The same difference + why blogs are good for the authors…



Well, we moved…hmmm…moved seems too inadequate a word to describe relocating yourself and all your life’s belongings to the other side of the country that no longer resembles anything from before.  I guess that’s what happens when you take a Midwest girl and plunk her down in the desert.  It has been 63 profound days in Scottsdale, Arizona, yet feels like a year away from home. How long do you suppose before a new place becomes “home”? Thankfully, my past reflections can help me determine that answer.

When I first created this blog, I never had any clue how important it would be…to myself. As a kid (or adult) I never journaled or had a diary…I had a great memory instead. But what I never realized about those memories, is how affected they can be by emotional location (where your emotions are at the time of remembering). For that, this blog has become an invaluable tool to myself. I can look back and feel just where my emotional location was at various moments in my life over these past years.

We’ve done this before; relocated back in 2010 from the Chicago area to the Milwaukee area for only 15 months. While I was less than 2 hours from home, it still felt a world away. On a dark emotional day (perhaps homesick) I wrote a blog post comparing being an artist to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.  In reading that post again…this is the message that I try to carry with me wherever I am…

Being an artist is also about sharing a particular view of the world.  I believe we look at common things with an uncommon eye.  We feel emotional impulses from objects, ideas, inspirations.  I don’t believe that just because we happen to have a job as a counselor, waitress, customer service rep, or assistant that we lose our ability to see and feel the world as we artists do. 

Yes, we live this particular life only once.  However, we do live for a lifetime in which we create a lifetime of artwork.  For some that may be 10,000 pieces of artwork and for others it may mean 3.  The important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself while surviving your life, embrace your artistic self in all that do (art and non-art related), and do something creative each day even if it’s cooking something different or taking a photograph with your smart phone.

There is an unbearable lightness or likeness of being an artist, but the defining moment is how you choose to allow it to define you.

So, these days while the sun is shining upon my face here in the desert and I am feeling unrooted, I look back at this and find a way to be kinder to myself and remember that artwork is created over a lifetime and in many different ways.  I also find in these reflections a confirmation of my subject matter and what flowers continue to teach me. For example, cacti (when removed from their connected “siblings”) must harden off a bit before you can put them back into the ground to grow. So, here I am rediscovering my new home, and in that I look forward to growing!

As a side note:  I am so grateful to be living close to and sharing time with my parents again; it has been 20 years since they had left the Midwest. My hubby, Dan, and I have been enjoying getting to know Scottsdale and finding our new studio location! I am equally grateful for my amazing friends who have reached out to me with their love and positive rays of sunshine. When I am feeling “unrooted” I tend to close up, but those who have reached a hand to me….you have made these 63 days profound and I thank you.



Just beyond the horizon….life blooms…..

6/9/15…I cannot believe the amazing support I have received from my followers, collectors, and friends. Thank you all for being on this journey with me. No matter what new things the days bring, knowing you are there with me makes everything crazier, better, happier, and more worthwhile.  – Catie



Journey…n. c.1200, “a defined course of traveling; one’s path in life,” from Old French journee “day’s work or travel”.


This blog has always been about my creative journey…the idea came from my commencement speaker, Renzo Piano, at graduation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Renzo advised us graduates to not measure our career by the day or even the month or year…but instead by the decade. We should look back at each decade to see how far we have come in our artistic journey and make sure we continue moving forward at our own pace.  Looking back at the past decade I see that in the beginning of it I was a frustrated bookkeeper who knew there was something much greater for me just beyond the horizon and wishing myself the courage to pursue it.


Although I haven’t written a post since December (wow….first of all I cannot believe I have been so remiss) it doesn’t mean that nothing has been going on!  I have been busy working as a contracted Social Media Liaison for the St Charles Arts Council and have loved further honing my social media and marketing skills doing so. It has given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing artists and art supporters, work side by side with passionate people providing creative opportunities for artists, and helping to make the dream of having a cultural/arts education center in my city of St Charles, Illinois get closer to fruition!  I have also been busy creating a new body of work in a different direction that involves adding new biologic elements to my flowers (stay tuned for that).


