Festival of Chichester artist Catherine Barnes offers double contribution

Festival of Chichester regular, artist Catherine Barnes will be making a double contribution to this year’s festival.

Catherine Barnes
Catherine Barnes

Taking the River Lavant as her theme, she will be exhibiting first in the new Reception Gallery at Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery from June 8–20 with a show entitled Waterscapes; and then she will be returning to her Covid-safe Pictures in the Porch concept at home, Juno Studio, 107 Cedar Drive, Chichester PO19 3EL on June 25, 26 and 27, from 10.30am-6pm.

“The actual content is the River Lavant. During lockdown we were only able to stay local, and I would walk through the college grounds and then I walked down to the canal and back to my house. It became a place of solace. I got up very early.

“I would be out by 6am last spring, and I didn’t meet anybody. It was just me and the River Lavant for my companion, and I started getting a feel for its personality.

“Sometimes it was in full flow; sometimes it was just trickles. Sometimes it was the reflections which were interesting.

“I looked up about it and realised that the Romans had diverted the river where I was walking past the South Walls, and I was thinking why did it disappear.

“I looked it up and realised that it was a winterbourne (a stream or river that is dry through the summer months).”

Inevitably water is one of the great challenges for an artist: “It is about your depiction of light, your handling of paint.

“If you try to paint water, it will elude you. You have to think what the water is saying back to you. What sort of things. Sometimes it is the reflections; sometimes it is the transparency. The handling of paint becomes almost a subject matter in itself. The image is not incidental, but it is just part of the whole experience of the painting.”

As for Catherine’s Pictures In The Porch, she can have eight to ten paintings on display and she will also have a browser where you can view another 12.

“Because of Covid people can come in one at a time or in their bubbles of two.

“There is a hand sanitiser and the door wide open, and it is a very special time to engage with the paintings in what is the smallest show on earth.

“But it is also the biggest. I have got a catalogue of a hundred works.

“I will put pictures of them up in the car port, and I am asking people to choose two, and my assistant, my darling husband, will then get them from my painting store and bring them around to the side of the house and put them on easels in the car port where people can engage with the paintings.

“I am saying two at a time because I don’t want Paul tripping up carrying them! But he can always go back and get another two!”

Catherine is delighted also to be showing a selection of work in the Oxmarket Gallery.

“I think people are really craving for that experience of seeing the real thing.

“We are dealing with the physical presence of a painting. We have an engagement with it.

“A painting should scoop you up and carry you away, and you can’t get that online when you are looking at a small screen.

“You might get the interest on a small screen, but you just won’t get the real thrill of seeing the actual painting.”

More details festivalofchichester.co.uk