It is an honour to have Catharine Davison on the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize Judging panel. Now in its second year, The Jackson’s Open Painting Prize exists to recognise and appreciate original, 2-dimensional fine art works in any painting or drawing media.
Catharine Davison is known for her vast landscape paintings. Not afraid of the complexity of the urban landscape seen from an elevated viewpoint, observational drawing and painting is at the heart of her practice. She strives to commit to a specific idea about a place or time and submit to it completely, building the confidence to do so by drawing from her experiences of walking and sketching in the places that inspire her. Her final paintings are often an amalgam of the different observations that she has recorded in her preparatory work. Catharine Davison has lived and worked in Edinburgh since 2007, where she works as an educator at the University of Edinburgh, Leith School of Art, The National Galleries of Scotland and at Loretto School in Musselburgh, as well as a painter. Her work has been commended with a number of public awards, including the Lynn Painter-Stainers prize for creative representational painting in 2014.
Lisa: What has been your own personal artistic highlight of the past year?
Catharine: Finding inspiration to draw and paint closer to home, both in my garden and in the Pentland Hills, a shift from the urban landscape. My car engine blew a year ago and I was unable to make a decision about a replacement so I had to reconsider the practicalities of working on location. I feel like I am looking again with fresh eyes.
Lisa: What are you working on at the moment?
Catharine: The winter has been so mild this year and so I have been able to do some work in the evenings, beginning to set up just before dusk and working through the shift from light to dark. If I am working in the garden then the street lights or car lights illuminate the hedges and trees. When I am in the Pentlands I can see shapes and colours in the landscape forms against the night sky, I am almost sorry that the days are getting longer and the trees will soon have their leaves. I sound like I know how to make the works from reading this- it is all quite new and exciting.
Lisa: We interviewed you almost exactly 2 years ago! How has your work evolved since then?
Catharine: My approach has not changed, I continue to make drawings and paintings working directly on location from the landscape. I have always understood the language of line and mark making so finding ways to use paint as a drawing media was fundamental to my picture making, making the colour element limited and secondary. Working under different lighting conditions I am paying attention to close tonality of colour and I am really enjoying more painterly applications of paint. I have also been exploring ways of developing my abbreviated line drawings into embroidery, working with both machine and hand stitch.
Lisa: What do you hope to achieve artistically in 2017?
Catharine: I have solo exhibition opening November 4th 2017 at The Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh; http://www.openeyegallery.co.uk/artists/catharine-davison
The deadline of an exhibition deadline can focus the mind, but in the planning I wanted to allow myself time to be able to make work freely so it will be interesting to see what comes out of the work over the coming months.
Lisa: What will you be looking for in the work submitted to the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize?
Catharine: Initially I will look for an instinctive response to the work, either because there is something in the work and it makes me want to look closer and paint, or if I have no clue what the work is about and want to find out more. I am always looking at art through online galleries and Pinterest, for both my own interests and for teaching purposes and so I am quite familiar and happy to be looking at art work on a screen.
Lisa: What is your creative new year’s resolution?
Catharine: To be curious – my boyfriend’s mum, Rose had this quality in abundance.
Header Image: ‘The Trees’ by Catharine Davison, Oil on Board, 40 x 45 cm