Renowned for her large watercolour seascapes, artist Cathy Veale was awarded the overall prize for Jackson’s Art of Reflection Competition. Inspired by the Dorset coastline, her paintings show an intense vibrancy of colour, concentrating on the effect of light on water. We asked her a few questions to find out where her affinity with the coastline comes from.
Christine: Why do you love working with watercolour?
Cathy: I love working in watercolour as it really suits my style of painting. I have a passion for painting water in any form. This has come from living many years by the sea, sailing from the age of 11 and having parents who loved walking the Southwest coast path. I also had a Great Aunt who was an accomplished watercolour artist who introduced me to the medium. The fluidity of watercolour goes hand in hand with the results I aim to achieve.
Christine: Your formal education was Graphic Design, do you feel that this has had an influence on the style of paintings you create?
Cathy: As a qualified graphic designer, I suppose there might have been a little influence from this to my style of painting. I preferred the illustration part of the course rather than the advertising elements which concentrated on the use of Magic markers, Cow gum and Letraset in those days. Some people have commented on how’ textile’ my work appears to be. This is, probably from the geometric shapes that I tend to use in my compositions. I use flat brushes whenever possible as they produce a crisp, clean edge if executed with a steady hand.
Christine: Looking at the size dimensions of your work, some reach almost a metre in length, is there a particular reason as to why you work this big?
Cathy: I enjoy the challenge of working to a large scale, although some of my paintings take a couple of weeks to complete, which I obviously prefer to compose from my studio because of their size; I feel they create more of an impact. My aim is to create a painting that will be as interesting to view up close as well as from a distance. Colour plays a large part in this; as well as tonal grading, building layer upon layer of washes and using the paint in its purest form, i.e. not mixing too many colours together, help to keep the painting as vibrant as possible.
Christine: What are you working on at the moment and where can we see more of your work?
The image at the top is ‘Towards Studland’ by Cathy Veale, Watercolour, 79x88cm