Catherine Forshall’s paintings are a celebration of the natural world. Growing up in Scotland, her love of the sea and the creatures within it began through going mackerel fishing with her father as a young girl. She was never interested in the boat itself, but relished gazing into the watery depths of the Atlantic, glimpsing another world.
Catherine studied in Florence under both Signora Simi and Professor Fantoni, and spent some years living in the Mediterranean where she was able to study and observe fish at close quarters. Her paintings combine accurate observation and knowledge of marine species with an expressive fluidity and treatment of the paint surface.
The way water and the creatures within continually shift, creating changing formal relationships between shape, light and negative space, fascinate her. Despite drawing from fish and molluscs washed up by the tide, she re-invigorates them through the act of painting. Her marks and the multitude of aqueous washes of acrylic ensure her paintings retain fluidity and motion. The way she effectively uses tone and atmospheric perspective guarantees that your eye is taken right through the picture plane to the softest hint of a pale fish silhouette peering through the silky bodies of those in the foreground.
Another part of Catherine's art practice are her garden paintings. The artist often spends the summers in her small farm in France, surrounded by an abundant vegetable patch and laden fruit trees, which are the inspiration for her garden paintings. When starting her vegetable patch, Catherine insisted on only planting native seeds and plants, so both her paintings and her garden are completely rooted in her French summers. This series of paintings were largely painted through the 2020 lockdown, which she spent on her French farm. The simplicity and nourishment of painting and gardening during the pandemic was ‘a beautiful thing to do.’ As Catherine wisely states, ‘when the world’s going mad, there is nothing like a vegetable garden.’
Catherine exhibits internationally in galleries in New York, Paris, and London, as well as those closer to her home in the Southwest of England. She has a solo show planned in London for 2022.