'When the Tide Turned', a solo exhibition by acclaimed Belfast born artist Rosie McGurran RUA is currently on display at the Waterways Ireland Headquarters in Enniskillen until November 11 as part of this year's Fermanagh Live Arts Festival's (FLive) Visual Arts Trail. Here she talks to The Impartial Reporter about her most ambitious project to date, what inspires her art and her artistic style.

JC: What is your artistic background?

RMcG: I studied at Belfast School of Art and was awarded a degree in Fine Art painting in 1992. During my second year of study I went on an exchange programme to Glasgow School of Art which was formative in my development as a figurative artist. In 1997 I was awarded a fellowship to the British School at Rome for a year, it was a truly wonderful experience.

JC: What inspires your art?

RMcG: I now live in Connemara in the west of Ireland and am influenced by the landscape here. Artistic influences would include the British painter Stanley Spencer who made it possible for me to see that a narrative can strongly exist in painting. Recent exhibitions I have enjoyed have been Carol Rhodes at the MAC Belfast and Rachel Whiteread at The Tate.

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

RMcG: I have a studio at home converted from a shed, it has plenty of light and is warm in the winter. In summer I like to paint outdoors in good weather and there are plenty of places in Roundstone where I can do that.

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

RMcG: In 2004 I undertook to paint a 8 x 20 ft depiction of an island close to where I live. I made it in a gallery space during Clifden Arts Festival, it took a year to plan and two weeks to finish. It is a birds eye view of Inishlacken island which was once an artists colony in the 1950s home to a group of Belfast artists led by Gerard Dillon. Their story has inspired me to curate a one week residency on the island since 2001. Almost 100 artists have visited over the years, so both projects are equally ambitious. The painting was collected by Galway University where it now hangs.

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

RMcG: I enjoy drawing in pastels and working on large scale paintings. I also love mixed media, combining watercolour, pen and ink, pencil and gouache.

JC: Do you exhibit your work anywhere?

RMcG: I exhibit at ArtisAnn Gallery Belfast, the RUA Annual at the Ulster Museum, I will also be exhibiting with Gallery 545 at the Sea Holly Gallery Belfast and the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn in the next few months.

JC: Any new artistic ventures on the horizon?

RMcG: Next year I have been invited to work at the Cuaramilla Arts Centre in Valpairaiso, Chile for a month.

JC: What has been your favourite project to date?

RMcG: One of my favourite experiences as an artist has been a residency I did in The Arthur Boyd Centre in New South Wales, Australia. Everything about it was magnificent, from the setting to the studio and the people I met.

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

RMcG: When I am not painting I am thinking about painting.

JC: How would you describe your artistic style?

RMcG: My style is figurative and narrative set within the landscape of where I live in Connemara.

JC: What does your art mean to you?

RMcG: My work is everything to me, I love creativity and thinking about new projects.