Inspired by her picturesque surroundings, artist Michelle Duffy’s love of sunsets and water is evident in her acrylic landscape paintings that adorn the walls of her Garrison-based studio/gallery 'Camlake Canvas'.

Here she tells The Impartial Reporter about her artistic background, her most ambitious painting to date and what her art means to her.

JC: What is your artistic background?

MD: I have always loved drawing and painting, as a child I always had a sketch pad with me, I then did A-Level art, a foundation art course and then a degree in Textiles and Fashion in the University of Ulster. This then led me into a career in Interior Design. I worked as a designer for 12 years before concentrating on painting. I would say my technique of painting is self taught.

JC: What inspires your art?

MD: My main inspiration is sunsets and water based scenes, I spend a lot of time with my kids and my camera at sunsets, whether it's at my home village of Garrison or by the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way.

JC: Who/what are your biggest influences?

MD: I would have to say that the beautiful landscapes all around us would be one of my biggest influences, the colours of the skies at sunset are ever changing and continue to amaze me, when the sun shines there really is no better place to be.

JC: Is there a specific place that you do your work?

MD: I am very lucky to own my own studio/gallery in Garrison, it's on the main street and very close to Lough Melvin where I get a lot of my inspiration from.

JC: What has been your most ambitious piece to date?

MD: I had to complete a large panoramic canvas recently for someone and it's the biggest piece I have ever painted, it wouldn’t fit in the studio, so I had to paint it in the gallery space, and just about got it into my car!

JC: What different artistic mediums do you use and which is your favourite?

MD: I use mainly acrylic paints but dabble at times with watercolours, chalks, inks and linocuts.

JC: What are you currently working on?

MD: I am just finishing up a set of paintings for a hotel project- all based on local scenes of Donegal.

JC: Do you exhibit your work anywhere?

MD: I have my gallery to exhibit the main body of my work, and also have work in Bushmills 1608, in Bushmills and The Yard in Hollywood. I also sell my limited edition prints in Gilmartin's Craft Shop, Enniskillen Photo Shop and Harbour road in Bunbeg.

JC: Any new artistic ventures planned for 2019?

MD: I am working on a new textile range, and plan to have my original designs on fabric sold by the metre for interiors schemes, this will add to my cushion and lampshade range.

JC: What has been your favourite project to date?

MD: To be honest I love all my paintings to date, I spend a lot of time and energy on each one and to be honest I get very attached to each one.

JC: What are you up to when you aren’t painting?

MD: When I am not painting I’m usually out and about taking photos.I have three boys and they play a lot of sports so we are travelling around Fermanagh and Donegal. We like to get out to explore new places as well.

JC: How would you describe your artistic style?

MD:I would say my art is vibrant, distinctive, colourful at times, detailed, and to me it's thought provoking and hopefully relaxing.

JC: What does your art mean to you?

MD: My art means a lot to me, it's a kind of therapy! After having my kids I probably didn’t get time to paint and when my dad took ill I started painting and it gave me an escape as such and helped me relax. When my dad passed away in 2015 I felt life was too short so I decided to start concentrating on painting as a career. It helped me through many dark days! My painting brings me to so many beautiful places and has allowed me to meet so many nice people along the way. It still remains very much a form of therapy as my mum battled cancer and sadly passed away last September 2018. She always supported me with my art and encouraged me along the way and I am so glad she was there to see me follow my dream and open my own little gallery, I feel very proud of all my work and love every second and hope this feeling lasts for a very long time.