Project Description

Catherine MacDiarmid

Catherine MacDiarmid

About Catherine MacDiarmid

I am an Artist currently living and working in my hometown of Kendal in Cumbria with my three children.  As well as a practising artist I teach Adult Education courses at the local Arts Centre and for other Arts organisations.

I work mainly in oils and charcoal, and sometimes in watercolour, pastel and pencil.   draw inspiration for my art from the people around me.  Close friends and family feature frequently in my portraits and/or more narrative based art.  A thoughtful look or individuals reaction to, or conduct in, a particular event or situation inspires my work, often developed on themes, therefore several pieces are created over longer periods of time.  Behind the Paint is one such theme that explores masks and disguises that can be created with face paint, initiated from face painting my own children when they were younger.  Personal Space is another theme that explores individuals that stand out within a crowd, look isolated or on the periphery.  

I also work on private portrait commissions, which can be started from life or from photographs that I take myself, then completed back in my home studio.


1994 First Class (Hons) Degree in Visual Arts De Montfort University

1991 Fine Art Foundation Carlisle College of Art and Design

I have been shortlisted for the The Castlegate Prize showcasing in September 2020 at the Castlegate House Gallery in Cockermouth.  Find out more at

I exhibit annually with the Lakes Artists Society,  South Lakes Arts Collective and Green Door Artists.

Selected Exhibitions


The Pastel Society, Mall Galleries, London

Perceptions, CBPP inaugural exhibition, The Space at Cass Art, London

Significant Forms, Barrow Dock Museum, Barrow

Upfront Annual Open, Penrith

Personal, Solo Exhibition, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Cumbria
Jacksons Painting Prize, Hampstead Affordable Art Fair, short-listed
Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 Exhibition, Clarendon Mayfair Gallery and Whitewall Galleries Tour
Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour annual exhibition, Mall Galleries
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) annual prize exhibition
Upfront Open (honourable mention), Penrith

The Artists Magazine Open, Patchings Art Centre
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) annual prize exhibition
Without Boundaries,The Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness
Upfront Open (prize winner), Penrith

RBSA annual Portrait Prize exhibition
Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year 2017 (prize winner), Mall Galleries

RBSA annual prize exhibition (prize winner)
RSWP annual exhibition, Mall Galleries
Cumbrian Artist of the Year, Reghed, Penrith
Up Front Open (prize winner), Penrith

The Artists Eye, Brewhouse, Kendal
Open Up North, Kendal

FACE2: Touring Exhibition, Warehouse Gallery, Kendal, Wrexham Arts Centre, and The Roxy Art House, Edinburgh

Preface, Sugar Store Gallery, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

Not The Turner Prize, The Mall Galleries, London

Brewery Open (first prize), Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
BP Portrait Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, Aberdeen City Art Gallery

BP Portrait Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, Millennium Galleries, Sheffield