Question & Answer with CATRIONA MILLAR

From her home on England's south coast, Catriona Millar talks about her work and influences and relationship with the North East of Scotland.
March 30, 2022
Question & Answer with CATRIONA MILLAR

Have you always known that you wanted to become an artist? 

I don't think people decide to become an artist. It's something that happens to you when you are young, normally in a Maths class. I remember always being creative in one way or another and I was lucky enough to go to art school twice. The first time I was only 15 and that was in Harrogate, the second time was Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen. I went in one type of artist and came out another. It was a defining experience.


What are the key themes in your work?

I'm not conscious of creating or working with themes. People and pattern are my main concerns and how they interact. The creative process is basically a primal urge to reproduce so it seems natural to paint people.

What attracts you to the medium you work in?

Oil is the most forgiving medium and you can do so much with it. Paint just needs to come off sometimes. 


What equipment could you not do without?

My palette knife which I mostly paint with. I have hundreds of brushes which I rarely use. But I like the shape they make when they are displayed in bunches. And probably Alexa as I listen to audiobooks when I'm working.


Who or what inspires you?

Again it's people. Faces fascinate me. The slightest change in the light or mood can change how we see a person so dramatically. If I can catch something near that instant then I'm happy.

How is your work affected by living on the south coast of England?

The light is startling in the south and very different to the north of Scotland where we lived for many years and that has an effect on my work, and the amount of different, interesting people. In the country in Scotland, I saw a lot of cows.

What's your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)? 

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery, but I love the British Museum and the V&A.

If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why? 

I'm not a collaborator I'm afraid. I don't know how people can do that. I'm strictly a solo artist.


What's your favourite colour?

The colour I've just mixed and to my surprise works a treat.