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.   –Mark Twain


Over the past few years I have been feeling an increasing pull to the wild adventure of the West…to witness the never ending sun filled blue skies…to explore the grand mountains standing sentry…to dream of new landscapes…and to follow the footsteps of my parents and sister.  Being born in Chicago and raised from age 2 in the suburbs here has been a great thing! This is my home and has been my entire life. Over the years, since my parents moved to Arizona, I have made an amazing family here…personally and professionally. I am both nervous and anxious to announce that it is time to leave my safe harbor…move along on my journey…and head West. I am grateful to say that I will be able to spend time and enjoy my parents for the rest of their journey!  I am excited to share all the new inspiration I will receive as I explore the Southwest and continue to allow my interpretations be expressed in paint…or even perhaps photography!


You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.  -Christopher Columbus


Again I find myself wishing for the courage to pursue what lies just beyond that horizon. I am not sure when this new journey will begin. Our home in downtown St Charles just went on the market.  I am going to enjoy each moment of it IN each moment of it.  I hope you continue to come along for the ride!




Big things in small packages!

 SorbetsWebsiteMeet the Sorbets!

This Spring I decided that I wasn’t hitting all my price points in my artwork and therefore wanted to create some artwork that would be available to anyone.

I started with these two pieces, Lime Sorbet and Raspberry Sorbet.  They are each 12″ x 12″, oil on canvas, and float framed in natural pine.  Each piece is priced at $175.  You can see larger images HERE.

Not only are these two pieces affordable, they create an optical illusion due to their compositions.  They are exactly the same size, but look different due to the way the leaves are angled. I thought that was a very cool thing to discover after I painted them!

These pieces can be seen until the end of June as part of the Art Around the Corner in St. Charles. They are located at The Wine Exchange, 1 W. Illinois, St. Charles, IL. 

Summer Lovin’!

CymbaPortfolio  Yep!  It’s officially summertime in Chicago.  The temperatures are hot and the artwork around town is even HOTTER!

Each year from Memorial Day to Labor Day St. Charles, Illinois’ Downtown Partnership hosts Art Around the Corner.  This is a fabulous opportunity for artists to partner with local businesses to showcase and sell their artwork around town.

I am so fortunate to have my work featured at The Wine Exchange, 1 W. Illinois Street (at the Fox River in Fox Island Square), St. Charles, IL.

The Wine Exchange is open Wednesday-Saturday and I am usually there on Friday evenings to meet and greet people who come on by.

For more information you can visit HERE.

This painting is titled Cymba and it was purchased last week at the wine shop.  The new owners of the artwork, along with bystanders, were sharing the various dialogs they felt were happening in the painting and I was thrilled to hear their take on the composition!

Creation Maddness!







Spring is the most amazing time of the year in the arts, especially if you are a botanical based artist.  The orchid shows are done and the other flower shows are just heating up.  All the sensual colors and the twisted silky petals seeking my attention…it’s such a rush of adrenaline for me!

The other fabulous thing that goes on this time of year is college student art shows.  It has become one of my favorite times of year because of the ability to see, and be inspired by, what the future holds for art.  Here is a sampling of the offerings (and I will surely be at as many as I can get to):

The School of the Art institute of Chicago’s fashion departments annual The Walk.  Nick Cave and the fashion department’s annual runway show never disappoints!  I usually attend the 9am dress rehearsal to get the insider point of view.  The sophomore class in the past offers up their visions in monochrome style using cream and greys…words cannot begin to describe the textural impacts of this palette as well as shadow effects and the lines!  Wow.  I know they are beginning their journey in fashion, but the limits their display is given makes these creations even more interesting!  The Juniors and Seniors have no limitations and it shows!  I have seen their designs range from Carnivale to Armageddon.  The Walk will be held this year on Friday, May 2nd and you can find more information HERE!

Also in Chicago, Columbia College is offering an Open Studio event for the Seniors of their BFA program.  On Tuesday, April 15th you can join in with food and beverage along with the fabulous artwork.  This is such a great event to not only support the future artists but also view and purchase great artwork!  You can find more information HERE!

And finally, my ultimate favorite event of the young artists is the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Undergrad and Graduate exhibitions.  This year’s MFA show is starting April 26th and running through May 14th.  Being an alum of this amazing school, I love to wander around the Sullivan Galleries (located on State Street – “that great street” for anyone as old as me) to see all the yummy offerings!  You can find more information on that HERE!

Today is a lecture on Modern Metaphors at the Rockford Art Museum and next week I’m off to the Art Institute of Chicago to attend the lecture on the new Modern Masters exhibition along with the sneak peek of the show itself.  I love this time of year!….

