Friday 14 August 2020
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PROFILE: "I cannot be away from the sea"


Sunday 14 June 2020

PROFILE: "I cannot be away from the sea"

One of the Jersey's best-loved nautical artists has shared how moving to the sea-surrounded island 20 years ago eventually led her to leave her career as a doctor to make a splash in the art world.

Fish, puffins, seahorses, lobsters, crabs, sea urchins, painted in an array of blues on pieces of driftwood... It’s obvious that Katherine Cadin’s main inspiration is the sea.

“One major influence is the sea,” she says. “I cannot be away from the sea.”

Although Jersey seems like the ideal inspiration grounds for Katherine, she didn’t come to the island as an artist.

When she moved to Jersey 20 years ago, Katherine was a doctor. “I have always loved painting,” she explains. 


Pictured: Katherine's inspiration comes from the sea.

“As I was going through school I was torn between art and science. I chose medicine and worked as a doctor, but I painted in my ‘down-time’ to relax between the on calls.

"A few years later, I moved to Jersey, I was still working as a doctor and I did an art foundation degree at Highlands College, it was a four-year part-time degree.

“At the end, I thought ‘something has got to give’. I gave up medicine and I never looked back. It was a long way to get here but I am absolutely loving it.”


Pictured: . When she moved to Jersey twenty years ago, Katherine was a doctor.

Her degree not only convinced Katherine to take a new direction in her career, but also helped her found her style, which she says matured over the years. 

“When I first started painting, I thought it had to be very realistic, it was the only way I knew how. I started off doing portraits as realistic as possible - trying to get the best likeness. As I went through the degree, my ideas changed.

"Now it’s almost the opposite of realism, it’s abstract.”


Pictured: Aboriginal art is another big influence in Katherine's work.

Katherine lived and travelled in Australia, a “big turning point” in her artistic journey. Aboriginal art is another big influence in her work.

“Aborigines produce a beautiful picture with the simplest of details. They have one stick to paint, and they do dots, and the way they put them together they create an image.”

Katherine’s Greek heritage also plays an important part. The Mediterranean Sea, the blues and white colours, the eye symbol known in Greece to ward off evil, all mix into the patterns that are so characteristic of her work.  


Pictured: The Mediterranean Sea, the blues and white colours, the eye symbol known in Greece to ward off evil, all mix into Katherine's patterns.

Detailed and intricate as they are, it is hard to believe Katherine never plans her designs.

“I sketch out a very rough outline,” she explains. “Then I work out the base colour and build layers of paint over several days, the paint has to dry between each colour. It gradually comes together. I never plan the design; it comes to me as I am working. That’s why they are all completely different.

“They are very, very bright and quite quirky. I think they make people smile. They are happy pieces, full of colour and they seem to go down well. I paint what I love, and I am very happy that people seem to like it.”


Pictured: Rockpool, a ceramic sculpture featuring a lobster, crab and various other rockpool dwellers, will be in CCA Galleries International's Summer Exhibition.

Over the last few months, Katherine has been slowly building a body of work for a solo exhibition. Before then, you will get to see three of her pieces in the Summer Exhibition at CCA Galleries International.

One of them, called ‘Rockpool’, is a ceramic sculpture featuring a lobster, crab and various other rockpool dwellers with different types of seaweed, presented in a bell specimen jar like the scientific exhibits you would see in the Victorian era in museums, or taxidermy specimens. 

“It’s something new I tried,” Katherine said.

The artist also experienced during lockdown, creating free detailed drawings which she has been sharing on her Facebook page, inviting islanders to unleash their creativity to colour them in.

“I don’t normally draw so it made me focus,” Katherine says.

“It’s been good for me to do the drawings; they have to be very detailed. It was out of my comfort zone. You have to challenge yourself so that you do not end up stuck.”


Pictured: “Art is very therapeutic,' Katherine said.

“Art is very therapeutic, especially drawing and colouring, it’s very calming,” she adds. 

“The response has been really positive. People have found the drawings relaxing, they have been enjoying getting into the arts again, taking some time for themselves and doing something different.”

This article first appeared in the June edition of Connect Magazine, which you can read by clicking HERE.

GALLERY: Discover Katherine's work...

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