Meet Myrtill…

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There is a cactus, named Whortleberry, that I am obsessed with. It is a large cactus, over 10′ tall that has such intriguing small dark burgundy clustered buds. From those tiny clustered buds come the most graceful 1″ in diameter translucent white flowers. Unless you look directly at this cactus you would never notice the buds or flowers. Last  year I took a photo of it while on a neighborhood walk and then searched the botanical gardens here to find the one large specimen they had. It’s the first one that blooms in Spring and I’m surprised how few people stop and look at it.

I have been working on this painting for months in an attempt to capture just what a magical cactus it is!

Myrtill
18″ x 36″
Oil on Canvas

Everything heats up in March!

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The temperatures are not the only thing heating up in Arizona this time of year. Tens of thousands of people trying to forget about old man winter head here seeking out the sun.

The golf courses are buzzing, fans cheering at baseball games, and the cacti are just pining for the opportunity to burst open. In Chicago this was my favorite time of year and it remains the same here as well.

As the days get longer here, we are given the gift of more time to look into the skies and witness the sunlight as it plays on the clouds and mountains; until it’s tired of playing and then it lights the sky on fire as it goes to bed after the long day.

The colors in those evening skies will soon be popping up all over the desert and I cannot wait. Until then, wishing you all a speedy floral filled March!


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SOLD!
Sunday Hijinx was recently sold to John and Beverly, who were my very first art collector…at age 4  😍  when I was creating work at Jack and Jill preschool. Mom and Dad needed to replace prints that they had in their kitchen after buying some neutral furniture. Their terra cotta accent wall and verdant green quartz counters screamed for this to be in their kitchen. Thrilled to be able to visit it often in their beautiful home. Thank you for the continual encouragement and support!


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SOLD!
Strelitzia III was recently sold at the Desert Foothills Library show for the Sonoran Arts League’s Art in Public Places. Thank you to David and Deborah for being the newest purchaser of my artwork. It’s always the most exciting day when a piece of what I love to do gets purchased. The show runs until March 21st at The Desert Foothills Library,  38443 N Schoolhouse Rd., Cave Creek, Arizona


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Meet Loladenium…she is 20″ x 20″ oil on canvas. I continue to find my way through the desert palette and finding my expressive voice with the new flora and fauna. My inspiration for her are these amazing plants here called Adeniums, or Desert Roses. They feature a large bulbous caudex, half exposed above the soil, that retains enough water to supply the plant during drought seasons. In total view it looks much like a bonsai plant as the branches are minimal in leaves, pushing all its energy to the tips where the leaves and flowers populate. This one in particular is a double bloomer. They are often grown in pots and produce the most stunning tropical blooms.

 

Are you ready for the Super Bloom?

SUPER BLOOM?

According to LA Magazine there is an excellent chance that California will experience it’s second Super Bloom since 2017 with the previous one being  in 2008. These rare wildflower carpeted fields are often caused by a thoroughly wet winter. In Arizona, we are already seeing proof of this on Lone Mountain where my studio space is located. Daily hikes up the mountain have revealed wild poppies, Gravel Ghost, Notchleaf Phacelia, and Brittlebush already in full bloom (see photos below). The white Gravel Ghost flower gets it’s name because the stems are so very thin that from a distance it appears the flowers are floating above the ground. For a botanical artist, all this early color is providing exciting inspiration and raised hope that it will carry over for our blossoming cacti as well! Hoping you will check out the article link and plan a visit to California or the Arizona desert to see this amazing event yourself. You just need to make sure you pack your allergy meds! 🙂


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SOLD! 

Agavamericana is a recent painting that sold before it was completed. Such an amazing compliment to an artist when a collector can envision the completion of a piece of work and share in the excitement for the completion of it as much as I am.

Carolyn has been a collector of my artwork since I was located in St. Charles on Cedar Avenue. She originally purchased a painting of mine when her daughter had indicated how perfect it would look in her new home in Texas. Shortly after that, Carolyn commissioned a piece as a wedding gift to her daughter that featured her daughter’s wedding bouquet flowers. Now, Carolyn has purchased this piece to hang in her own home! I am thrilled to see it there and honored to have such a supportive collector of my artwork that will last a lifetime.

Christmas, Commissions, and Designers…oh my!


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I LOVE COMMISSION WORK!