Going home....
Going home....

Anatole France, french poet and novelist, wrote “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

When we moved to Wisconsin from the Chicago area, I was longing for a “shot in the arm” sort of change but must admit I wasn’t truly as prepared as I thought.  I was not one of those kids who travelled and changed homes as a kid…I was the “rooted forever in my town” sort.  I fully embraced change when I went back to school and loved every minute of it.  When I went to Wisconsin I tried to fully embrace change again, but this time the playing field was much larger and I initially struggled.  However, after I got acquainted, just like with school, I loved every minute of it.  Looking back now I believe my struggles were caused because I had to give in to the idea that part of the old me had to succumb to what was to become the new me.

Whenever a big change comes into our lives, I absolutely believe we experience significant transformation both physically and psychologically.  Wisconsin gave me the gift of getting to know myself better, redefine my passions (such as arts and their advocacy), and meeting an incredible community of artists that belong to the Cedarburg Artists Guild.  I would suggest all art guilds, councils, commissions, and cultural centers take notice to how things are done in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and use them as an example of how to become, by combining resources and talent, a strong beacon for the arts.  There is a passionate partnership between the Cedarburg Artists Guild and the Cedarburg Cultural Center that I have never seen before and one that I believe benefits each party, allowing them to focus on various pieces of arts involvement without overlap.  I am so fortunate to have been able to examine both to see how they work together and apart, which has renewed my passion for arts advocacy.  Artists in Cedarburg are heralded and cherished in their community and are recognized for the large influence they have.  In turn local businesses and government open up their doors and spaces, promoting local talent at a level that I haven’t seen yet in Chicagoland.  Artists come from near and far to be a part of this group and their focus on promoting the arts is the best I have seen thus far.

While introducing myself to the Cedarburg Artists Guild, I was fortunate enough to meet Susan Hale, who is an extremely talented, successful, and well known artist.  I owe so much to Susan.  She reached out to me, mentored me, and became a friend in Wisconsin who showed me what being an artist can be and I would have remained balled up in my shell if not for her.  Looking back at my time with Susan, I see how important and valuable it was to have a resource to bridge the gap caused by being new and unfamiliar.  I know from my experience, getting to know Susan gave me the comfort and confidence to meet others and for that I am so grateful to her.  Plus Susan is just great anyway…a fabulous friend.

However, now I am back home but not as the same person I was before.  I am starting the next leg of my journey  to discover how the new and “changed” me will contribute to the art communities here. While trying to let go of the person I was both here before and in Wisconsin, I am looking forward to meeting artists, seeing old artist friends, and doing what I can to help in the progress and pursuit of arts in general.  I hope to take some of what I have learned in Wisconsin, as an artist, and create that same energy here.

If you know of an opportunity in the arts where a passionate visionary is needed, I would appreciate the connection.  Not only am I looking forward to picking up a paintbrush again, but I am looking to jumpstart a long career in the arts as well.


A day of art….

Gerda Meyer Bernstein - Self Portrait

Yesterday was a fabulous day of art.  Not only did I get to spend the day in my favorite art city (Chicago), but I got to spend it with my friend Amanda who was in town from Scotland.  We decided to take in as much art in the loop that we could in 3 hours. 

First we headed over to the Jim Nutt show at the MCA, which is quite a collection of portrait work.  Sadly, I don’t share the excited impact of the Chicago Imagists artwork that was done by the Hairy Who group in the 60’s as much as others.  Not that I don’t appreciate the movement and the embodiment of the artwork, because I DO.  However, the imagery (while fun and courageous) doesn’t leave a lasting impression on me.   But to see Jim Nutt’s painted heads is another story.  These pieces are amazing with fine detail work that  you have to see in person and up close.  The colors (albeit acrylic) are luscious with undulating colors that from a distance look one way, but from up close question what you saw from afar. 

There is also a companion exhibition that was thrilling to me, to say the least.  You can see artworks by Wangechi Mutu, Francis Bacon, and a piece from Carol Dunham that I would have never thought he had done.  There is also artwork in the companion piece from some of Mr. Nutt’s peers such as Ted Halkin and Gladys Nilsson.  On some of the companion artwork, the artists write about how Jim Nutt’s work has personally influence their own work. 

 Don’t forget to see the haunting piece on the same floor by Susan Phillipsz.

