Artist Cate McFarland Specialises In Fine Art Nudes

Artist Cate McFarland Finds Her Niche In Nude Portraiture

 Artist Cate McFarland Finds Her Niche In Nude Portraiture

County Down artist Cate McFarland has found a new confidence in her art as she draws nudes.

Cate McFarland has just set up a studio at the Down Business Centre in Downpatrick and is keen to develop her niche pastel and chalk drawings to a new fine art level and for a new audience.

Specialising in nude fine art of the female form, Cate explained that she started off drawing as a young child who wanted to capture the essence of her subject and not draw stick figures.

Despite progressing her art throughout school Cate went on to have a successful career in IT before becoming a mum to her two sons and focusing on her family.

Artist Cate McFarland pictured at work on a nude portrait in her studio in Downpatrick. (Photo: Jim Masson © ).

Cate said that she had all but lost confidence and interest in her art until a couple of years ago when the desire to create took hold and she drew her first pastel nude.

“My mother was a talented artist and she always encouraged me to get back into it. She specialised in watercolour landscapes and still life but had painted nudes and other genres.

“I thought nothing of nude sketches of the female form growing up. It seemed very normal. It was just art.”

“I had previously done some horse portraits but drawing the female body as an art form became a new challenge I enjoyed. With each piece my confidence grew as did my artistic eye.

“The soft curves of the female body I find very aesthetically seductive. Showing off the musculature underneath the skin along with the elegant lines, conveying the sensuality and strength of a woman’s body.”

Cate’s mother had taken ill quite suddenly before Christmas and passed away 10 weeks after her cancer was diagnosed.

Cate had continued to draw at home and showed her work to her mum, whom she was caring for full-time and whose expert feedback she valued.

“I’d draw my ladies, then take them up to her to comment on. She saw real potential in my work and encouraged me to put it out there for people to see and to exhibit and sell.

“She would joke that she wanted me to become a famous artist before she died”.

“But then after my mum passed away, I l found I could no longer work in the house. I had lost my desire to create and could find no joy in it.

A drawing showing the Gaelige Valkyrie style of Cate McFarland’s work.
(Drawings © of Cate McFarland).

“Then a close friend insisted I keep on working. My heart wasn’t in it but, nevertheless, I set up an Etsy Shop and started selling my fine art nude prints, and I rented this studio space.

“The softness of the pastel with the sensual power of the female body was something I could work with and I started to produce drawings at a faster rate. The new space inspired me and my work has really begun to blossom.

“I’ve experimented with what I actually include in the lady’s form – I begin with a full body image and then crop it down to the area I feel most drawn to reproduce. This varies depending on the pose and the model’s body.

“I have stayed in relatively good shape throughout my life, loving a physical challenge. Most recently doing winter and ice swimming.

“Now that I am getting older, I am aware of the changes in my body and how that affects the female form, but also how we maintain a core biological strength. It makes me more appreciative not just of my own body, but the female body as a whole.

“I am inspired by Degas and van Hove, who painted women who were very feminine but also strong with good muscular toning. Showing how we are simultaneously delicate and powerful.

“My various styles all endeavour to capture this oxymoron. From the simplistic voltaic Valkyries up to the much more detailed Gaelic Valkyries.

A one colour, golden toned Gaelige effect.

“I’m always looking for the best way to convey this strength and femininity. I choose the medium based on the image I’m working on. What I want it to say and where I want the emphasis.

“I named four of my series after Valkyries as a nod to our Viking roots here in County Down and recognition of the warrior women we are descended from.

“My newest style is working in graduated charcoal over coloured paper, which creates a soft and flattering finish. It was these pieces that prompted me to think about offering commissions.

“The sitter can be posed and cropped to show off their best assets, while hiding their identity and also enabling them to be as modest or risqué as they choose.

“I’m happy to chat to any lady who thinks this might be for them, or something they might want to give to someone as a gift.

You can contact Cate McFarland through her website and view her work at:

or check out her Etsy shop: 

CateMcFarlandArt – Etsy UK