Moorland Views

Devon Today
Becky Moran enters the world of acclaimed Devon artist Katharine Lightfoot

Hostile, remote and unforgiving, the bleak Dartmoor landscape and its hardy inhabitants have been inspiring Katharine Lightfoot’s dramatic oil canvases for 10 years. Sheep, with their stubborn ability to survive the elements, their inquisitive natures and mad, uneasy stares, are the frequent subjects of her large paintings, alongside cattle, horses, ponies and dogs.

Katharine grew up in Salcombe, but spent her early years at Peter Tavy on the moor. Even at primary school, she knew she wanted to be an artist — her uncle, mother and older brother are all talented oil painters — and in 1995, she graduated from the University of Plymouth with a degree in fine art. But it wasn’t until she moved to Dartmoor in 1998 that she started painting full-time.

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The Eye Of The Kat

Art In Devon
Jack Paynter talks to Katharine Lightfoot

Katharine Lightfoot, ‘Kat’ to her friends, is the youngest of a veritable dynasty of artists: niece to painter John Lightfoot (now also based in Devon), younger sister to landscape painter James and daughter to Anna (who recently again took up the paint brush) - even her grandmother ‘dabbled in painting’.

Kat admits that her art school training moved her towards an individual style, while her westcountry upbringing inevitably influenced her choice of subject. Born in Launceton in 1972, she attended school in Kingsbridge and trained as an artist at Exeter College of Art, part of the University of Plymouth. While the college has a heritage of excellence and Kat was taught by some ‘fine lecturers’, she also found some frustrations: ‘There was an emphasis on installation work and computer-aided artwork, and these subjects were of less interest to me than fine art.’

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Brother and sister join artistic forces

Western Morning News

Like so many artists, Katharine Lightfoot was forced to subsidise her fine art income by working as a painter and decorator for a while, after graduating in Fine Art from Exeter College of Art and Design.

This has followed a brave move to hold an exhibition in Cork Street, London, in November 2002, which although a difficult decision at the time, has now proved to be the springboard they needed to launch their individual careers and both James and Katherine are now able to concentrate on painting full time, with enough commissions and ongoing exhibitions to keep them both afloat.

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