Kay de Lautour was born in Wairoa in 1952, and spent her early years in the rugged countryside along the Wairoa River. Within sight of Mount Whakapunake, she freely explored the hillsides and river valleys, and enjoyed a sunny childhood on a dairy farm. Schooled at MaruMaru Primary School and Wairoa College, she then studied at Palmerston North Teachers’ College and Massey University.
Kay specialized in art, music and literature at Palmerston North and Hamilton Teachers’ Colleges, and worked as a primary teacher, secondary school teacher, and specialist art teacher. Later study to complete her Masters Degree in Fine Arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, Auckland, affirmed her decision to make art her full time profession, following her childhood dream.
Since the 1980s Kay has had solo exhibitions in the Waikato, and exhibited regularly in group shows in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and in Auckland. Her work is in private collections throughout New Zealand, and in Australia, Europe and the USA.
Kay initially worked in oils and acrylics, painting landscapes and portraits. In the 1990s she specialized in watercolour painting, but has extended both her techniques and subjects beyond the representational and narrative, challenging the viewer to explore the metaphors of her surfaces and subjects.
Recent works explore the essence of memory, identity, and enculturation. Using mixed media, illusion and multi-layered images, this work marks a departure from the traditional works for which Kay was previously known.