An exhibition of artwork by Artist In Residence Cathy Wilson on display in the Priory throughout April 2016.
I completed these portraits whilst I was Artist in Residence at the Priory from April 2014 to April 2016. This exhibition marks the end of the Residency and runs for the month of April 2016. My studio space during the residency was the room under the Bell Tower and when I was working, members of the public and staff of the Priory had access to watch me work as well as to see the progress of the drawings when I wasn’t around.
The first stage of the work involved asking people if they would let medraw them. To my surprise, all but one person agreed and the rest were willing to come to my studio on Castle Park to be photographed. I then worked directly from these photographs using soft pastel on watercolour paper, now and again walking the length of the Church to view the drawings from a distance. Some of the people I chose myself, others were suggested to me, but every face I have drawn posed a unique challenge and it has proved to be an incredibly enjoyable process.
I have tried to include a variety of ages, ethnicity and roughly the same number of men and women, to highlight the rich diversity of life in this Church. Some faces will be easily recognisable, others less so, but all are connected with the Priory, in some way such as members of the Clergy, Vergers, those who work in the gift shop and members of the congregation. I have tried to imbue the drawings with life and light, paying particular attention to details of skin texture, and colour, emphasising lines and creases in the skin. I want to place particular focus on the eyes.
There is a passage in scripture that I have in mind relating to this. It comes
from Luke 11: 34 – 36, where Jesus says “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your
eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light, but when they are bad, your whole
body is full of darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it
dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you”.
I have found that in making this series of drawings, my work has taken on a
new direction. Whereas previously I worked from photographs in magazines,
predominantly of young and smooth skinned models, I am now working from
photographs of people that I have a connection to, with all the character of a life lived
in their faces.
I aim to continue making work in this vein and have plans to make two
drawings, each twice the size of these, to be included in a group exhibition by Luneside
Studios in the gallery at the Storey throughout July and August 2016.
With the kind help of Paul Mullineaux, I now have a website and publicity
leaflet about myself, which can be found in the Church. If you would like to contact me
or view more examples of my work, my website is cathywilsonart.co.uk. I would gladly
take commission requests.
I would like to thank Reverend Chris Newlands for organising this Residency
and giving me such encouragement as well as all the people I have drawn for their
bravery posing for such large scale portraits, also Tom the verger and my fiance David
for their help hanging the exhibition.
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