September 16, 2018

Tea and Cake with Gracie featuring Katrina Koltes

By Gracie Howle  |   in artist interviews  | Tags: katrina koltes , giveaway , Tea & Cake with Gracie  

Hello Friends! Welcome to a series we run on the blog called: Tea & Cake with Gracie :) Gracie interviews inspiring artists and posts the interviews (including some free offers not published elsewhere before) here on the blog. I love to create art and bring amazing artists & people together in my classes, in person and on social media. I want to help bring more exposure to some of the amazing artists out there! Today Gracie’s interviewing Katrina Koltes. Katrina’s giving away a spot on her wonderful new online class ‘Whispers of Nature‘! :) Make sure you check out Katrina’s class giveaway, free downloadable print and video tutorial below! Tam xoxo

Read previous Tea and Cake with Gracie Artist Interviews by clicking on artist’s name:
Micki Wilde | Roben-Marie SmithJeanne-Marie Webb | Kathy GlynnDonna Mulholland | Wendy Brightbill | Whitney Freya | Violette Clark | Melissa Dinwiddie | Tascha Parkinson | Susana Tavares | Lynn Whipple | Karine Bossé | Jenny Grant | France Papillon | Jenny Wentworth | Kristin Dudish | Rachael Rice | Angela Kennedy (Pennystamper) | Andrea Gomoll |

Hello friends :) Summer is beginning to ‘close’ here and, with Autumn on it’s way, Tea and Cake while cosy indoors is a must yes?! ;) Today I am interviewing the gorgeous Katrina Koltes! I love Katrina’s magical work, so beautiful! :) Make sure you check out Katrina’s class giveaway, free downloadable print and video tutorial below! Much love, Gracie x

1. Welcome Katrina! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I am an artist, mom, nature-lover and online teacher. I love to create from my visions, dreams, and be inspired by nature. When I’m not busy creating or teaching I am taking care of my two boys. They both share my love for nature and art, and I always take them with me on my hikes. My 7 yr old often joins me at my art table, while my baby often sits on my lap as I paint…He likes to dip his hands in the paint, lol!

I grew up in a very artistic family. We were constantly travelling and did full-time relief work, mostly in south east Asia. Me and my brothers and sisters (we are 8 kids!) often joined in painting murals or doing art programs for kids in hospitals, handicap centers, orphanages, and rehabs.

It was a very different childhood than most, rich with experience but often difficult, and having to adapt to change, and getting by with very little. it sure had a big impact on my art later on, growing my love for fantasy, fairy-tale and story art we often shared with those kids, and later, my own kids as well.

As a young teenager I wanted to venture on my own, so I came to Italy, where I’ve now been living for over 16 years. I was instantly won over. The artistic culture, cheerful people, and “Joie de vivre” was just what I needed at the time. I didn’t speak a word of Italian but learned it pretty quickly. (This country has a way of winning hearts!) And of course, when I met my now husband, I decided to stay on. :)

About a year ago I finally left my day job and took the leap to become a full time artist. I decided to follow my long-time dream, against all odds, and I’m so thankful I did! :) I started selling my art in auctions online, and creating online classes as well. I had no idea how to go about it all, (Computer has never been my forte) So I studied up all I could, between sheer frustration, determination, and long hours of work, I finally started to understand a little… and can never stop learning!

I felt I was naturally drawn to teach as I had, in a way given art classes to kids growing up, but this was a little different. I had always been camera shy, so that was a big challenge! But I found I really love to share my knowledge and connect with others in this way, and I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love!

Katrina Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone for joining in the giveaway, we loved reading your lovely comments! The randomly drawn winner is:
Michelle Spain Tyler
who said:

Congratulations on winning a spot on Katrina’s online class Whispers of Nature!

Here’s a bit about this wonderful class from Katrina:

‘For as long as I remember I have been painting animals. So it seemed natural I would combine my love for animal guides with pastels. Since I was a kid, my very first artworks were animals in pastel. Later, my love for portraits grew as well so I couldn’t help but combine these three elements in this one exciting class!

I will be sharing both my soft pastel and oil pastel techniques, while we explore the animal spirit realm and how we can communicate and work with nature and our power animal guides… A real adventure into the wild!’

Katrina’s Freebie Offers!

Watch Katrina create this gorgeous piece in her video tutorial ‘A Healing Touch’ below:

Click the ‘play button’ to watch the video or click on the review link here: Review Link

Katrina’s also giving away this beautiful downloadable print! (Pls note this print is to use and share for personal use only. If reposting online or on social media, please include a reference link to Katrina’s site: Thank you). Download and print out the high resolution version by right-clicking on the image and choosing ‘save target as’ / ‘download linked file as’ or download from here: A special friendship downloadable print

Learn more about Katrina in the following interview:

2.​ You said on one of your Instagram posts: ‘Spending time in nature always makes me feel whole again and fills me with new inspirations for my art‘. Please can you talk to us a bit about that, how nature inspires your art and also any other ways you refill your ‘inspiration cup’ :)

Oh yes, whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed, (which can be pretty often with small kids, a business to run and home to look after) I take some time to “recharge” in nature. I feel that a walk in the forest (or even just the park when I can’t go far), can be amazingly restorative. It’s even scientifically proven that spending time in nature, forest, and walking among the trees not only reduces stress but also calms the mind, reduces blood pressure and prevents depression.

