Lisa Catherwood Artist Statement
I am an artist and designer living and working in the north of Ireland.
I see colour and shape in the most mundane of places – as an artist my imagination is constantly drawing vibrant moving images on blank surfaces from the building blocks garnered from the swirl of milk in a teacup or the flight path of an insect around a window or the shape of clouds in the sky.
These waking dreams become paintings and drawings, tapestries and enamels, pyrography, textiles and painted ceramics. The artist explores fundamentals and feelings, the beauty in natural form, and the ability we have to find solace and meaning in the simplest hints of shapes and colour.
With a large, vibrant, past in paintings, my recent work gravitates towards using minimally processed materials, an organic art – paintings on hessian using paints I make myself from raw ochre pigments which I grind and mix in tiny amounts with poppy or linseed oil – and for the pyrography, raw local wood finished with natural shellac – I am always aware of where the materials originate, what the trees lived through, what history they saw, how the ochre clays were laid down millions of years ago. When I work with Firewriter I am reminded that wood is organic and was living, every grain line generates a different smell in the smoke. From the micro to the macro it is a visceral experience. Each smell creates a thought or a sensation or a memory.
In 2015/16 My pyrography work was about loneliness and loss – In the end we are all just shadows walking away alone. They are rhythmic and contemplative pieces. Having discovered the Firewriter a new pyrography tool and a local source of the most gorgeous Irish timbers, the soulfulness and history ingrained in the wood infuses the pyrography with stillness despite the apparently hectic landscapes. I dreamt of burning the burns of dreaming.
With a move in 2015 to a new studio the burnings gave way to the Silviculture series incorporating wood burnings with paintings inspired by trees.
In 2017 I had the dream of my fish again, almost a Koi, it set up a chain of paintings in inks and mixed media with gold and silver and I am now surrounded by shoals of my beautiful fish. They are quickly swimming onto fabric and are being framed. The change is marvellous and speaks of a bright future for all who come in contact with them. The fish called wonder has grown and developed in this new stronger apparition.
In 2018 I was hospitalised with severe ME again and have had a very slow crawl out remaining housebound apart from hospital jaunts until covid19 and lockdown in spring 2020. However the work though very small and very slow has continued. I have taken delight and solace in being able to use these decades of work to help publiscise the growing #meawarenesshour on Wednesdays on Twitter making digital flyers for each week to promote the call for action. See more here.
I know the work is finished when the spell breaks, the fascination and anticipation finishes the symbiosis is ended and the piece stands alone.