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about Catherine Rayner | back

Award winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner studied Illustration at Edinburgh College of art. She fell in love with the city and still lives there with her husband, young son and a handful of creatures: Shannon the horse, Ena the grey cat and a goldfish called Richard.

She finds huge inspiration in her pets and often uses them as models, frequently asking Ena to pose so that she can study her posture and movement. Then she translates sketches of Ena into characters such as dragons and hares, not to mention moose and bears! But it was creatures of a wilder kind that inspired her first picture book, Augustus and His Smile - Catherine spent hours and hours watching and sketching tigers (in freezing temperatures) at Edinburgh Zoo.

Winner of the 2009 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for her second book ‘Harris Finds His Feet’, Catherine has now been shortlisted four times for the award. She was also awarded the Best New Illustrator Award at the Booktrust Early Years Awards in 2006 and was named one of Booktrust’s ten Best New Illustrators in 2008. In 2010, she was the inaugural illustrator in residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. In 2012 Catherine’s book ‘Iris and Isaac’ won the UKLA Children’s Book Award and the Dutch edition of ‘Solomon Crocodile’ has been selected as PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014 in The Netherlands by the CPNB.

Catherine employs the use of subtle colour and tone whilst playing with scale, composition and open space to create paintings and silk-screen prints of animals. Her creatures are brought to life using spontaneous and vivacious line that explores movement and personality. With effortless flow Catherine's artwork explores the natural habitat and beauty of creatures many of us take for granted. Facial expressions illustrate curiosity whilst the animals' postures suggest that they have simply strayed into the frame and might just as easily leave it again.

The space Catherine allows her subjects to exist in provides a powerful and sometimes poignant backdrop. Primarily it offers an uninterrupted view of the subject's carefully studied form. Perhaps more importantly however, it asks of the viewer that they use their own intuition, prompting them to contemplate what lies both within and beyond the frame. In effect, this space acts as an imaginative springboard that invites the viewer into the image to explore it for themselves.

Catherine exhibits her work in a small group of carefully selected galleries predominantly in Scotland and was the first new artist selected by Sarah Duggan when she opened Baxters in 2006.

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