*PLEASE NOTE* Courtyard Arts Gallery viewing is currently strictly by appointment only
Gillian McKenna is a local artist who has been closely associated with Courtyard Arts for many years.
Gilly was born in Kenya, from the Swift family of early pioneering coffee farmers. She later settled in England with her husband in 1968. Gilly graduated with a degree in Art & Design from the University of Hertfordshire in 1997. She has been a resident of Hertford since 2007 and for many years rented a studio at Courtyard Arts where she also taught a very popular mixed media class.
Gillian’s paintings, both abstract and semi-abstract, are about the space, silence and hues of Kenya’s noble landscapes. As a child, she used to fly over the 300 miles of scrubland between Nairobi and Mombasa and images of the markings of the land remained with her. She saw dry riverbeds, random dots, meandering lines and faint traces of human habitation; the colours of the land wavering from silvery straw to faint, warm pink caused by laterite. On the ground, she imagined sitting on a rock with the sun on her face, hearing the occasional birdcall and the rustle of wind shaking seeds from the grass.
The colours of Gillian’s work are very African and can be found in the precious collection of bark, shells, fossils, stones and vegetal forms which inspired her and were displayed on her studio shelves at Courtyard Arts.
During her years as a Courtyard studio resident, Gillian was an integral part of the Courtyard community – as an artist, a tutor and a volunteer. The response to Gillian’s presence was and is always enjoyment and laughter. It is giving her great delight to be exhibiting her work again on the walls of the Gallery.