Cathryn (Kathy) Nettles, a Devon-based artist, creates vibrant paintings that are a fusion of abstraction and realism. Cathryn works primarily in oil and cold wax on board and canvas. Her work centres on the natural landscape and her horses.
Cathryn is a self-taught artist whose creativity expressed itself in her early career through musical theatre and acting. These years of vocal training and performing are now beginning to inspire Cathryn's artistic vision as she explores the vibrational aspects of the sounds within her local landscapes.
From 2018 - 2021 Cathryn attended painting courses and developed her artistic voice at the prestigious Newlyn School of Art, Cornwall. She has exhibited locally in Devon and Cornwall, and further afield in Henley-on-Thames and Florida, USA.
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 enjoy the tactile qualities of oil paint and cold wax, the preferred medium in my creative process. It delights me to be able to apply these to the canvas with my hands to impart a thick creamy texture, like the local Devon cream, or to gently apply layer upon layer of delicate translucent colours.
My process begins in nature, and I use all my senses to capture what I see, hear and feel onto paper with words, colour and marks that suggest rather than directly recreate the landscape. These sketches will trigger memories once back in the studio. Sounds and words have played an 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 that refer back to the time and place of my initial sketches. Though these are lost from view as the painting progresses, for me they are necessary to activate the canvas.
When I am applying paint to paper or canvas I am transported back to a particular place or time. I am calling down onto the surface everything that led me to both that time in the past and to the present moment of creating. As everything is made of energy I feel that as I am creating a work, I am also energetically linking to the time in the future when someone stands looking at the painting in a gallery, online or in their home. The layers of paint that are applied, rubbed off, scratched in, smoothed on represent to me the layers of time: past, present and future. Every moment is made up of all the moments that came before, and the painting is an energetic bridge between people, time, place, and memory.