This week we are introducing Staffordshire wildlife and pet portrait artist Katharine Skorka.
Katharine beautifully hand draws and paints custom pet and wildlife pieces through using watercolour and pastel.
In the tech savvy, modern world of today, we are keen to support and collaborate with local artists and artisans who share similar passions for traditional methods.
Nestled in the quaint countryside of South Staffordshire you will find the Halfpenny Green vineyards estate and craft village. Beautifully set around the English winery, restaurant and craft village you will find Skorkart's gallery and studio.
Katharine's passion for art came from a young age and she always had a passion for wildlife. After completing her fine art degree at Loughborough University, Katharine came back to Staffordshire and soon found the local demand for pet portraits.
In 2019 Katharine was able to turn her passion into a full time business and opened her studio shop selling prints and commissions worldwide whilst offering art classes and a studio shop.
Since opening her own studio shop in 2019, Katharine has expanded her possibilities by offering hand drawn artwork by prints and homeware showcasing some of our most favourite animals.
DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SKORKART
What type of art mediums do you use and why?
I focus on using watercolour and Pastel, I love to capture fine detail with pastel pencils but also enjoy the unpredictable nature of watercolour for a looser style of artwork.
When drawing someone's pet what are the most important factors you try to capture?
Pets are family members and the bond between pet and owner is one of unconditional love! So an essential part of capturing that connection between pet (portrait) and owner is the expression in the eyes. I try to capture the eyes as accurately as possible its this connection that makes a portrait very special.
Why did you open your studio in the countryside?
I've always wanted to make art full time but never thought it would be a reality. After juggling jobs in hospitality and retail feeling like I’m going no where, the rare opportunity to rent one of the craft units at Halfpenny Green came up. I took it without hesitation. This was a huge step into the unknown but a risk that was totally worth it! I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love surrounded by the beautiful Staffordshire countryside and vineyards.
Can you name some of your most memorable commissions?
Harleys Smokehouse commissioned me to paint some wall murals in their brand new restaurant. I painted a number of farm animals and Alice in wonderland theme on the walls. Some of the paintings were 8-9ft tall! It was a brilliant experience.
It's an emotional time when revealing a finished pet memorial portrait especially if the pet has recently passed, there’s always some tears as they remember their much-loved pet. To be a part of making something that family will treasure forever is heart-warming.
What collections do you have coming up in the near future?
I am still developing different collections and revamping old ones! I'd like to keep it local with more British wildlife and also expand my range of dog breeds. I am working towards new homeware products to expand on the range I have.
How do you see Skorkart growing and evolving?
My short term plan is to expand my customer reach in the UK by teaming up with small retailers and attending shows up and down the country. I'm also trying to grow my online presence through my YouTube channel and online shop which will help the brand grow internationally.
Why do you believe John Partridge and Skorkart connect and share similar values?
We both produce quality unique products and have a soft spot for dogs!
For someone starting out in painting or drawing what top tips would you give them?
My top tip would be to find a medium or style you love and get yourself the right materials to start. Then keep practising, and don’t be disheartened by unsuccessful attempts. Every time we paint/draw we are learning and understanding how the medium works. Increasing your knowledge of materials, techniques and processes improves your skills over time. But most of all ENJOY it!
Prior to Covid19 I offered Art classes in my studio which I hope to open up again soon but I also have a YouTube channel with lots of tutorials for beginners that are easy to paint along to and are a good guide on where to start!
To find out more about Skorkart you can follow her on social media and YouTube here:
COMING SOON TO JOHN PARTRIDGE
We are excited to be adding selected items from the Skorkart range that will be available to buy through our John Partridge website.
Discover the Skorkart YouTube where you may recognise our very own #partridgepooch Toby being drawn...
*All images shown are property of Skorkart and Halfpenny Wine Vineyards.