Zeus

Hand with bangled covered wrist cutting canvas with scissors guided by stretcher bar, monochrome

It did get cooler. We had a couple of days of rain. The plants around the house are lifting their heads with relief. The stinging nettles are particularly energetic.

I took the opportunity to stretch canvas.

Woman, Catherine Forshall, crouching to cut canvas with scissors, on cement floor, using canvas stretcher as as template, stone wall, bicycle and table in background

The canvases are the platforms for paintings which I will show in November at the Flying Colours Gallery in Chelsea.

Face of fish, St Pierre, John Dory, Zeus Faber, in profile, against bluish background from painting by Catherine Forshall

This is a detail from one, Zeus, a painting of a John Dory, (Zeus faber), or St Pierre in French.

The Flying Colours Gallery have taken some of my work to the Edinburgh Festival and are showing at 6A Dundas Street 11th – 19th August, Monday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.

If you would like to be kept informed of my shows and other events please email me at http://catherineforshallpainting@gmail.com

All photographs © James Forshall

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 catherineforshall@yahoo.co.uk

Photographs taken in the Lot, France © James Forshall

Low Tide

I’ve been working on a large canvas of sea shells

Sea painting, shells, sea shells, marine painting, hand and brush painting sea shells on canvas

 

Detail, Lutaria Lutaria, Otter shell from painting 'Low Tide' by Catherine Forshall

 

My pallet, pallet of Catherine Forshall for painting of 'Low Tide'

This is my palette.  I use anything to hand: a piece of old card board, a used envelope, or in this case a pad of lined refill paper.  I do have a proper palette but I find it a bit heavy. In this case I used the palette for mixing paint but also to display the shells which I am using as reference.

Catherine Forshall painting, holding a brush in one hand and

Collection of objects used by Catherine Forshall in painting of 'Vortex' and 'Low Tide'

This is a collection of objects which I have used while painting ‘Low Tide’ and another recent painting, ‘Vortex’, the kind of things you’d find on the tide line, bottles, bit’s of bamboo, a yoghurt pot, a dead fish, seashells, a bit of old newspaper but all tidied, compressed into this rectangle after work. The liquid in the glass is diluted ink.

All photographs © James Forshall

 

 

Tidal Pool

Painting acrylic on canvas, mixed media, shoal of fish against water background, 35.43ins x 35.43ins, 90cms x 90cms, by Catherine Forshall

This shoal of fish has been moving around my house as I work on it.  They’ve spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen. I look at it in different lights and in different places and now that I’m happy with it I’ve signed it and the shoal will be traveling in a van to the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery, near Petworth, West Sussex.

Photography http://www.jamesforshallphotography.com

Painting Lobster

Lobster painting by Catherine Forshall

I’ve been painting and sketching this lobster for a long time.  He has gone off.   There is a strong smell of bouillabaisse, but not as nice.  Our collie, Fizz, sniffs it appreciatively though.

Lobster on Financial TimesI find him strangely comforting.

I can’t visit the Aquarium in Plymouth often, so my local fish monger, Richard of Gibson’s Plaice in Exeter supplies me with fish he buys down in Brixham. Of course they are dead. The colours go off quickly.

Catherine Forshall painting lobsterWhen I received this lobster he was frozen. A fine dusting of frost covered him. One of his antennae had broken.

Ink sketch of lobster by Catherine Forshall, lobster on Financial TimesI started by sketching him and then I painted him.  I have to imagine him alive. By the time I had finished he had turned from blue to black.

Catherine Forshall painting lobster, lobster on Financial Times, tubes of paint

All photographs © James Forshall

Razor Fish (xyrichtys novacula) in Menorca

I am in Menorca.

Man with cigarette mending net Mahon     © James Forshall

We are staying with an old friend on the other side of the harbour and yesterday when the others went off to an organ recital I went to the fish market to sketch some of the local fish.  The market is surrounded by a windowed cloister where the merchants have their stands selling squid, octopus, spider crab, tuna, bass, bream and the friture of the mediterranean, small rascla, gallina, cerrano, cerrano imperiale, salmonetes, and Jureles.

Rao, Razor Fish, Lolitos          © James Forshall

A small orange fish with black and yellow eyes, a small mouth and blue stripes down the side of his face caught my eye. The local bye laws only permit him to be fished for a week a year, from the first of September. Fishing outside this period incurs a fine of 150 euros. When threatened he dives down and buries himself in the sand.

Two women consult notebook at fish counter© James Forshall

 

Fish in weighing scale, large finger points down at fish eye

Fish scales              © James Forshall

 

I had never seen this fish before and had to ask the fishmonger to write down his name, Rao, Lolitos or in English Razor fish, though I hazard the name Razor fish is the local name Rao anglicised by the English sailors who were stationed here after the island came into British hands falling the treaty of Utrecht (1713).

 

_DSF2358 Catherine Forshall Mahon © James Forshall     © James Forshall

We went down to the harbour,  where some men, their equipment moved around in liberated supermarket trolleys,  were mending nets and where I did some sketching and then lay on one of the  pontoons between the boats, dozing in the sun.

Coil of rope, Catherine Forshall sketching                             © James Forshall

 

Rao, Lolitos, Razor fish, small orange fish sketched by Catherine Forshall Lolitos, Rao, Razor fish sketch                          ©  James Forshall

hands mending net, Mahon                 ©  James ForshallConcertina note book sketches of Rao, Razor Fish, Lolitos, Rougets, on terrace ballustrade, Mahon, MenorcaFish sketches      ©  James Forshall

I will use these sketches for some large scale paintings when I return to Britain.