I’m a Professional Artist specializing in Acrylic Paintings with more than 25 years of experience and I Illustrated several children’s books.
For me to become an artist was pretty easy. Colours, brushes, canvasses followed me all way round since early childhood as I’m coming from a Latvian artist family in several generations.
Participating in exhibitions since sweet sixteen, won several awards, the most important was opportunity to spend some time in Vienna City, Austria where I discovered F. Hundertwasser’s art which really inspired me. Other inspiring names in art for me are Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, and Pablo Picasso.
For the last seventeen years I’m living in Leeds City, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Beautiful scenery of Yorkshire widens my creativity, here is some kind mix of different natures, it’s like Italy, France, Spain and Latvia all in one.
In my paintings, I devote much attention to the play of colours, line and plot. I convey my vision of the world with colours and images, but the plot plays a special role. The paintings were created mainly during my travels. I try to perceive the world not only in my native Latvia, but also in other countries. Each painting has its own story. It tells about scenic mountains of Tuscany, the magic cathedrals of Italy. Perhaps, there are stories about Britain’s magical gardens or a cat that brings warmth and peace to home. A woman waiting for the love of her lifetime…
I wish to spread beauty in the world and to bring happiness to people through my paintings. I wish everyone looking at my paintings to feel the love I can give. Who knows, any person can share this love with others…
Hey Katrina! You started doing art at a young age, having exhibitions since sixteen and won several awards early on. Can you tell us more about how you’ve got inspired to pursue art?
My grandad was an artist and my mum as well is a well-known artist back home in Latvia. We have a very good Jānis Rozentāls Art High School in Latvia, where kids from age of 10 study art every day and all other subjects, like maths, languages, history, art history etc. You have to pass exams to get into this special art school and it is not easy. I went to this school and it was a brilliant experience and good education. After I finished it, I went on to study at the Art Academy of Latvia. It is a really good place to study as people from many countries including America are coming to study in this Academy, as they have a very classic approach towards art studies. I am so grateful I had this opportunity to be part of it. Big part of my love of art is my mum, as well. She was doing everything to help me understand how important it is to pursue your dreams in everything you do. Never give up and always be passionate about what You do. For me it was and always will be art. I have loved painting since I remember myself.
I find your art to be very unique and interesting. Tell us about your artwork style, subject matter, medium etc.
I choose acrylic as medium in my artwork. Part of it is because I do paint at home. Acrylic doesn’t have a specific odour and it’s drying quickly and I don’t need to wait forever till the paint is dry. When I was in art school, we had to start painting with watercolours, then about the age of 14 I think we had to use oil colours, and at age of 18 You could actually have a choice in which medium You will do Your paintings. I choose acrylic and I love it. There are so many different bright colours and modeling pastes and other interesting things you can do. I think I have my own style and it’s coming from traveling the world and living in different countries and thinking about life and what actually matters in life. In the best scenario I would love to do my art full time, but it is not an easy profession and we all have to pay bills. I do work full time as well and on my days off I always do painting. And because of it, I believe I have to paint what I want. Not what someone will want to expect from me. I am in art life like a little rebel. When I finally have my art time, I do whatever inspires me in that moment. City, landscape, animals, funny stuff or women falling in love. I can be anything I want to be and I believe that is a dream for every artist. And I believe good artists have to be versatile. Sometimes if something really bothers me in life, it does end up on my canvas. For example, when the UK left Europe I decided I had to do painting about it, at that point it really was hurting me to bits but I know I couldn’t change anything about it, I could only tell my side of story. I am a bit sarcastic sometimes and, in this painting “Disaster, Fantastic”, it did come across exactly like that. Of course, there is nothing really sad or very bad in a painting, it’s just my way of telling this story… life will be difficult for some time in the UK, I think. I was doing that painting for about 2 years as I was waiting for the actual exit from the EU and then Covid started and I even put some characters with masks in it. That was a painting with quite a bit of story to tell. But honestly all my paintings have a story.
What motivates you as an artist? Is it curiosity, the search for beauty or meaning? And is there a message you are trying to give with your art?
