The Sea in my Barn

It’s hot here. 40° degrees C or 104°Fahrenheit. It’s hard to work outside, except early in the morning. We’re under siege. The shutters on the house stay shut until after sunset. It works. The house stays cool and most of the windows in my studio face north.

Catherine Forshall painting sardines in her studio in France

Was that why I started painting the sea and its creatures? To bring the cool blue into this hot dry place?  That might have been part of it, part of why I enjoy it, why it makes me feel happy.

Shells, pencils, a star fish in a wooden trug

I’m painting sardines, Sardine pilchardus. I am calling it Sardine Shoal, though in the sea it would be only a tiny part of the huge murmurations of sardines that makes up a shoal.  Like many fish sardine numbers are under pressure from over fishing. Some scientists think that sardines help to keep the sea healthy and reduce the amount of methane sent into the atmosphere.

Woman in blue denim, Catherine Forshall, painting sardines on canvas in evening light

This painting will go in my forthcoming show, Coast, this November at the Flying Colours Gallery in Chelsea.

Here is a detail.

Two Sardines against a blue background, acrylic on canvas, painting by Catherine Forshall

If you would like to be kept informed of forthcoming exhibitions please email me at

Photographs taken in the Lot, France © James Forshall

5 thoughts on “The Sea in my Barn

  1. Beautiful Paintings and such beautiful weather it looks as though your having. It reminds me of when I was in my younger years growing up. And I would love to visit this place again. It’s times like these I really wanted to go for a swim, and cool off by the pool.

  2. Hi Catherine,
    Lovely to hear about Moulanes and 40 degrees! I picture you in the evenings under the walnut tree and dipping in the pool. Temps here are less impressive, some evenings still putting on the heating.
    It was quite hot in Exeter though a few weeks ago, I looked after Johann whilst Isabel turned Whitley Cottage from a building site into a home. The house looks really lovely now.
    One hot day last year at Cazals market we were told off by a French lady because Johann wasn’t wearing ‘ chausettes ‘ so I hope you are all wearing yours…….
    The sardines look really cool in the blue water.
    Much love to everyone and hope to see you in October.
    Sue xxxx.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s