How did your artistic journey start?
I started drawing as a child, mainly animals I loved and it grew into documenting the natural world around me in any form I could, after I left high school I knew art school would be the place for this to flourish. At Gray’s School of Art is where my real artistic journey began, now in my fourth year, I’ve learned so much and still feel that I have a long way to go.
How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
At the core of my work is the feeling of longing. This was present throughout my university career and I leaned into the feeling more in my third year, letting it create my work. The longing for nature comes from trying to find my place in the world, I feel homesick for places I’m unsure where or why. I approach my art as a love letter to my experiences with nature and life, it’s the only place I can be vulnerable.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
Everything I produce is very spontaneous and “in the moment”. I work very quickly, often using the same brush for a whole piece without realising. I work with oil, drawing out a landscape with a diluted colour and then going back over it with bold strokes to define. I try to work in thin layers when working on paper as I like how the colours push and pull with each other.
How has your practice changed over time?
I feel I have grown with my art style, it’s definitely changed over the years by evolving into something more honest and what I want rather than trying to please others or doing it for the sake of a school course. In the past year I’ve started to find myself and be secure in what my style is becoming and what I want to paint but it is still changing, which I find a real joy in!
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I surround myself with other creatives that inspire me to want to push myself, I also emerge myself back into nature to remind myself why I love it so much.
Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love?
A huge inspiration of mine is Hans Emmenegger, a Swiss landscape painter whose work explores how light falls on the land. Especially his piece ‘sunny meadow’ 1904, oil on canvas. Lately I have been inspired by Andrew Cranston because the way he approaches tone and colour.
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
Draw everyday! Even if it’s the simplest things, it helps keep art at the forefront of your mind and it becomes also to take your time with applying to art school, in my experience it isn’t something that should be rushed and I wish I knew myself better before going at 18 but it is great fun.
You can see more of Kayla’s work on Instagram @kspence_art
Our Winter Show, Warm Voices, runs at Six Foot Gallery until 9 January 2024.