Staff Spotlight: Kate Wilson

What is your name and role at Morley? How long have you been here?

My name is Kate Wilson and I am a part time tutor drawing and painting. I have worked at Morley for 6 years. Throughout the year I teach a course called “Drawing for Beginners” on Thursday evenings 6-9pm. This is a hybrid course, meaning that people can choose to learn onsite in the studio or online from home – whichever suits them best. On 10th October for London Craft Week, I will also run a 3 hour workshop on Egg Tempera Painting

What made you choose to work at Morley?

Reputation – I knew people teaching at Morley who recommended it as a good place to work.

How have you used your previous experience to inspire your students?

I studied at Winchester and the RA Schools and have worked as an artist – a painter – for over 30 years. I love to share what I have learned myself, and first began to teach adults when I left art school. I have a particular interest in drawing and painting materials and how they affect creativity, and have written a book for Thames and Hudson called “Drawing and Painting – Materials and Techniques for Contemporary Artists”.

What do you think is the most important thing to teach students for them to leave with?

My drawing course teaches beginners lots of skills – but probably the most important thing for people to come away with is having discovered what they like to draw and the ways they like working.  So that means coming away with some understanding of how the drawings they admire were made and the skills they will need to hone to get the same result – whether measurement, accuracy, speed, chance, or expression.  Not all drawings and subject matter require the same skills – and a lot comes down to personal temperament!

What’s a future goal for you?

To continue to be ambitious for myself and my students. I’d also be delighted if I were to sell my small painting “Breath” currently on show at the RA Summer Exhibition.

What do they personally like about the College? 

Generally, students love being in the studio together, drawing and trying out new ways of working.  They always say what a friendly place Morley is and how calming it is to come here in the evening. During lockdown, when all my students were online, the thing they enjoyed most was seeing and speaking with each other and creating a quiet time and space to draw within their homes.  Whether onsite or online, they like that the classes are well organised and resourced, encouraging, and supportive.   People enjoy working physically and creatively and always find it helpful to see what others have done and to hear insightful comments from other members the group.

Why should someone choose Morley to study at rather than another college/provider/institute? What industry links does the college have that benefit the students?

It’s an important part of the artistic process to select from what has been made and to learn how to present it in a professional way.  Morley has great spaces for students to exhibit their artwork – the refurbished Morley Gallery, the Barry Till and the Cardew Space – as well as strong connections with London galleries such as Borough Road Gallery, Espaccio Gallery, St John’s Crypt and the Cello Factory. The bi-annual open exhibition “Made at Morley” offers all students – including beginners from my class – the opportunity to exhibit in the Morley Gallery.

Where do students go on to after studying at Morley?

My students usually move on after 3 terms to try out their new skills in portrait and figure drawing classes, painting classes (watercolour, oil, and acrylic), as well as making ceramics, sculpture, prints and digital images.  They also join courses that develop their ideas as well as skills such as Creative Sketchbook and the Morley Pre-Foundation Course.  A number have gone onto study on Morley’s 1 year accredited UAL Art Foundation Diploma and have gone onto degrees at UAL, CSM and the Art Academy. 

What other skills does the college teach alongside the arts areas to assist with students’ careers?

I have found that many adults within the visual arts are less than confident when it comes to reading and writing.  Morley provides English classes that can help people build these skills – either before or alongside study on accredited courses.