What an exciting Christmas I had this year. In October, I was approached by Tom to create this beautiful painting for his amazing wife, Cathy, for Christmas! At least once a year I am asked to make a commissioned piece of art as a gift. Tom sent me the dimensions of the space he wanted the piece to be hung on and he sent me photos of the room and decor so that we could make a painting that Cathy would absolutely love! It’s such an honor to be a small part of a loving couple’s celebration, whether it be Christmas, a birthday, or an anniversary. The process took approximately two months and arrived safe and sound. My favorite part…the photo that they sent me, revealing it’s final destination hung amongst their Christmas decorations! Thank you Tom and Cathy!

Buying original artwork is a really caring gift and it shows someone how truly important they are to you.


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I LOVE WORKING WITH INTERIOR DESIGNERS!

Another thing I truly enjoy is working with Interior Designers. A friend and collector of my artwork, Pam, reached out during the holidays because she spotted this photo while working with a local designer back in Illinois. She sent me the photo because she thought it looked so much like my artwork. That’s because IT WAS! I love meeting designers at their projects towards the end to help add the final touches to a beautifully decorated and constructed space. Plus it’s a great way for the clients to see the completed space while making an informative decision about the artwork.

A great bonus was having my artwork recognized outside of my studio space and across the country. I love that!


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Strelitzia – I have finished all sixteen in this series. Whew…what fun that was! You can see them all HERE.  Each is 12″ x 12″ framed in espresso wood.

Looking forward to starting on those Mexican Fence Post cactus paintings. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all a new year of love, laughter, success, and sunshine!

Cheers!  – Catie

Stretching these wings…

What a journey it has been…

I am thrilled to be posting this news! It has been quite a journey to get me back to the studio. As we are all aware, some of the greatest artists in history as well as today, have to put down their brushes and tools to make other important contributions. I am no different. I was fortunate enough to work in a job that I adored with people that I miss every day to help support my family during our transition to the desert. However, even while working a great job, the studio never stopped calling me. I would steal any time I could in my creative space, even if just to meditate and dream. During that time I wanted to reach out to you but mostly felt ashamed that I had nothing creative to share.

During the past few years I have expressed myself creatively in photography. Social Media can be an amazing lifeline in order to keep tethered to a world of expressionism. I utilized my free time visiting with family, hiking in the desert, discovering wildlife, and inhaling the beauty of the Sonoran Desert that I live in. I’m grateful to own a camera that also happens to make cell phone calls. 🙂

Gratefully, I have been given the opportunity to return to my studio. I have a wonderful casita on the other side of our courtyard that has been converted to my studio and gallery. I have been going back through my photographs over the past few years and compiling a body of work that I am excited to complete and share.

Your support during this left brain period has been greatly appreciated! Looking forward to sharing the interesting wildlife that is often seen in my yard as well as the stunning beauty of the Sonoran Desert with you. I have discovered that Scottsdale and Phoenix are amazing places for art and hope to share that with you as well.

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Strelitzia is the name for this exciting new series of work. I came across a large swath of bird of paradise blooms set against a cornflower blue sky a few months ago. My previous palette has been focused on a red/green compliment; however here in the desert the skies feature so many different shades of blue that it’s quite difficult to ignore. The blue against the fire orange petals popping through the bud like popcorn captured my heart and attention. This series will feature 16+ pieces in all, each 12″ x 12″. This first one will be included in the Sonoran Arts League’s Small Works show starting December 1st. As I paint them, I find that each one has it’s own personality that comes through. They currently look like a wall of family portraits and it makes me smile. Upon completion of the series, they will each be framed in dark wood and affordable enough to collect multiples of them to fit your space perfectly!

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

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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

 

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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!

 

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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!

White is the most populous color….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people would say that white is a lonely color or that white isn’t even a “color”. What I have discovered is that white is filled with so many reflections that white allows for the opportunity to create mood and emotion in a piece of artwork by picking and choosing which of those reflections to bring forward and which to edit out.

This is a painting that I just finished creating for friends of mine.  It was such a challenge to create the feelings and emotions in painting while using what I used to think was a neutral color.  As always, this work was created using a colored background and composed reductively.  I have discovered there is nothing at all neutral about white.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these specimens. The cool white petals opening themselves to reveal their fiery insides. Quite sexy. I will never tire of being inspired by flowers and their many colors, shapes, forms, and attitudes.