We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase some of the stunning pieces created by Kirsten Harris. Kirsten has managed to enhance the beauty of the Castle by exhibiting her work throughout the Castle, The Oak Lounge, Alexander Lounge and Tinto View Restaurant. Come to Shieldhill Castle this weekend to view some of her work or even take a piece home with you. In light of working with Kirsten we thought to share with you a little more details about her passion and how she began working with Shieldhill Castle from Kirsten herself.
How long have you been creating art and what made you want to share it with the world?
I have been painting since a child and went to art school in the 80’s. However it wasn’t until about ten years later that I started selling my art after meeting a shaman and artist in Zimbabwe. He gave me two pieces of advice that transformed my work. The first was ‘finish every piece you start, even if it is not your best’ and secondly, ‘the life is in the eyes, if you get the eyes right you can do anything you like with the paint.’ Literally, within days I started selling my work and haven’t looked back.
What makes you want to work with Shieldhill Castle and display your creations on the castle walls?
I like to take my art out of the gallery situation and find unusual places to exhibit. I was painting some large paintings and had the crazy thought one evening that it would be fun to find a castle to exhibit in. I then remembered that Shieldhill Castle which is local had recently been sold and decided to drive over and ask. (See Kirsten’s Blog for more details) Then Covid happened at the time Shieldhill was due to launch and everything was postponed.
Lockdown gave me a chance to make work specifically for certain areas of the castle and I am delighted how right the work looks with the fabulous refurbishment that Shieldhill has undergone. Art specifically for interior design is an area that I would love to continue to explore.
What are some of your favourite pieces you have on display at Shieldhill Castle and why?
In the Dining Room there is a large painting called ‘If Wishes Were Horses.’ The expression was first recorded in the seventeenth century by James Carmichael of neighbouring Carmichael Estate, just under Tinto Hill, which can be seen from the Dining Room window at Shieldhill. The painting hangs in the perfect historical setting and I love the recently exposed stone wall that it hangs on.
The drawing room contains paintings made during lockdown. These are painted on reclaimed wood with chalk paint that I had leftover from painting furniture and framed in antique frames that I had collected over the years and had in my studio. The inspiration comes from Medieval tapestries and the stunning wood panelled room is the perfect setting for the paintings which give a contemporary twist but are in keeping with the age and style of the room. (See Kirsten’s Blog for more details)
In the stone flagged entrance hall I have displayed some pencil drawings. My favourite is ‘The Grey Lady of Shieldhill,’ (See Kirsten’s Blog for more details) a drawing which tells the sad story of the castle’s ghost. The halls ancient grey flagstones and graphite pencil are a perfect compliment. Another drawing tells the story in ‘On Tinto Top’ a local rhyme.
The chance to hang my artwork in a fabulous setting is inspiring especially as much of my work is about the history of the area. I am grateful to the family and Shieldhill Castle for their support. I really hope that visitors enjoy the artwork as part of their stay at this beautifully restored historic castle.