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Artist, Katie Thomas

Featuring on this issue’s front cover is work from UK expat & Northern Beaches local, Katie Thomas. We sat down with her to learn more about her craft.

Katie Thomas' painting of Longreef
Longreef by Katie Thomas

Interview with Katie Thomas

How long have you been living/working on the Northern Beaches?

I emigrated to Australia from the UK in December 2018. The first place we lived was in Dee Why. Fast forward to now and I couldn’t think of living anywhere other than the Northern Beaches.

What are some of your biggest artistic achievements over your career? How long has it spanned?

I picked up a paintbrush again when my daughter was born, so 13 years ago now. One of my biggest highlights has been meeting Prince Charles and Camilla with my artwork (now King and Queen) and curating an exhibition for them to visit in Wales, UK.

Others include having my first Solo exhibition at the Northern Beaches Gallery in April 2021. I honestly didn’t think anyone was going to turn up to the opening night as I didn’t know many people at the time. To my surprise, the exhibition was a huge success. Four of my artworks had sold before opening and the amount of people that came along to the event was so heartwarming. A room full of strangers have now become friends and regular collectors of my work and the exhibition went on to be a sell-out.

Fisherman's Beach by Katie Thomas
Fisherman's Beach by Katie Thomas

Also, curating an exhibition at The Curl Curl Creative Space last March which involved hanging 83 artworks by 29 local artists - the opening night was epic! And last year, organising the first Northern Beaches Gallery Art Prize. Again, bringing artists together and curating exhibitions is so rewarding. Helping artists have a place to show their artwork is one of my biggest achievements. Working with and being part of the Northern Beaches Gallery has helped me achieve this.

How did you start out as an artist?

I have always been artistic, taking all of the creative subjects in school. I went on to do a Diploma in Art and then a Degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. After Uni it took me 6 years to pick up a paintbrush again. Then I started selling artworks, cards and prints at local summer shows, Christmas fairs etc. 

I joined two artist collective-run shops and started selling regularly through them. And then we sold up and packed up our lives in the UK, moved to Australia with just 6 suitcases between 4 of us, to start all over again, from scratch.

What would be your top 3 tips for someone else looking to pick up a paintbrush?

  1. Create an area in your home where you can set up your paints. 

  2. Carve out time in your day to create.

  3. Paint and paint lots, and keep painting!

Do you paint from memory or from life? Is it difficult to set up to paint outside?

I paint from photographs. I take lots of pictures wherever I go. As a family, we are always visiting beaches and ocean pools on the Northern Beaches and around Sydney which is the main subject of my paintings. At the moment it is impossible for me to paint outside as I have a very busy toddler. I paint during nap times and that’s easier for me to do at home.

Katie Thomas' painting of an ocean pool
My Lane by Katie Thomas

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/projects?

Yes, we are very excited to be exhibiting again at the Curl Curl Creative Space this March as a group of Northern Beaches artists. The Exhibition is called “Stunning”, exploring the natural beauty of our surroundings. 

Then, we are teaming up with Head Above Water charity with an art exhibition in May to raise money and awareness of the Northern Beaches organisation.

Later in the year, the Jane Goodall Institute is having a fundraising exhibition at the Northern Beaches Gallery in July. But there are lots of group exhibitions throughout the year and maybe even a Solo towards the end of the year. Watch this space!

Name: Katie Thomas


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