CATHERINE MacDiarmid is one of the region's finest portrait artists.

Her works are captivating and few painters reflect their model with such candour and unsympathetic detail.

A member of the well-known Lakeland-based Green Door collective, Catherine has a solo exhibition running at the Brewhouse, in Kendal, from November 1 until into January.

The Artists Eye exhibition features new and old work - a selection of her portraits from the past 12 years and a celebration of Catherine's unwavering commitment to portraiture.

The works focus on the portrayal of family and friends as opposed to commissioned portraits.

"This allows for a more honest study of people in close proximity, where flattery and outward beauty are sometimes sacrificed for self reflection and meticulous detail," explains Catherine, adding that what the portraits convey is open to many interpretations.

She admits that it's often difficult to get someone to sit for the long periods of time that it can take to complete a portrait. She works from life where possible, but also enjoys the fleeting glances that photographs can capture, and will use secondary source material when necessary and inspirational, changing contexts and challenging meanings within the process of developing a painting.

The Brewhouse exhibition coincides with Catherine featuring in this year's Sky Portrait Artist of the Year, which will be aired on Sky Arts channel this month and next. Her self portrait was one of 72 shortlisted from more than 1,500 artists who entered.

"The Sky Portrait experience was amazing as well as challenging," says Catherine.

"Meeting with so many other portrait artists from all over the country and beyond was humbling as well as inspiring.

"The day was long and exhausting but I was looked after so well by the whole team from the TV program that I would do it all again if the opportunity arose."

Catherine has also just been elected as a new member of the prestigious Lakes Artists Society, another well-deserved feather in her creative cap:

"I'm thrilled - and I am looking forward to exhibiting regularly in both their winter and summer shows."