In fact, some years back when I was having a very stressful and difficult time in my life, both physically and mentally, I fell into depression. I was stuck in a huge creative block that had lasted years, doing a job that never left me time to be creative, and just sucked all the energy out of me. I was utterly miserable.

Then when I had a complete physical collapse I realized that it was time to do something before it was too late. I began to notice that if I spent a little time outside in nature daily, even just 30 minutes, I could relax and center in, listening to what my body and heart needed. Inspiration slowly started to come back and I started to create again. (I had gone through an art block of almost 20 years!) It was awkward and I felt like a child again, learning from scratch. I started to take online classes, soaking up all I could. I met with like-minded people and artists and started feeling inspired again. That was how it all began.

Now, whenever I am going through a creative block or just need some down time I go out into nature, maybe even take my shoes off and walk barefoot, and listen to the stillness, and the sounds of nature. And I stop to look at the little things. The color combinations, form and textures, take note of any animals I encounter.. And I take lots of pictures so I can have plenty of inspiration to take back with me to the studio! Sometimes me and the kids even create nature mandalas for other hikers to discover and enjoy :) Another way I like to fill my well is to meditate and dream journey. I also keep a dream journal by my bed, so that when I wake I can write down any dreams or impressions I had while I sleep. (A lot of my paintings are either from these dreams or meditative dream journeying.)

And many times before bed, my son asks me to invent stories and fairy-tales for him. His favorite are of animals that go on adventurous journeys, or mystical creatures like dragons and fairies… which you can see many become paintings eventually as well…

3. I’ve noticed you mostly create watercolour paintings, but you also create some gorgeous clay and other 3D objects, including dream catchers. Please tell us a bit about these other crafts and how you came to work with them.

I love working with many mediums, I can never get tired of creating! Watercolor, pastels and acrylics are my main mediums, but I’ve always enjoyed crafting and creating 3D objects as well, ever since I was little. Many of the relief projects I did with kids involved these type of creations. In fact, I have a whole collection of shells, buttons, felt, beads and feathers, and rocks for painting, (much to my son’s delight, lol)! And I especially have a passion for clay. Since I was little I used to craft little figures out of modelling clay, sometimes making whole manger scenes or little angels to hang on our tree. And my 7 yr old shares this passion. Often, when we go on our walks we collect leaves, twigs, berries, bark, shells, rocks, and any other items we can use in our creations.

A couple months ago I had my first solo auction at the Heartful soul Collecitive (a monthly auction collective I am part of) and we prepared together a whole set of these nature bowls.. It was alot of fun! But I especially love to create figures with clay, animal totems and guides, and nature spirits. I feel that as I model them into figurines they seem to come to life and take on a personality of their own! I also love to collect and create dreamcatchers, I have them all around my home! Since I often paint my dreams I like to think that they hold a special part of that dream-web and inspire even more magical dreams, keeping them safe till they can be painted :)

4.​ Do you have any tips and tricks to share, that you use for creative block or when you’re stuck or creatively blocked?

Oh yes, this happens to all of us! I think one good way, at least for me, is not think too much on it. If I keep thinking how I need to “get-out-of-this-creative-block” mindset then I find it works in the opposite direction.

The best way is to just be easy on myself. Sometimes we are so busy and full of  other preoccupations and things to do that we just don’t have the time to be creative. We think we are in a creative block but actually we just aren’t getting the time we need to get away from all the fuss and confusion to just get quiet enough with ourselves to be able to create. In these cases, when I finally find some time, even just 10-15 minutes in these crazy busy days, I might sketch or do something simple, even if I’m sitting on the beach while my kids are napping or playing in the sand. Or I might just throw some paint around, without expectations. That’s also when crafting comes in handy. I find that sometimes when I switch to clay or something simple I can make with the kids, it takes the pressure off and most of the time opens that door to creativity and inspiration! But most of all, don’t rush it. I find that inspiration will find us once we get quiet and are willing and open. (we just need to make sure we take that time to get still and quiet, and listen!)

5. What’s on your art table right now?

I was working on my easel today, which I often do when using acrylics on canvas. This painting started from a simple sketch I did on one of those days hard pressed for time. I took about ten minutes that day to create, and later decided to make a painting out of it. That’s the fun about sketching, sometimes they elaborate into ideas for future paintings, or sometimes they remain as such, a sketch. (I let them decide!). I don’t have a very big workspace, it’s actually just an angle of our living/dining room open space, but it’s my favorite place in the world. :)

Thank you Katrina for sharing and being here with us!

Find more about Katrina Koltes on her website:

or through the links:


Want to learn from Katrina?! Katrina is teaching on Life Book 2018!

Come and join us on LIFE BOOK 2018! :)

Life Book, a celebration and honouring of YOU” is a year-long mixed media art class organised by Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts.

Tam is joined by 23 incredible art teachers who are all gearing up to share their mixed media techniques, tips and tricks with YOU! PLUS, Life Book 2018 includes 12 fantastic artists and wellness guides who will focus on additional personal development practices and other art modalities, like sculpting, photography & writing! Click HERE for your Life Book 2018 Awesomeness! ;)