Heaven Sent; Artist Corrie Chiswell Was Inspired by the North Wales Landscape, Fairytales and Literature as She Worked on Her New Exhibition. Karen Price Chats to the Artist about the Show

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Byline: Karen Price

CORRIE Chiswell admits she was something of "a late starter" when it came to finding her niche as an artiss s t.

While her mainly figurative pieces have won a wealth of accolades in recent years - including second prize in the Welsh Portrait Award 2008 and the painting prize in Welsh Artist of the Year 2009 - she says that it took her a while to feel happy with her work.

"I enjoy it more now," she says of painting. "I think it just gets better and better. I spent a long time trying to find a comfortable place.

s "I'm a late developing artist. But I know what I want now and what I'm doing. I did a lot of abstract work at art school but I've come back to representational work, which I avoided doing for a long time. But I'm comfortable with the way my work is now."

Last night, her latest show opened at Off The Wall Gallery in Cardiff. It comes two years since her last solo exhibition at the gallery, In Remembrance, which was influenced by the death of her grandmother Catriona.

The latest collection of 25 paintings - Heaven And Earth - celebrates the landscape and the figure.

Chiswell draws inspiration from myths, fairytales and literature but also the world about her - our interaction with the commonplace and the spiritual, the conscious and the sub-conscious.

But while she's a mainly figurative artist, this display is also inspired by the natural beauty of North Wales where she recently holidayed.

"Landscape is not a departure for me but it's not really featured in an exhibition before," says Chiswell, who is originally from Edinburgh but now lives in Cardiff.

"I'm always sketching wherever I go. I spent some time recently in Portmeirion and it was so beautiful there. As I travelled around North Wales, I was really affected by the landscape - because I live in the city, I'm not surrounded by this kind of scenery all of the time. So I spent the week sketching and when I came back, I produced work in my studio incorporating the themes."

But while Chiswell's work embraces realism, it also continues to evoke those things we do not see. …