I have to say Catherine’s work has really grasped me. I’ve messaged her many times, liked all her posts and reacted to all her stories. The clean lines, the small but incredibly diverse colour palette and the subject matter really spoke to me from the moment I stumbled across her page. I just love her work and the strong emotions it brings up for me. I feel serene, yet intrigued and excited by her subject matter.
I had one of the lovelier Quarantine weekends chatting to Catherine *social distanced of course, over instagram* (#stayhome), and she’s delivered one of the best interviews I’ve read. So thank you Catherine!
"I am hugely nostalgic - I look to the past constantly."
So Catherine, as you know I am a huge fan of your work, and we've spoken at length about what it means to me. What, if anything, do you intend for your work to say? What would you like people to go away feeling?
My current works have been hugely inspired by my relationships with my three sisters. I’m really interested in the space between us and what connects us now as adults, how we support each other and what these female relationships mean to me as a woman now. I’m searching for something in these paintings that continues to reveal itself to me!
I love that about female relationships and how they've changed. I've definitely felt that in the air at the moment! What can you tell us about your colour palette?
I use the most limited colour palette of all time - I have 4 tubes of paint (a ‘red’, a ‘yellow’, a ‘blue’ and titanium white) - it’s amazing the variation of colours you can make with such a limited palette! I keep telling myself I’ll branch out to more variation but its hard - there’s so much in it already!
And, where is it that you get your inspiration?
Everywhere I suppose. Mainly the people in my life. Also, my studio mates - we drive each other and push each other and really support each other. My childhood, my history, but hopefully in a way that becomes accessible to or opens up to someone else’s history too. I’ve started listening to a lot of podcasts this year because I find it really hard to read. Maybe my iPhone has killed my reading gene which is sad, but maybe it’s just a phase of life (I hope!). My sisters and I grew up moving around Europe with my parents and we had some amazing formative childhood years that still inspire me massively. I’m hugely nostalgic - I look to the past constantly. I live in the past a lot of the time I think. Definitely, in the studio I do.
You're such an inspiration to me in your work, and I’m sure loads of readers will be interested to know: What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
I think the best thing I’ve done so far is deciding to do a masters in painting. It was really scary as it’s a big risk financially, but in my case, I can see it was a really important step for me to take. And therefore just commitment is the best piece of advise any of us can take!
It’s so tough at the moment for artists, and I know you’ve had difficulties with your studio being off limits, so how are you keeping creating during this time?
It’s really hard. I can’t paint in our small flat in London that I share with my boyfriend, so I’ve taken our little 75 x 75 cm table that we usually eat dinner on as my designated space. I bought oil pastels and took a load of sheets of newsprint from RCA when we evacuated and I’m trying my hand at that. I’m trying to think of them as studies for big paintings when we’re back in the studio. It's not the same as painting and it’s quite claustrophobic working in the flat BUT I’m grateful for Sennelier because their oil pastels are so creamy and the pigment is so rich, it’s been really exciting to discover them as a new medium during this time!
I have to ask this! Who is your favourite female artist working at the moment?
Wow, there are so many... Emma Talbot is someone that comes straight to mind. She is an amazing artist and also one of our senior tutors on the master's programme. Emma did an artist talk just before the school shut - maybe in January or February - and it was just such a gift to hear her talk about her work and the drive and history behind it. She also ran/facilitated a student crit I was presenting my work in February and she was just mind-blowing - one of those artists that you just learn from. Emma Talbot!