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Katy Smail

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Katy Smail found her muse in the untamed beauty of her homeland, which continues to shape her work to this day. Despite venturing across the Atlantic, honing her skills as a fashion writer and illustrator in New York, “the wild Scottish landscapes, skies and meadows have stayed in my bones and become the root of my inspiration,” she reflects.

However, it was a series of major shifts in her life that prompted a profound evolution in Katy’s artistic expression. “Since the pandemic, coming back to Scotland and becoming a mother, I have moved my attention to my fine art painting practice,” she explains.

Smail’s current body of work revolves around large-scale paintings of wildflowers, a testament to her deep reverence for nature’s beauty and her commitment to environmental stewardship. “[My paintings] are inspired by the soft power of Mother Nature, the magic of the natural world, herbal medicine and a desire to protect our wildflower meadows,” Katy avers.

Her creative process is deeply intuitive, guided by the colours and energies of the natural world. “I try to drop out of my thinking mind and into my feeling body,” she says. In an almost meditative state, Katy’s emotions intertwine with ethereal skies and flower-filled landscapes as she intuitively paints on canvas, wood or fabric, unrestrained and flowing.

A Dreamlike World

Fauvism’s vibrant palette, the mysticism of Hilma af Klint’s and the portrayal of nature in  Georgia O’Keefe’s work resonate deeply with her, yet Katy remains committed to forging her own artistic path. “I like to be in my own creative response so that my paintings are their own world,” she asserts. “Colours are so important to me, so therapeutic. They are a way for me to create a dreamlike world; an alternative reality where [they] are more of an emotional expression than a literal representation. I like to use colour to bring joy.”

For Katy, painting is more than just a creative outlet; it’s a means of transcendence and a bridge between the tangible and the ineffable. Amid her artistic musings, echoes of profound concepts resonate: the energy of the Divine Feminine, the urgency of protecting our natural world and the healing power of plant medicine—these ideas permeate her being. Yet in the act of painting, intellect yields to instinct as she disconnects from thought and surrenders to sensation.

All prints from Katy Smail