Kate Hursthouse’s 18-year journey to becoming a full-time artist

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16 August 2022

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In March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Aotearoa, architect, designer, illustrator and mum Kate Hursthouse found herself in the same boat as many Kiwis – suddenly out of work. 

She turned to her first passion in life – painting – to find respite after the world seemingly turned upside down overnight. 

“It was entirely circumstantial – I had always wanted to pursue art as a career,” Kate says. “But the pandemic gave me a real push. Painting was the one thing that kept me calm during the lockdowns.” 

Now, two years later, she is a highly successful full-time artist who also teaches courses in art and creative business mentoring and is the host of the podcast The Creative Mother. She does all of this out of her home studio in Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland.

Kate says she “lived in the art department” when she was at school but was pushed to do a degree in architecture rather than follow her artistic passion. 

“I was told over and over again, ‘an arts degree won’t make you any money’,” she says. 

“Studying architecture was interesting, but I found working in the industry too dry and technical. It just wasn’t for me. So I did a degree in graphic design and illustration in Melbourne and established a new career. Never have all your eggs in one basket!”

Kate’s painting will be put up for auction via Trade Me on August 22 to raise money for Paint New Zealand Beautiful.

Since then, Kate hasn’t looked back or had a single regret when it comes to ditching the corporate world to go down the path of becoming a full-time artist. She still does graphic design for advertising clients and has illustrated a children’s book, A Kaleidoscope Of Butterflies & Other Collective Nouns, which was published in 2018 and became extremely popular – the title is now sold out everywhere. She has even created artworks that were gifted to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Māori King Kiingi Tūheitia.

Kate says her main creative inspiration is colour – she loves exploring it and seeing where it takes her in creating abstract art. 

“I find painting very calming – almost meditative,” she says. “At the moment I’m mainly creating abstract landscapes.”

When Kate was asked by Woman to be our featured Resene artist, she chose to create a landscape of a place she holds dear to her heart – Lake Taupo. 

“The painting is of the view across the lake looking at Tongariro,” she says. “Taupo is a special place for my family and I – we have our big family gatherings there. It is a place of calm for me, and the sunsets there are particularly beautiful. 

The Resene colours Kate used in her abstract painting of Lake Taupo.

“I love the huge range of colours Resene makes. My favourite at the moment is Resene Cornflower – a peachy pinky orange. I used Resene FX Paint Effects Medium to create the watercolour effect on the lake.

“I created this painting mostly from very strong, treasured memories of Lake Taupo. It was a really fun painting to do!”

Kate’s painting (pictured above) will be put up for auction via Trade Me on August 22 to raise money for Paint New Zealand Beautiful, supported by Resene, to help beautify our community with painting projects. 

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