As a child I could never resist touching things. To feel the different textures of the world around me has always been a strong impulse, and I relish the tactile qualities of the painter's materials. My process begins as I try to capture, on the paper, what I see, hear and feel, using words, colour and marks that suggest rather than directly recreate the subject in front of me. These sketches and words will trigger memories once back in the studio where I begin to translate the smaller en plein air studies into larger paintings on archival paper or linen.
Sounds and words have played on important part in my life and are also present in my art. Before I begin to paint I will write words and phrases onto the support, referring back to the time, place and thoughts which created my initial studies. Even though these words are often lost from view as the artwork progresses, for me, they are a necessary part of my process.
I continue building layer upon layer using mixed media including graphite, pencil, oil mediums such as paint, bars and pastels; then scrubbing and scraping back to reveal previous layers only to transform it once again with fresh colours and marks. This ebb and flow can continue for just a few short days, weeks or months until the painting carries not only a representation of the inspiration but stands as an object in its own right.
Cathryn Nettles intimately gets to know the landscapes she explores in paint. Once a place has got under her skin, she will return, learning the landscape through multiple, spirited charcoal drawings. Her canvases and boards are prepped with not only underpainting but an undercurrent of words. Language is as important as paint to Nettles, and she uses it as another way to capture how she feels in the landscape. ‘Words activate the canvas. They link my thoughts and the landscape, like hidden prayers.’ For the words will be obliterated eventually, a mixture of oils, crayons and pastels flowing over them. Nettles is physical and tactile with her canvas, using her hands to move the paint, learning the painting as she does the landscape, with movement and touch
From 2018 - 2023 Cathryn attended painting courses and developed her artistic voice at the prestigious Newlyn School of Art, Cornwall, including the Professional Landscape Mentoring year long course.
Also attending courses in Cornwall led by Ashley Hanson.
‘Cornwall, Colour and Coast’, Henley on Thames, UK (2018).
'Edge of Land and Sea' Shire Hall, Bodmin, Devon, 25th May - 17th June 2019.
(Group exhibition with Eliza Aspinall and Belinda Garner).
Grand Living Realty Art Show, Palm Coast Florida, (2021).
Devon Open Studio Tour, Devon, UK (2021).
‘Cornwall, Colour and Coast’, Henley on Thames, UK (2021).
'Autumn: My Horses in the Landscape'. Solo Exhibition at The Castle, Bude, UK Nov/Dec 2022.
Bath Art Fair, Bath, UK (2023)
'Wild Earth' Group Show, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens. UK. 23Rd - 25th June 2023.
Solo exhibition/event, Coombe Park, Mare and Foal Sanctuary. UK. 21st June 2023.