After that we treaded over to a gallery that I never even knew existed in the loop.  The James R. Thompson Center has a gallery named the Illinois State Museum – Chicago Gallery.  We learned that it has various exhibitions that range from artistic to historic.  Amanda had heard of the current exhibition titled “Luminous Ground – Artists With History”.  This features Ralph Arnold, Morris Barazani, Fred Berger, Gerda Meyer Bernstein, William Frederick, Ted Halkin, Thomas Kapsalis, Vera Klement, Ellen Lanyon, Elizabeth Ruprecht, and Leopold Segedin.  These eleven artists have created artwork for over 50 years and while creating have influenced generations of other artists with their insight and their work. 

In this show (open until 8/26) you can witness the mesmerizing color usage of Elizabeth Ruprecht, be moved by the vast empathy and voice of Gerda Meyer Bernstein, be swept away by the gorgeous figurative work of Fred Berger, and jump inside the small assemblage boxes of Ralph Arnold.  This show is such a feast for the eyes and the soul…you have to get there if possible.  If for no other reason, than just to see the vast work of these amazing figures in Chicago’s rich artistic history and bask in the amount of experience and knowledge these artists possess.

Lastly we galloped over to the Chicago Cultural Center to see the “Off the Beaten Path” – exhibition focusing on Violence, Women, and Art.  While I found this artwork to be moving and disturbing, I was a tad disappointed in the continual slap in the face some of the images caused to me.  I believe this show is a cathartic exercise for some of the artists in view.  There were some disturbing images, so be aware, however there were also some amazing pieces that will inspire you and stay with you with positive impacts.  The one I felt had the greatest impact was a two video installation by Yoko Ono.  The first one was done in 1965 at Carnegie Hall in New York.  She sat on a stage with a black dress on and invited others to come up and cut pieces of it off of her.  It was beautiful and poignant.  There was also another version of the same performance, but done in 2006 with a much older Yoko Ono.  For me this one seemed to have more impact, perhaps because she wears the lines of fame and loss on her face more than from 1965.  For me, it appears as though the “cutters” are like vultures taking pieces of her away.  Pretty great stuff.  The exhibition features artists from all across the world and consist of varying ages.  It is rich in what it offers, but personally I would rather see women portrayed as stronger individuals rather than victims. 

I was really hoping to get to the Wangechi Mutu lecture last evening at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I am fascinated by Mutu’s artwork as I believe it relates to my own work of questioning what exactly makes a woman a woman.  I am disappointed to say that I missed it, but instead I chose to spend that time with a friend talking about our art and the things we were feeling from all that artwork we had seen in that one day.

The “value” of insomnia…

Lately I’ve been the proud owner of a stubborn case of insomnia.  I don’t dare complain about it as it’s really one of those good sort of problems to have.  I have been busy with my new venture of curating/organizing these charitable auction galleries and my schedule has been somewhat eclectic and random.  I am used to being in control of the things in my world and this randomness has been playing havoc with my psyche….in a good way.  But as always, I am spending time on peripheral circumstances and not the point I was trying to make.

So…without further adieu…I’ll get on topic.  My insomnia has me waking up around 3am each morning.  It starts with an occasional shift from side to side but by 4am my conscious brain has caught up with the large intuitive Rolodex spinning in my mind and then the fun begins.  I start to think of all the things I have to do that day and start to pre-plan my travels.  I’m also one of those people who has to have a “pre-rehearsal” of the day’s conversations so I feel like I’m ready.  Well, the next thing I know it’s 6am and Aurora begins to work her magic across the sky.  This is where it gets good….

You see from 6am’ish to about 6:45am there is something magical that takes place in my bedroom.  The colors of my abode are butter yellow, steel-blue, with various wood tones and metals.  But during those magical 45 minutes…everything is measured by value alone…no hues…no saturation of color…no atmospheric perspective.  Just value.  The copper mirror is a dark blue grey on the buttery yellow wall that appears light blue grey.  The white mirror is a very light blue grey just like the white linen lampshades that dangle nervously from the high arched dark steel looking arms.  It really is magical and I wonder if that’s what fascinated Mark Tansey as I think of his monochromatic paintings when I experience this.
But after those 45 minutes, or so, the sunlight starts to skew the pigment atoms in my world and it all comes into colorful view so quickly; almost as quickly as the sun sets on the horizon.  Then my blue grey walls turn yellow, my mirrors become copper and white again, and the brown wood tones come into warmth and no longer shades of cool blue.  Just a thought if you’re ever awake when it’s too early to get up.


