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Cathy Smale – Featured Artist of the Month

Cathy is in her fourth year as a fellow with Digswell Arts, working full time from her studio in the Fenners Building, Letchworth Garden City, where she paints most days.

1) How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
I often work on many pieces at the same time, usually depicting a particular landscape and focusing on the details that interest me, or are unique to that place or time. I have a fairly recognisable style of painting where layers of paint are built up over the initial drawings, with the outlines remaining amongst the textures and patterns created by my palette knife.

2) What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?
I am currently exhibiting a collection of new paintings at the Courtyard Arts Gallery in Hertford, alongside another Digswell fellow, Caryl Beach. We share a love of seascapes and the exhibition celebrates the experience of coastline and some favourite locations. Most important to us both are the diverse collection of pebbles that line the shores, each unique from the journey over “Time and Tide.”

3) What are your plans for the coming year?
I have another show planned for September, working with another artist I met through the studios. Christine Harrison used to be a fellow at Fenners and we will be showing a collection of paintings inspired by “The Birds and The Trees” at the Art Nest Gallery in Hitchin.
I hope to also develop some other ideas and projects and just continue to enjoy my days of painting.

4) What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
There are a few questions I am asked quite frequently, how I apply the paint, what materials I use, certain details in the painting… it’s nice when someone is interested enough in a painting to ask a question and a short conversation can begin.

5) What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I haven’t wanted to be an artist. But realising that it was possible has been truly inspiring. So it was probably that moment when I first approached a gallery, who then sold my first painting, which encouraged me to pursue an artistic career.

6) Which artist do you most admire and why?
Too many to mention, and not just the famous ones… Any artist who is dedicated to their craft and hardworking in their ambition.

7) How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?Having a professional workspace allows me to concentrate, and I’m able to work on larger pieces, have more works in progress, and be more disciplined about my working day. It’s great having other artists at work nearby too, sharing artistic concerns and ambitions.

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