The Sensitive World of Cathy Gilday

Personal experience and honesty are elements that fuel a very important aspect of creating. The inner world is paramount for the artist to express, and such is the need for self-expression for Cathy Gilday.  Her otherworldly images, and dreamy color palette create rich emotional landscapes that capture certain difficult moments in her life, and her determination to express herself. 
I often feel like an explorer when viewing her work - a sense of travel and movement is invoked in me as I navigate through her sensitive world, and imaginative choice of color; her poignant emotive response to her way of interpreting things is evident in her art. I find myself in another land and place altogether, visiting someone else's dream and feelings.
Cathy states why it's important for artists to be true to themselves, her personal creative process, her first job as a child, and her incurable insomnia that allows her to create and write late into the night.

Depths Beyond

What medium do you usually work with?
I mostly work with acrylics, however I also love mixed media and very recently I’ve been enjoying the combination of inks & watercolour.

How long have you been drawing/painting?
As a child, my very first job was in an art & craft shop on a Saturday morning. I would be paid with my choice of art supplies instead of money. I believe this fueled my interest in art and in some form or another, I have been creating ever since. Having said that, I began china painting approximately 20 years ago and have been painting on a more serious level for the last 12 years.

Tell us about what motivates you to do your art. Your purpose to create the work you create.
 For me, the motivation behind my art is this intense need to express myself. It could be joy, sadness, beauty, frustration, the need to make a statement, whatever…. I feel an incredible satisfaction from being able to express my feelings on canvas, with complete honesty & compassion.


Implosive Thoughts

Patience is a Virtue
 Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from so many different avenues, but mostly from my own life experiences. Nature is another great catalyst and I also write poetry, such as this one, which will often lead to a painting.
My Eyes
They’re feeding me images,
They draw it all in,
My eyes are wide open,
It’s where I begin.
With these I create,
Through touch, stroke and feel,
My hands are my tools,
Which make it all real.
Reaching like tentacles,
Branching to the unknown,
My art is my passion,
From which I have grown

 Pick up to three artworks of yours that are the most meaningful/personal to you.
Laying Agonies To Rest

Purple Cure

Life Support

 Pick one artwork of yours you’d like to talk about more in depth.
Sunken Treasures... Elements of Me
So, what began as an exercise, went on to be a three week journey!
The intent was to pick items in my home, that relate to myself on a very personal level. I referred to each of these items as “My treasures.” They were buried down into a bed of pebbles. Then I proceeded to flood them with a wash of water, the koi fish, water lilies, and finally adding ripples above the surface. The layers in the painting, being a metaphor for the many layers that make a person who they are.
This whole process seems so very technical, but the painting ended up being such a personal piece. Each of these sunken treasures, has it’s own little story in my life, they are the elements, that make me, “me.” I found this to be a difficult painting to create, but it was worth the effort and will always remain with my family.

I’ve noticed that in your work you express several styles such as floral, surreal, abstract, with a constant beautiful color palette throughout your works. Before you start a piece do you know beforehand what “style” and colors you want it to be in, or does it develop and grow as you progress on an art piece?

 Although I have no definite style that I stick to, I do favour semi-abstract, surreal & fantasy art. These styles allow me the freedom to express myself without rigid rules. There are times when I set out to paint something and my mindset doesn't change at all from the beginning to end. But then there are times when I just go with the mood I might be feeling at that time. Of course, if a painting is created over a longer period of time, this mood or feeling may change completely, to how it was at the beginning. This in turn, may have a huge impact on how the painting will finish up. I am not really bothered by this though, as I feel that I have allowed the work to evolve.
Reflections & Beyond
Colour is something that I very rarely plan. I don’t set out to paint something in specific colours, unless it’s a commission piece, preferring to just go with what pleases my eye as the work progresses. I do however enjoy using multiple colours and glazing techniques to create depth and tonal value in my paintings. This is a slow but rewarding process, as it gives me the opportunity to assess the painting after each glaze, as it dries. To me, an art piece should not be rushed or forced. When I begin a piece, it is the start of a new journey and I am absorbed in my work, thus time is not a factor.

Impressions of Autumn

Tell us something about you we don’t know, maybe something quirky or awkward or unique ;)
Something you think that makes you who you are.
 I am a chronic insomniac, who will often stay up and paint, draw or write poetry. I don’t feel I have the time to pick up a book or read a magazine as I am always grasping for more time to create, and sometimes fear that I will never be able to achieve all the projects I have in “That list,” that lives in my head! Art is my way of celebrating or dealing with things. I guess it’s like self therapy.

Is there anything you’d like to tell other artists and people reading this? Any words of inspiration to encourage or stimulate creativity in society?
 My words of encouragement are probably not going to help if you are trying to make a living from art. I live by the rule, “Be true to yourself”…. I don’t paint for others, for the market or for the galleries. That probably doesn't make me the richest artist, but it does make me happy. I love to create, but I also like to have the freedom to create what I wish and not what’s commercially viable. 
Several difficult years battling illness, have taught me an important lesson. Be free to create, with complete honesty and without fear of rejection or judgement. It’s very rewarding!

The Discovery

Escaping the Fishbowl

The Infuriation of Mother Earth


Game of Life
Autumn Vision


Hold On Tight

To view more of Cathy Gilday's artwork, go to:

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