Arts Mentoring Mentee’s solo exhibition launch

‘The Fork in the Road’  exhibition by Catriona Johnston
Launch night 13 December 2017  6:00pm – 8:00pm
Open to the public 13-14 December 2017: Daily 10:30am – 5:30pm
The Gallery , Playhouse Derry

‘Abstract’ (Flower Study) Acrylic on canvas board,
Catriona Johnston 2017
As Catriona’s visual arts mentor, I am privileged to have been part of the process that has seen the development of her artwork, cultural interests and commitment to the PAF programmes during 2017.  Beginning with the ‘First Steps’ programme, graduating onto ‘Creative Futures’ and culminating with this public showcase in the Playhouse Community Gallery, Catriona’s artistic talents have been developed through her hard work and enthusiastic participation on both programmes.  As is evident from the work on show in The Fork in the Road exhibition, the focus on 2D activities and experimentation has produced an expressive and individual series of artworks in acrylic painting, sketches in pencil, charcoal, Indian ink and collage.  Catriona has developed skills in ‘Plein air’ (outdoors) observational drawing, still life, composition and perspective studies, and with a natural flair for colour and abstract mark-making, her sense of increasing confidence and enjoyment shines through the work on show.  It has been a pleasure to visit local galleries in the city and exhibitions in Belfast together, including Time to Change – NI Arts and Mental Health Festival, 16-29 May, which exhibited one of Catriona’s early artworks, a ‘page poem’ entitled Bella’s Story.  As Catriona’s own art ‘Story’ continues, with plans to submit to the Koestler Trust Exhibition in 2018, I am excited about her achievements to date, and really looking forward to seeing how the artwork develops in the future.
Catriona herself would like to close by saying that “I have loved every minute of the mentoring programme.  The sessions have really helped me adjust to being back out of prison.  The Prison Arts Foundation staff and my mentor have inspired me and gave me the confidence to pursue my love of art.”
Exhibition generously supported by

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