Catherine M. Elliott
found at: home studio
What drew you to becoming an artist?
I've always loved the idea of freezing a moment in time and space visually. Capturing the full essence of something beautiful and enjoyable is interesting to me. I think I discovered I liked this as a child growing up in the country with acres of nature all around me. I used to draw horses and trade the pictures for things at lunch with my fellow grammar-school peers.
What don't they teach in art school that you had to learn for yourself?
That practice is everything, at least for myself. With maybe a thousand paintings behind me and with each new one envisioned, I learn a bit more about so many things. Paint, color, values, construction, myself, patience and time all go along with the practice. It's something that every artist can only go through by themself. I've learned a lot about my life through the creating process. Sometimes it's painful, other times it's true bliss.
What is it like to live and work as an artist in Connecticut as compared to the time you spent living and working in other places?
I was born in the same town I now live in, Simsbury. Maybe it's not the perfect place for an artist, but then where is? I've been nurtured and continue to grow here, so here is good. I do travel a bit. My youngest daughter lives in Santa Barbara and I like to paint there every chance I get. Different light and scenery, same challenges in orchestrating a satisfying painting. I keep getting invited to Ireland to teach a painting workshop or exhibit. I've been there six times now and am going again to one of Europe's largest plein air events called ''Art in the Open'' in August. It's a lot of fun, but a marathon of painting for seven days straight. I also have a show at The Sosebee Gallery on Nantucket Island with an opening on July 15. For me, summer is usually a busy time for travel.
What influences your art, the focus of which remains exquisitely rendered Impressionist images of nature?
I like to think of Impressionistic art as viewing a scene from a car. You just get the impression and feeling of the place, not every detail. I'm not into a lot of detail in my work, but maybe the illusion of it. Colors have always made me happy, especially when they are portrayed well together. The natural world outside does that for me.
What is the riskiest thing you've ever done?
Thinking I could make a living by selling my art, which I have done for over 20 years. If I had known the hours involved I think I might have declined the job offer.
When was the time you were most scared?
When I question myself about why I continue to paint every day. Am I missing out on something else in my life? I read once that after Claude Monet's lung cancer made it impossible for him to work, he said something like, "Well, at least I don't have to get up tomorrow morning and paint." I can relate. It's something I feel compelled to continue.