I was going to originally write how about how poor Picasso cannot keep his paintings from being ripped accidentally…first there was Steve Wynn who accidentally stuck his elbow through a $139 million painting in 2006 and more recently a woman who lost her balance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and fell into “The Actor”.  I guess stuff happens, but instead I wanted to focus on how stuff “happens”….

If you are my friend Suzi Amedeo, then please quit reading now as this blog contains a *spoiler alert*. 

Last weekend I lost a 13-year-old chocolate lab friend/protector/cheerleader named Riley.  He was my friend Suzi’s dog but has lived across the street from me for about 8 years.  Each day I would come home from my “journey” wherever and be greeted with a low yet audible woof from across the street.  Suzi’s house is situated so that I could never see Riley’s face in the window, but that acknowledging signal was there each time I left, I returned, or if I was just painting outside. 

Whenever Bill or Suzi would take Riley for a walk and I was visible anywhere he would pull them over to my house or wherever I was located.  He even pulled down a bookcase in the garage that his leash was attached to when I walked up their driveway for a visit.  He was a one-of-a-kind and thank you for indulging me to go on and on about him.  But his story is not the reason for this entry. 

I wanted to get a gift for Suzi that would help her keep Riley near by. So I found on Etsy (never shopped on the site before) a woman who makes medallion necklaces in silver focused on the subject of pets.  She goes under the shop name of gooseberrystudio.  Here’s where it gets good.  Her name…also Suzi.  While her dog was not a chocolate lab (that would have been too weird), it was a golden retriever AND 13 years old when it had to be put to sleep.  Etsy-Suzi has artistic daughters, one in school and one working professionally in the arts…and I just found out Etsy-Suzi has a mother living in the same town as my mother…way out west. 

I am finding this happening more often with my increased focus in creativity.  I am imagining that we’re all connected somehow, like blades of grass connected to their rhizomes.  I don’t know if it is because I’m opening myself up to these nuances of relationships…or perhaps it has something to do with globalization and online networking.  I would like to believe the former with a nod to the latter.

Regardless, I hope everyone will just make themselves more open to these chance meetings and enjoy the “journey” they take.

What I want to be when I grow up…

Hi everyone!

I know I have been away for a while, but I am back.  I had an aunt pass away recently…another voice silenced by cancer.  Death in our family is a double-edged sword.  During the wake, cousins from 5 factions come together in a common bond.  The span of ages, of all these cousins, is about 20 years between the oldest and the youngest.  In my family, I have 18 counsins total.  It’s quite a gathering and there is always a celebration of our childhood involved; sharing stories of my aunt and uncle who are now rejoined somewhere we cannot see.  We talked about all the adventures we had as kids in my grandparent’s tavern named Chuck’s Wagon; laughing about the Charlie Pride or Mac Davis songs on the jukebox, the toaster oven cheeseburgers grandma made us, or the Thanksgiving KFC served on the pool table because grandma forgot to turn on the oven to cook the turkey.  We had so many great times being together every weekend at the tavern.  Can you honestly imagine 15-18 kids every weekend running around a tavern?  It was the best, but I digress.  As fun as the wake evening is (to see everyone and reminisce), the funeral day is crushingly sad because of the loss we all feel.  The loss of our loving aunt and the loss of being those carefree children.    I will miss her.

But another thing that this past week or so has shown me, is how important the fight for cancer is and how the fight must continue.  I have collected artwork to auction off at this year’s Discovery Ball in April.  16 artists, including myself, have donated just under $18,000 of artwork for the event.  I could not be more proud of the work collected.  In this journey I have realized that this is what I am really good at.  I really care about the artists I meet along this path and I am passionate about what they produce and why.  I am also good at business and have interlaced non-profit work throughout my life.  Curating for a cause just seems like a natural direction for me.  I am excited about artwork and just as excited about a good cause.

This blog is to canvas my path after graduation and I would like to curate auction galleries for fundraisers.  Artists have a voice and their voices can be shared to make great changes in this world.  Art should never just decorate a wall, it should always be an extension of the artist’s heart and mind.  It may not scream it’s intentions; often a whisper is just as strong.  We are taking steps forward…