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Artist Stories No 2 Kate Downie

Fortnightly during this time of isolation we will be sharing some stories from our artist community to uplift, inspire and keep us all connected. We have Kate Downie, Fife based painter telling us about a ongoing project with her mother.

“These pictures are the fruits of a ‘parallel painting’ project made by myself, artist aged 61, and my mother aged 94, during the past few months.

It started as a ‘thing to do with mum’, living alone in a Glasgow tenement flat, even before the Covid 19 outbreak. I would set up a subject or an idea for a drawing or painting, which we would both work on side by side for 15 or 20 minutes each time. The process has not been easy for her as she battles with diminishing levels of sight, hearing, mobility and memory. The world has shut down around her and despite frequent visits and support from family and carers, she has been becoming increasingly isolated.

Just before the lockdown on March 23rd my partner and I took Mum to live with us in Fife, where we have continued our parallel painting in the Birchtee Studio to complete this small body of twinned paintings.  Through this process I have gained invaluable insights into the ocular distortions of advanced macular degeneration and early dementia. Despite all of these issues my mother gets pleasure from the act of painting and drawing and for minutes at a time is deeply absorbed and entirely happy.”

This project has also been featured in Great Scots in Isolation, which is a series of short 1-2 minute films by Scottish Gallery artists from Scotland, UK and internationally. The series can be viewed and enjoyed in this link here.

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