Catherine Hamilton

Represented by Laguna Art Gallery Los Angeles M.A.D. Galery milan Without Pier Gallery Melbourne Mannyung Gallery Flinders Victoria Australia

Much of my work is produced from recollections – recollections of experiences, emotional responses and visual memory. This particularly applies to my portrait and landscape works. I often put together small sketches using pencil, charcoal or pen and ink, initially worked from life. I make a record of the colours; collecting colours from the landscape, the seashore. I set up unusual still life to create ideas. I write about time and place maybe feelings and emotion a response to the subject.

I use a camera on occasions the photos become a means of jogging my memory rather than an image to copy from. My work is often spontaneous. I like to work from memory, whether it is a face or a place, a journey or an experience. I push my own boundaries, creating difficulties to solve within the work.

I work on each painting from start to finish, working quickly, keeping the paint pliable and workable to create the shifting nuances of colour and tone. I create the marks using broad brushes, a palette knife and create spontaneous marks by dipping the fine ends of sticks to apply the paint. Scumbling and splattering create the fragmented marks of paint. I push the limits both in the medium but also the colour and apply various and numerous glazes to create texture and depth.

I work in acrylic or oil, sometimes applying the paint in various layers of glazes and transitions of colour. I always select a limited palette, usually of three tubes of paint plus white. Colour and colour mixing come naturally and almost all of my paintings are worked in this limited palette but often use a transparent red or transparent yellow oxide to wash over the canvas before I start. The discipline of using so few colours, of working quickly, wet into wet, to create each mix on the canvas, almost translates the physics of colour itself, with just the three tubes being mixed to develop a fuller palette of harmonious colours.

Music is a vitally important part of my painting. I choose to listen to compositions that conjure up a visual, personal intimacy to my works. Indeed, music has a strongly visual component for me that, with the painting, can bring together sight and sound and keep the work in flow. I experience synaesthesia, the ability of seeing colour in music. This becomes an intimate link from subject to colour to music. The palette is totally created from the music itself. The undulations and rhythm of the music create a pulse to the painting process.

Studying masters of painting such as Delacroix (and his use of colour), Monet (as a conceptual impressionistic artist with his works of the water lilies), Van Gogh, Turner and Rembrandt, Singer-Sargeant and also today’s great masters such as US artists David Leffel and Richard Schmidt and my time spent with UK painters Ken Howard and Ken Paine, have provided an immense source of influence and inspiration and a knowledge and appreciation for the use of colour and light. My studies have instilled a confidence in me to work in a way that stems from a purely emotional response to my subjects rather than thinking too much about replicating a precise scene.

Working on my pieces is an evolution. When I work, the start of a piece becomes the finish. The most important part of working on a painting or drawing is the journey, not thinking too much, keeping in flow and just allowing the concept to develop.