would be deeply depressed. I know that about myself. It is a gift to me to keep me content and each day I am so humbled and grateful to have this in my life. This experience has helped others through my teaching. I love the part of art that is the practice as well as allowing the spirit and the muse to take over. It is quite a dance to concentrate on the practice, then get out of the way and allow the spirit to take over. It goes back and forth, back and forth and I watch my students go through the same thing. I love to help them navigate through the process and to appreciate the struggle. Also important is to know when to let go and just let it rip…such surprising images show up! It is pure magic!
What is pulling you forward? What is your motivation?
Learning is my motivation. I never stop learning how to create. My challenge is to come up with a body of work that has my signature and at the same time is new and fresh. So often I find work I love and then I look at the body of work and it all starts to look the same to me. I know many artists fall into the situation of producing what is selling and therefore not spending that time to experiment to make the work into something fresh each time. It is a hard thing to do, especially when your income comes from your art. I have to maintain that enthusiasm involved in creating and at the same time, not always ‘reinvent the wheel’. To take all my experience and practice while creating but allow myself to be open to inspiration . I have always been a cautious person and never thought big about my life. That changed for me a couple of years ago and through hard work and incredible focus I have created the most amazing life.
I started painting 5 years ago and was not very good at first. I just kept practicing and taking online classes and became better. I was not born an artist, I had to work very hard at the craft of art and eventually all my hard work paid off. Anyone can learn to paint and draw if you just put in the time.
How do you start you day? What is nourishing in your day?
I start my day with a cup of coffee and daily spiritual reading. I follow up with a 20 minute meditation. I then get dressed and go to my studio, catch up on emails and other social media. I am a pretty disciplined self employed artist. I treat my job as an artist like any other job by making sure I work in my studio 6-8 hours a day during the week on my classes and painting. Week ends are strictly for me with no other goal but to better my practice. What nourishes me during the day is good healthy meals and plenty of water. My studio has full windows on 3 walls overlooking my backyard. Now that it is spring I look forward to watching the birds come back to build their nests in one of our hanging plants as well as the porch light. I talk to them sometimes and sometimes they talk back. I love being a part of new family.
What have you placed in your nest(home) that comforts?
Things that bring you beauty. I have two Bengal cats that I just adore. My male was always very skittish and shy and over the years I have just loved him to death and he now sleeps in my arms every night. I am so glad that he finally feels safe! My patio in the back of our house is my comfy place. My boyfriend, John, is really the nester. He loves to decorate and build things, I am more of the bachelor but I really appreciate how he built this cozy patio right off of my studio with a really nice awning he built from scratch. We have a huge backyard and I get to watch all the activity with birds, rabbits and even deer. One day a little family of deer decided to hang out in our backyard. I love hanging out in my studio and John hung some nice lacey curtains which adds to my little Shabby Chic studio with my white xmas lights hung year round.
What are you saying a full bodied YES to?
Healthy living and exercise. I am 60 years old and have always been obsessed with fitness. I remember when I was very young thinking when I am 60 I will not worry about how I look and I can let myself go. It is true at 60 looks aren’t a priority but feeling good is! I joined a running group and I am now up to 12 miles…very slow 12 miles but none the less, it is a big giant YES!
What does being BRAVE look like these days? What does it feel like?
Being BRAVE is allowing myself to be comfortable and to become familiar with not knowing how things are going to turn out. I am a control and security freak or so I thought. I always felt like I needed everything planned out. I worked full time as a print designer in the apparel business for 20 years and worked at three different companies . Security was a big priority and I stayed in those situations much longer than I should. Moving across the country and losing all my connections forced me to start over. Being self -employed is scary, especially for someone like me. I can’t believe that I am making a living creating art and teaching. For someone who is shy and introverted, I find myself flying to new cities, meeting and teaching new people, accepting room and board from strangers and loving it. Before each trip, I always get nervous because so much can go wrong. Airports and flying can go very very wrong but I am up for the challenge. That is brave for me. I show up and live with the uncertainty.
What way of being is calling you? Who are you becoming? or How do you rise up in your fullness?
I am drawn to people that have a sense of grace and gratitude about them. To be able to quietly sip a cup of tea and savor that moment. I have a very addictive nature and tend to rush past these powerful moments waiting for the next shiny object to come my way. I practice meditation to get me in touch with staying in the moment and to feel enough. I get glimpses of myself being this way but still have my addictive default mode I fall back on. I believe that will continue to be present in my life and maybe it is not so bad. It is my drive but I believe the balance between the two is probably my sweet spot.
What do you want everyone to know?
Well, I am planning my first overseas workshop in Orvieto, Italy in the Fall of 2016. I can’t tell you what a big deal this is. I have never been to Italy but I know my soul yearns to experience this beautiful country. When I first started this journey of teaching/painting in 2010, I dreamed of having this lifestyle of teaching all over the world and painting being my day job
The last three years I started teaching, learned how to film and edit myself painting to create online classes on my website, as well as teaching live. Don’t ever underestimate yourself. I did for many years and therefore didn’t grow. You can find out all about my online classes on my website as well as workshops I do on location at fracturedangelics.com. I am also a part of 21 Secrets Journaling Spring 2015 online class. You can read all about that on my blog fracturedangelics.blogspot.com
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
To continue to connect with women all over the world with my teaching. I never had children and often felt I had nothing to contribute to the world. My teaching has given me this incredible purpose in life. That I can help another person by giving them a nudge to jump off and just see what happens. I never was taught how to teach and yet it feels so comfortable for me. I want to continue to travel all over the world and I think I will want to revisit Italy again and again!