Kirsty Wither: Oil painter/gallerist

June 25, 2019

 

 

On… her training
I went to school in Helensburgh, near Glasgow, and studied painting at Gray’s School of Art, in Aberdeen. After graduating I was lucky enough to get a part-time job in the Gatehouse Gallery in Glasgow, which enabled me to fund my career as an artist, as well as learn the ropes of how a gallery worked. I’m very grateful to the owner, Annie Mendelow, who now lives and works in Hove.


On… her major influences
I used to frequently visit the major galleries in Scotland, and was very taken by the Scottish Colourists. Also Sir Robin Philipson, who was head of the Edinburgh School of Art, a very vibrant figurative artist. And I’ve always loved the work of Joan Eardley, a very painterly painter, who used colour with such energy.


On… her style
I always work in oils, and always have. I started off focusing on nudes, and while my work has moved on a lot since then, there’s a continuous thread from those paintings to the ones I do today, which are generally landscapes and flowers. I never have the subject matter – or photographs or sketches – in front of me, when I work. I subconsciously take things in on my travels, which are channelled through my imagination, onto the canvas. There’s not much botanical reality about my flowers, and they are rarely rooted by stalks or stems. I’m aiming for colour-filled impact.


On… her modus operandi
I’m fortunate enough to have a sizeable studio in a mews in Kemp Town, where I work every weekday, from 10.30am to 6 or 7pm. I paint in layers, and the image develops over time. Painting in oil means I can change shapes and positions and colours until I have created a dynamic I am satisfied with. I work on an image until I can go no further, then move onto another: I am always working on at least five at a time. Then I return to it – dry or wet – with a fresh mind. Sometimes I scratch back paint to reveal the different colours beneath. There’s a lot of texture to the paintings. 

 

On… ‘Limes and Sprigs’ (pictured)
I swim in the sea every day, and while this painting appears to be depicting a vase of flowers, it is really about the effect of the water and my memory of its colours.


On… Cameron Contemporary Art 
I started the gallery with my husband Robin, six years ago. We realised there weren’t many fine art galleries in Brighton, and wanted to fill that niche. He can’t even draw a stick man but he’s very creative and knowledgeable about fine art. 


On… the effect of her work
I like my work to be uplifting and joyful. I love what one buyer told me: “When I open the door and see the painting, I feel like someone’s given me a fresh bunch of flowers. And that happens every day!”


Cameron Contemporary Art, 1 Victoria Grove, Hove

cameroncontemporaryart.com

 

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