‘She is, if you will, a visual poet weaving images, symbols and archetypes into paintings that resonate in the subconscious and linger there like half-remembered dreams or the dark fairy stories with which she has such affiliation’. Pip Palmer, Galleries Magazine
CATHERINE HYDE is an artist, writer, and award-winning Illustrator. She trained in Fine Art Painting at The Central School of Art in London and is represented by The Lighthouse Gallery in Cornwall and Foss Fine Art in London. Over the past decade, her practice has extended into illustration. She has written and illustrated two books of her own: ‘The Hare and the Moon: a calendar of paintings’ (Zephyr) and ‘The Star Tree’ (Frances Lincoln). All of her picture books have been nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award and she was the winner of The English Association Best Illustrated Book Award (Key Stage 2) for The Princess’ Blankets by Carol Ann Duffy. Alongside her paintings and illustrations, she runs her own greeting cards business producing reproductions of her work and creates fine quality Giclee prints which she sells worldwide.
Where light and dark brush past each other
‘As a child, I was lucky enough to be a precocious reader: I devoured Blake, galloped through Grimm (with terror at my heels), constantly revisited the melancholy world of Hans Christian Andersen and gleefully recited the poetry of AA Milne and Spike Milligan. But my greatest love was increasingly for writers where I found not just lyricism but a suggestion of something more indefinable: the landscape shaped by layers of time, the workings of man, and mythology. I was drawn to John Masefield, L.M Boston, Eleanor Farjeon, Elizabeth Goudge and C.S. Lewis who explored history and atmosphere and an indefinable sense of mystery and magic. My utter joy at thirteen was to discover Alan Garner’s classic book The Owl Service and the whole world of archetypal symbolism and myth lay open at my feet.
In my paintings, I use the tree, stag, owl, crow and fish: symbols that are both universal and personal. I also use the mysterious and ancient hare – sometimes as an image of stillness and contemplation and sometimes for its ability to exist between earth and air: pure energy, sheer earthy magic.
I paint with acrylics on a fine-tooth canvas and build the surface with layers of glazes, adding thickening gels, gold and copper leaf and mica flakes for extra texture. I like to move the picture structure around, keeping it fluid and mobile, so that the final image retains energy and atmosphere.
My monochrome paintings are mainly for illustration work and executed on Ampersand Clayboard panels. The surface is made using a kaolin clay which is ground to an extremely smooth, highly absorbent finish (similar to the clay gesso grounds used in the Renaissance). I build loose watery layers and then work into the surface with steel wool and scalpel blades, adding to and shifting the image. Both techniques are a very organic, fluid way of working which gives me both freedom and control.
Over time I have found that the boundaries between my painting and my illustration have become happily mixed, referencing books and words in my paintings and bringing as many painterly qualities to my illustrations as possible.’
Foss Fine Art London
John Noott Gallery, Broadway
Lighthouse Gallery Penzance
‘The Hare and the Moon: a calendar of paintings by Catherine Hyde: Zephyr
Editions 1 – 5: Elementum Journal
‘The Snow Angel’ by Lauren St John: Zephyr
‘The Star Tree’ by Catherine Hyde: Frances Lincoln
Shortlisted for the 2017 Cambridgeshire Children’s Picture Book Award
Nominated for The Kate Greenaway Award
‘Little Evie in the Wild Wood’ by Jackie Morris: Frances Lincoln
Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award
‘Firebird’ by Saviour Pirrotta: Templar Publishing
Awarded an Aesop Accolade by the American Folklore Society
Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award
‘The Princess’s Blankets’ by Carol Ann Duffy: Templar Publishing
Winner of the English Association Best Illustrated book Key Stage 2
Nominated for UKLA and The Kate Greenaway Award
Studio shots by kind permission of Jay Armstrong Photography