Meet the Artist

Kate McLaren

Kate McLaren is a watercolour painter who is inspired by the beauty and fragility of the natural world. This series of paintings was begun last year in response to both climate change and the global pandemic. Taken together these events are a vivid reminder of the uncertain future of all living species on earth.

Kate was drawn to watercolour while a teenager in London, Ontario. Over the years she studied at the Doon School of Fine Arts, near Waterloo, the Ottawa School of Art, and more recently, with watercolour artist Rosy Somerville from Carp, Ontario.

Kate now lives in Perth with her husband after leaving Ottawa and the professional world of international development. Perth might be home, but if home is where the heart is, then it’s close to Denbigh at the Marquardt family homestead and lake in the Addington Highlands. Each year she watches with growing trepidation as the effects of environmental degradation and climate change bring invasive species into the old fields, and loss of habitat for native plants and animals in the forests and lake. These changes are the creative force behind her paintings.


Clouds and Cedars, Marquardt Lake, watercolour, 22×30.

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I liked the challenge of painting the reflection of the cedars and clouds in the water as they were being disturbed by slight ripples along the shoreline.

Criss Cross, watercolour, 22×30.

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View from the floating dock at Marquardt Lake near Denbigh, where I have spent many hours noticing how the ripples and waves intersect as they move towards the shore.

Fernwalk, watercolour collage with gouache, 11×15.

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I love the bright greens of the ferns that grow along the edges of the forest near our summer home. The fern image is made by soaking a fern tip in paint and stamping it on paper. The violet flowers and leaves are real.

Gale Force, watercolour, 22 x 30.

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This painting was inspired by the powerful images of uncontrolled wild fires along the coast of Oregon earlier this spring. These fires were fed by years of drought and the hot winds blowing over the mountains. They are an undeniable result of our warming climate.

Rosy’s Lake, watercolour 22×30.

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The intense colour in this painting reflects a sense of foreboding that’s lurking beneath the beauty of the lake. The original location is a small lake in the Carp Hills, close to the home of Rosy Somerville.

Shoreline Sculpture, watercolour, 22×30.

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A fallen branch at the edge of Marquardt Lake. I was on the floating dock, watching how the clouds created wavy white reflections in the swirling water where the bleached branch hit the surface.