Sunday, January 1, 2012

Artist of the Month - Cathy Kirwan

"Bloom" by Cathy Kirwan
When I was looking for an artist to feature for January's Artist of the Month post I was searching for artwork that inspired me. When I came across Cathy Kirwan's work I knew I found the artist to feature for the New Year. I find Cathy's work inspiring, joyful, wonderfully colorful and full of life. I was very excited to get to know her better and learn about her creative process.
"Hope in my heart" by Cathy Kirwan

"Courage" by Cathy Kirwan

"Where dreams grow" by Cathy Kirwan

"Laughter is the best medicine" by Cathy Kirwan
Cathy currently lives in the inner north of Melbourne, Australia with her partner Ms L and two fur children, Big Cat and Little Cat. She has lived in Melbourne for most of her life. Cathy was born in South Africa, but returned to Australia just before she was 2 years old. Cathy has also spent a considerable amount of time living and working in the United States at summer camps and environmental education centers. She lived in Colorado, Missouri, Michigan and Florida. Cathy has also had the opportunity to visit 20 other states.  As much as she enjoys travel, Melbourne is her favorite place to live.

"Acts of love" by Cathy Kirwan

"Dream sweetly" by Cathy Kirwan
Cathy just recently left her full time job to concentrate more on her art. Cathy is a self-taught artist. She's always been creative and over the years has completed workshops and courses but never studied art in a formal setting. For a little while, she considered applying to art school but has decided at the moment she is really happy to play, explore and find her own way.

Cathy was fortunate over the last couple of years to attend some amazing art retreats. One with Kelly Rae Roberts and Mati McDonough, and the other with Flora Bowley. Both of these workshops had a major impact on her creative work and how Cathy sees herself as an artist. She found both to be very affirming and encouraging.

"Rainmaker" by Cathy Kirwan
I really enjoy the bright colors and the dimension that Cathy presents in her artwork. I asked Cathy how she discovered her style of creating and here is what she had to say:

"I've always been drawn to strong, bold colours and for as long as I can remember I've painted, drawn or created flowers.  My style has evolved over time through experimentation and play, but essentially working with strong colours, bold shapes and design and inspirational messages has always been at the heart of my work.  I can go right back to things I created in school and find these characteristics in my creations. Interestingly it's taken me a long time to realize this is the case.  To really understand that I do have a style and that it's really present in everything I create."

"In the forest of the mind" by Cathy Kirwan
I am always interested in the creative process of artists. Each seems to have a different way to find their Muse.  Here is Cathy's creative process:

"Abundance" by Cathy Kirwan
"For the most part I work in a very spontaneous and organic way.  I paint when I feel like painting and when I don't feel like it I don't force myself.  I don't plan what my paintings will look like.  I usually start with a bunch of colours that are really inspiring me and I'll start working a number of canvases all at once.  Then I just sort of see where the process takes me and what starts to take shape.  I use a wide range of techniques to achieve different effects, but some of my favorites are printing with bubble wrap, mark making with various objects and stenciling.

With the exhibition I have coming up in February my process has been a little different. I know I've got a deadline to meet and a particular theme that I'm working to so I'm probably being a little more planned than I usually would.  Having said that, even though I've always known it will be a landscape exhibition I've played with lots of different ideas and concepts and only recently reached a really solid idea about what the focus for the landscapes will be.  I also don't have any clear picture of what each painting will look like.  Each piece will evolve and take shape as I paint it."

When I asked Cathy what her most favorite and least favorite part of her creative process, here is what she had to say:

"There is so much I enjoy about making art.  It makes me really happy and I feel grateful everyday that I've found this passion and that I'm doing something I absolutely love.  My favourite part of the process is when a painting starts to come together, when I get a sense of what it's going to become and I'm able to bring that to life.  I also love it when I'm just playing without any sense of expectation or fear.  Amazing things always happen when I get into that space.

My least favourite part is when I get creatively blocked.  It happens to everyone and it is just part of the process, but I really struggle to accept it.  I always feel like I'll never paint again when it happens, even though I always do.  It usually means I'm tired or uninspired and I need to do some things to inspire or nurture myself."

"Remember where you are" by Cathy Kirwan

"Remember where you're going" by Cathy Kirwan

So, where is Cathy going next with her beautiful artwork? She has her first gallery solo exhibition coming up in February 2012 which will focus on her landscape work. She is very excited about it and feels that it is a major achievement to have a solo gallery show. I couldn't agree more! Wish I could hop a plane and attend the showing in Australia.

"Ring collection in a box" by Cathy Kirwan
Cathy also has a line of jewelry designs. In 2012, she is looking to expand her art into other jewelry designs, textiles and stationery. Cathy said that she will be a bit more focused than she has before. She really wants to make a successful career from her creativity and feels ready to make that happen. I am excited to see what she comes up with! Cathy said that 2012 is going to be a big year of trying new things, putting herself out into the world far and wide, and seeing what comes from stretching herself in new directions. She is also wanting to teach, either online or face to face in 2012.

"Journey" by Cathy Kirwan
I hope that you enjoyed getting to know Cathy and her incredible artwork. If you would like to see more of her work, check out her Etsy shop Tinniegirl. I love the story behind her shop name.  The word "Tinnie" is an Australian colloquial term for someone who is considered to be lucky. Her Mum gave her the name years ago and when she thinks about becoming an artist that's exactly how she feels.  If you'd like to follow more of Cathy's artistic journey, check out her Tinniegirl blog and her Flickr site.

Cathy wrote a great blog post called "Making plans" that has some wonderful resources for the New Year. One worksheet that really caught my eye is from Susannah Conway. She has a free 16 page downloadable workbook to help "unravel your year ahead and say farewell to the year behind", you can find it here. I am so happy to start off 2012 with Cathy's inspirational work.

Best wishes for an amazing 2012 to you and yours.

"A new year is a new life." by Madi


Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

Thanks so much for featuring me Stacie. I really enjoyed reflecting on the questions you asked and you've written a great piece.

I posted on my blog about it just now.

stacie said...

Thanks Cathy! I really enjoyed writing it and getting to know you better.

The Creative Beast said...

This was a great interview of Cathy! She is a wonderfully colorful artist, isn't she Stacie? =-)

Thanks for sharing Cathy's art with your readers!

CurlyPops said...

What a wonderful interview. I'm soooo looking forward to Cathy's first solo exibition. So exciting!

stacie said...

She is a wonderful artist! Very lucky to be able to attend the solo exhibition!