The biggest motivation is my day-to-day life. I want to escape it and I want to do what I love – full time painting, but I do understand I have to work very hard to get there. Life is grey sometimes with little bits of happiness, but as an artist I can make myself happy when I do my art. My mum was a big motivator in my art life, thanks to her I am where I am today. If I have a lazy day, I always remember my mums’ words when I was very young and just trying to get into the art world. She was always like: “C’mon Katrina You have to do some painting today, boyfriends can wait…”ha ha ha and I always listened to her even if she made me angry at that point. I always have some kind of message to the viewer, more or less it’s just to be happy. All my paintings are very colourful. Colour is my passion. I think people should have beautiful paintings on their walls at home where there is only one message” LOVE”.
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
I paint at home. I don’t have a studio and I believe it’s taken extra time from me to travel somewhere and my time for art is limited at the moment so I do cherish it. I actually never liked studios, so I need to be at home to do my artwork. I don’t like to pretend I am this posh artist who likes to get out of the house just to be by myself. I don’t have any rituals but I always start painting at around 6am, that is my time. Maybe for some people it’s a bit extreme but for me it’s happiness.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into a painting? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
As I was studying in art school, I very well know how good it is to have planning and composition etc, but after I finished Art Academy my approach starting and finishing painting changed as well. It is all in my head. Probably because I think about artwork a lot and then ideas just come to my mind. I practically know already at the starting point how it will look when I finish and what message I will give to viewers. Of course, composition is in my skin already ha ha ha, but it is just because of art school and that was my favourite subject at school. Composition, it is when You do artwork with a story. I probably have 4 stages of painting. The first is ideas, the second is drawing on canvas, then in the third stage comes colours and the last one is finishing details. Most of the time it is straight forward. There are times where something might not be as I dreamed but every artist has times like this. I believe artists can’t be like factories, everyone has to have chill time and recharge, otherwise nothing good will come out of it.
You say your biggest influences are Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, and Pablo Picasso. Could you tell us why, and how they influenced your art?
Yes, I had all these artists as inspiration and influencers, more or less it was because I was studying art history, but then at age 16 I went to Paris and I saw all of them in museums and it opened my eyes. Later on, in the Art Academy of Latvia, I won a scholarship to travel to Vienna City and stay for a month and do whatever I want there. And for the first time I saw Frederic Hundertwasser. He is a fantastic artist and my favourite of all time. His talent is just mesmerising, vibrant and his art is beautiful. It was the first time I ever cried in the museum and that’s how happy I was about his artwork. Just absolutely stunning.
What is the work you’ve done that you’re the most excited about?
I think the present moment is the most exciting, as I really love the paintings I create and I clearly understand what actually matters in life. Last year I created a painting about New York City, the painting was quite big in size and I was a bit worried about how this all will come together, but to my surprise, it went like a dream, I got so inspired by it, so I just continued this big city theme also this year and actually made a few sales including this painting which found a home in America.
How has your art evolved over the years?
I think my art flourished over the years. I do have more time to do painting or I try to find more time to do it. Passion for art helping as well. I changed subjects. Lately, I started to do lots of big cityscapes like New York, London, or Paris or views with a sea, like Positano, Amalfi, Venice or suddenly it could be some abstract style of painting. In the early stages of my art career, everything was about Italy, now something has changed, I really fell in love with New York, but maybe it’s because it is part of growing up and finally understanding what You want from life.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
People love my bright colours and my approach in life as it is in my paintings. They like to wake up in the morning with a beautiful sea view, somewhere in the Mediterranean or a bit of bright city rush on the wall. I always had a very positive response when people buy my art. They say painting looks better in live rather than online after they purchased it on some online art platform or through my website.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Everyone can easily approach me on Instagram @katrinaavotina or Facebook www.facebook.com/KatrinaAvotinaPaintings, also I have my own web page www.katrinaavotina.co.uk. Just write me a message and I will answer back as quickly as I can. I am an easy-going person and love being around people and chatting with them.
What’s next for you?
Well, I hope one day I will be doing artwork full time or opening an art gallery. I don’t think I could be a teacher as it is taking too much energy, but I could sell art, especially interesting and bright one! But yes, I honestly don’t have any idea what life will bring next. I think what we all need right now is PEACE and lots of positivity. It’s been a very hard past 2 years for most people all over the world.