Kate Downie
March 4th, 2020

NEWS 2020

  Birchtree Studios 2020


opening celebration in July ’19

This time last year the very spot where I now sit was a muddy construction site with diggers and builders  – One year later year it is a fantastic warm workspace full of light and possibilities.  Last July we celebrated its completion with many friends and since then I have been trying to sort out all my art in the new space and have enjoyed making new work..





A New Teaching Programme for Autumn

This year I am  delighted to launch a new course of mentoring and tutorials at Birchtree Studios – ‘Introduction to a Painting-based Studio Practice’ commencing October 9th 2020. I am looking forward to working with six keen students of all ages! All information about the course can be seen here.


 Micro Residencies at Birchtree

Last week while I was working in a stormy corner of the Isle of Mull, artist/maker Su Vernon was here enjoying the very first Birchtree Studio micro-residency, using the space, the peace and quiet to complete her PhD and develop some new work.  New dates in September and October 2020 can be seen here.


north facing view of the studio

Before the teaching gets underway however, Michael & I will be welcoming people from Fife and beyond to Birchtree Studios over 3 days from 8-10th May 2020 for the Open Studios North Fife event OSNF, becoming part of our local artists’ network and sharing our space, ideas and art with the visiting public along with a 100 strong network of artists and makers in this area




Outside Edge

Four artists on a windswept beach in Mull 2019

Outside Edge is an exciting collaborative project happening between Scotland and China, involving residencies, travel and exhibitions. It started life in  2009 sparked by a meeting of minds between international Brighton-based  artist Helen Goodwin and myself, stretching to China in 2013 with the meeting of two impeccable Chinese Ink Painter/artists Xu Yun and Hong Shen. All three were able to join me in September 2019 in this beautiful, remote and resonant outside edge of Mull (an island off the North-West coast of Scotland)  for a week long brain- storming of ideas, drawings, walks and creative responses to this wild land/seascape and to each others’ art.

It was a thrilling week;  battling the elements, finding common ground and forging new territories in an ancient coast redolent with historical narratives be they  geological, human or animal.  We four artists were due to re-meet this very week in Beijing to commence Phase II of Outside Edge: ‘Carsaig to China’ for a further collaborative residency and exhibition of our Carsaig work in the coastal city of Qingdao.  Unfortunately this  has had to be deferred until September 2020 owing to the COVID-19 Virus. However, the Royal Scottish Academy has invited the OUTSIDE EDGE exhibition to tour from Qingdao into the Finlay Room of the RSA in the autumn  2021 so that those unable to visit China later this year can see Carsaig re-imagined by us all next year in Edinburgh.

Printmaking 2020

Back in Fife, new printmaking projects are soon to be launched. I am delighted to announce a research-funding award from VACMA (Visual Arts and Craft-makers Award/Creative Scotland) towards developing  my screen-printing skills  at Glasgow Print Studio to make a fresh series of ‘ Fife Journey Prints’ celebrating the landscape & human interaction as experienced through local train travel.

Night Crossing the Forth

Plans are also afoot for a collaboration with master printer Leena Namari and Fife Dunfermline Print Studio for my latest Forth Bridge Print  (The Art of Crossing III) using 3-D drawing, film footage and cyanotype printing methods – intrigued? So am I!

I will report on this soon, in the meantime I wish you a very happy springtime.




Current Group Exhibitions

Archipelago , The Academicians Gallery

Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh

until March 22nd

21st Century Women – Backdoor Gallery, Clydebank Museum

last chance to see the ‘Women on a Train’ paintings.

2nd March – 20th April

RSA 194th Annual Open Exhibition

First sight of the collaborative Carsaig Cave Painting

28th March – 3rd May


April 1st, 2019

Spring News 2019

There and Back- An Exhibition of new paintings at Panter & Hall

I Know Where I’m Going! (There) oil on poplar 100cm x 100cm           Kate Downie 2019

Coming soon to London – a collection of 17 new oil paintings to be shown in my forthcoming solo exhibition ‘There and Back’ at Panter and Hall  from May 1st – May 11th 2019, just 5 minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus.  I will be resident  in London for the first week of the show, and  look forward very much to introducing old friends, loyal collectors and new faces alike to this fresh body of work created especially for my first London show in 22 years.

When Mathew Hall and Tiffany Panter first visited my Edinburgh studio in November 2017 to discuss an exhibition, little did I anticipate the adventure of completing a body of work while moving house and building a new studio.

The movement between city and country, has become the subject for the exhibition, both on a personal level but also reflecting the wider state of flux in all our lives as we struggle for political sanity in the midst of a changing climate.  These new paintings represent key elements in that passage though all these turbulent times.

Free Lunchtime Artist’s Talk will be on May 2nd 1-2pm, booking advisable though the gallery. An e-catalogue will be availiable on the gallery website from April 20th.

IMPRINT- New prints and multiples by Royal Scottish Academicians

This exciting exhibition with works by many of Scotland’s leading artist-printmakers can be seen at the Academicians Gallery and Finlay Room of the RSA  in Edinburgh from 13th April to 12th May. All works available for sale.

This triptych ‘Spanning the Beautiful River Shore to Shore’ will feature in this exhibition, and was inspired  by my commute from Fife to the DCA Print Studio in Dundee. The title is a quote from William McGonagall’s poem celebrating the opening of  the new bridge spanning the Tay Estuary following the disaster of the first Bridge.   Monoprint & etched aluminium on Xuan paper on Somerset.

New commission and acquisition by the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh

I am delighted to announce that not only have City Arts Centre  recently added two large drawings in charcoal on primed  paper from 2005 ‘Conversation’ series  to their permanent collection but also commissioned a third major drawing in 2018, acquired through the Jean F Watson Bequest. Dates of   their launch to the public eye to be announced! Here is the new drawing, marking the addition of the third crossing of the Firth the Forth at Queensferry.

Three Bridge Evening. charcoal and collage on primed paper 100cm x 150 cm Kate Downie©2019


Collaboration with Singer Songwriter Christine Kydd

It has been great working with one of my musical inspirations in traditional Scottish song Christine Kydd. Early this year she launched her wonderful new  CD  Shift and Change . This album features one of my early Norwegian series of mono prints ‘Coming into Port’ on the cover and  was the first   print that I created  through my experiments in looped film footage. This collaboration has inspired two new workshops  and will also be the subject of a forthcoming solo show Nature Vivante  at the Garden Room of the Scottish Gallery in October 2019. In the meantime, such has been the popularity of the album and the cover image that I  have now made a limited edition in ink jet print on archival paper available for purchase here.

Work in progress for Birchtree Studios in Ceres



And finally – the new studio construction in Ceres is growing as fast as the trees are bursting into bud!  It should be finished by the summer.

Wishing you all a happy and hopeful Spring.