Inside the Studio: Kirsty Warman (New Zealand)


GWPimg_7991Kirsty Warman

Favorite material to work with?
I use a mixture of Matisse and Golden Acrylic paints. I enjoy in particular the fluid nature of the Golden Acrylics, and the drying time is perfect for one who has little patience for waiting. This is ironic, because my practice is all about waiting and the paint commanding a directive. Paint aside, I love a 0.01 black ink pen to doodle fine lines.

GWPimg_8000Kirsty at work on a painting.

What themes do you pursue?
I would describe my paintings as abstract figurative; one cannot be without the other. Although, how can they be abstract if there is a figural presence? I move paint continuously around the canvas until something that I like appears – it could be a line or a semblance of things. Although, it doesn’t end there – I destroy and rebuild/paint. I can say without hesitation every painting has a period of doubt and questioning.

How many years as an artist?
Seriously, as a visual artist, a mere four years. I have always been creative, but it has taken many years to arrive at this place. Besides, I would have had little to say any earlier.

GWPimg_7955Kirsty’s studio.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Be instinctual. Leave feedback at the door. Otherwise you can waste a day thinking too much.

Where is your studio?
My studio space is in a corner of my partner’s photographic studio. It’s in a lovely old building overlooking a small park.

GWPimg_7968Tools of the trade.

Art school or self-taught?
Since I was small, I have always tethered on the fringes of the creative. Finally, in 2009 I decided to apply to the ART School – I can remember thinking often that first year, this is where I am meant to be.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I certainly work better listening to music. If in silence, the noise in my head can be too much at times.

What’s around the corner from your place? 
Outside the studio, there are four art galleries, a great Cambodian restaurant, and a small park. Around the corner from home is the beach and cafes – happy days.

"Do me a Favour, Paint Me!" ($1,500)“Do me a Favour, Paint Me!” by Kirsty Warman

Where can we find you outside the studio?
The majority of the time taxiing my son to either tennis or football.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
A travel/lifestyle writer/photographer, or a product designer.

"Do Me a Favour, I am out of Change" ($650)“Do Me a Favour, I am out of Change” by Kirsty Warman

Day job?
Visual artist.

What do you collect?
From our last move, it appears I collect recipe books – I have many. Additionally, art/interior magazines. I had to force myself, after editing the number down, to recycle magazines dating back to when we were in London in the late 90s, early 2000s.

"Downtown" ($650)“Downtown” by Kirsten Warman

Favorite contemporary artist?
Gerhard Richter writings on doubt and uncertainty. Cecily Brown, discussion on her paintings in regard to abstraction and figuration. Aside from that, I love her paintings. I am fascinated with the works of Francis Bacon and Philip Guston.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, 1472-1475, housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

"To the Bazaar" ($1,300)“To the Bazaar” by Kirsten Warman

Use anything other than paint?
I use ink, and doodle most days. My doodles run parallel to my painting practice. The illustrations are normally fast manipulations on paper, whereas my paintings are a continual contest meshing the ground and the figure until the paint falls where it is destined.

Palette knifes?
I would be lost without my palette knife. It is in constant use moving the paint around the canvas – love it!!



  1. “Be instinctual”, completely agree. Great use of textures and really like the flowing lines.

  2. Vika Gankina says:

    You have very interesting and beautiful painting. I wish you continued success!

  3. Love the spontaneous nature of your paintings. Inventing and reinventing .

    Good art.

  4. Hi Andre, you mention spontaneity – inventing and reinventing. My paintings are continually destroyed and the paint built up repeatedly until there is a unconscious or spontaneous line to follow… Interestingly, I am consistently surprised with the line that I decide to follow. K

  5. Kirsty,

    You work is so free and expressive. I love how you have created so many layers of paint. I also really enjoy your color palettes. It’s very exciting to see your work. Thank you!

    • Thank you Julie. Many of the paintings have a multitude of layers due to me destroying/rebuilding/painting, so it’s nice you feel they remain free and expressive. K

  6. Jim Harris says:

    “Do Me a Favor, Paint Me” is really nice.

    • Hi Jim, recently we had a client in the studio, “Do Me a Favor, Paint Me” reminded him of New York. I have to say, I genuinely agree with you, it is a nice painting. That doesn’t often happen, as for most paintings once resolved, I have a moment of elation, soon after, I feel indifferent and perhaps alittle relieved. K

  7. Hayat says:

    Very nice work, I love seeing artists in their studio space.

    • Hi Hayat, I agree, I love seeing artist too in their studios. It’s about their workspace and what inspires the artist. If anything, I feel like it’s a form of interaction. Thank you for stopping by. K

  8. veronica cay says:

    HI Kirsty – wow wow wow – loving your work and so great to see you get some press on another platform – congratulations – xx

  9. Diane Green says:

    your words, “paintings are a continual contest meshing the ground and the figure until the paint falls where it is destined” and your paintings mix of figuration and abstraction really speak to me!

  10. Bonnie Laird says:

    I too, love the way you move the painting around until you find what you are looking for. I am in my studio now and appreciate your insight and free flowing work.
    Thank you for sharing

  11. celestino sebastiao says:

    Very interesting. It takes one to another dimension

  12. It is quite new. So.. well done.
    Good start.
    What about the future?

  13. Don Koester says:

    Kirsty: Explain how your art qualifies as art since there is no subject matter other than what a few splotches of paint might resemble eventually…I feel that you are masking your real talent by this conjuring …if it works for you fine…but I know that art must have a purpose beyond the “accidental destiny’ you describe…perhaps I am wrong…but anyone can move paint around until they see shadows of reality…or is that your purpose? To form images subliminally accidentally and not realizing what you are creating…pure chance as it were? I don’t mean to be harsh yet I am puzzled by all this mishmashing must have some inherent vision or you wouldn’t be able to even produce a striking image. Best wishes in your career!

  14. Not what I would call “art”. Where have all the REAL artists gone? Even my house painter could do a better job!

  15. miles hartley says:

    Really love yr work and understand your method or lack of.Seems to me you approach painting from a lot of different angles and methods.I personaly have given up trying to work out how i created such and such a picture because i see creating as a form of magic that doesnt need to be explained or over-analysed.I believe chance and accident play a very large part in it.

  16. miles hartley says:

    oh,and by the way,in reply to shirley dressler,if your house painter could do better why did’nt he?IM sure if he could do better then he wouldn’t be your house painter.And,lastly,who exactly are THE REAL ARTISTS.I’ve been a painter all my life and can tell you that anyone can paint with practice.


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