The light, the incredible detail in the realistic art by this self taught artist from Ireland makes you wonder if you’re looking at a photograph or a painting.. Please meet Catherine Creaney who will tell you all about herself and her art.
I have always enjoyed art but started to develop a true passion for it from the age of about 13 and since then it has became a huge driving force in my life. Self taught I have developed my understanding of art through independent exploration. Mixing trial and error with studying the techniques of artists I admire. I have exhibited in many exhibitions in Ireland and the UK over the last 10 years and have been fortunate enough to have received awards for my work.
I find inspiration from all periods in art history but the art of the Renaissance in particular has been a great inspiration. Artists that have inspired me most are da Vinci and Vermeer for their ability to capture subtle expressions, Caravaggio and Rembrandt for their mastery of lighting in compositions and Durer and Goya for their wonderful engravings. Through out my art career I have explored art from abstraction to classical painting and find keeping an open mind to all art is advantageous in the development of my work.
The majority of my work is focused on portraiture as I find the human face fascinating. Capturing it and the person behind it is something I truly enjoy doing. Revealing expressions that give a vague suggestion of a feeling rather than anything obvious, letting the viewer project their own interpretations on the piece.
At present I work mainly in the mediums of soft pastel, charcoal and oil painting. I value the art of painting and drawing equally, finding each lends different qualities to my work. I enjoy the tonal aspects of drawing in charcoal and find the lack of colour enhances the effects of dramatic lighting which a lot of my compositions hinge on. My works in colour are usually in either soft pastel or oil. My technique in oil is a very time consuming process, involving the development of the work in many layers and glazes. My pastel pieces can be produced a lot faster as I don’t have to wait for layers to dry and I find the medium a lot more effortless to use in comparison.
My process in creating a portrait starts with the intention to capture a person faithfully. I find my best work is when I do not try to hide supposed imperfections but capture the person as they are, as it is these personal traits which make our faces individual and unique. I then use lighting to develop a mood and enhance the 3 dimensional quality of a face. Making quick sketches from life and taking several photos are giving me the best chance of capturing an interesting moment and expression. Then in my studio I work from photos over a period of days, weeks and months depending on scale, medium and the detail of the work.
The method I use to create a piece, regardless of medium, relies on starting with a basic form, mapping out where features go as the main priority and then as the work develops fine tuning details. I think the most important thing with art is to take time over the basic structure of the piece and then the later stages will be less problematic. The creation of my work is like a blurred lens gradually coming into focus.