The day that I first saw Catherine Holcombe's work was a memorable day. I remember giggling out loud in response to a very well done whale. I was eager to see more of her work and supremely happy when she officially joined Kess InHouse. Catherine's work is professional and childlike. Yesterday when we were having our interview, she mentioned to me that she designs, paints and draws for children because they are the best critics: "honest and open". I thought this was an astute observation.
Our official interview was yesterday morning, I was just waking up, walking around my neighborhood and she was well, midway through her day; breakfast had been made, beds too and her and her three sons were in the middle of a ping pong tournament. She gractiously agreed to pause so we could chat about her work(ping pongs continued in the background) Catherine is a full time mom and full time artist. She is a painter, a muralist, an illustrator and occassionally does commission work. She was raised by parents who encouraged her artwork. Her family is full of artists. Apparently the gene has continued into one of her sons, who, she tells me, "began doing installations at age 3". "I would walk into his room and he would have tied all of his toys to his tricycle creating a Dr. Seuss like abstract tower." I responded "cute", she was quick to quip; "yes, but annoying."
Talking to Catherine makes you smile. She has one of those voices that has a clear beautiful tone. She is someone who doesn't believe in "stress" but loves a challenge. One of my favorite takes from our pleasant conversation yesterday morning was when Catherine and I talked about another of my favorites, an adorable sleeping elephant titled "Erine's Dream" She said "I love his legs, sprawled out behind...just like my sons when they were babies." She also pointed out to me that no matter what animal she paints, "it always ends up with a smile." Scrolling through her Kess collection or looking at her portfolio, it's clear to see, her work is definetly a smile maker. Catherine's responses to my artist questions are below. Enjoy, she is lovely.
KIH: What is your first memory as an artist?
CH: I remember sitting on the floor of my room for hours at a time, copying pictures of animals from books. I drew rabbits, lions, horses and teddy bears.
KIH: What is your creative process?
CH: My art work is almost always born early in the morning. I often wake up with a persistent idea that cannot be ignored. Then, there is no more sleep. I have to get up, and sketch it out, or in some cases create a finished piece. Aside from these early morning ideas, I am always in the creative mindset; always observing how light hits an object, how a flower looks in the low light at sunset or how an animal moves. I take zillions of pictures with my iphone, sketch a lot, doodle a lot and collect items for collage and reference constantly.
KIH: What was your first medium?
KIH: What is your favorite medium?
CH: Watercolor and oil
KIH: What is your favorite color right now?
CH: Yellow-green or Emerald Green
KIH: What common threads do you find show up in your work?
CH: My artwork is generally happy. Most of my animals are smiling, joyful critters. I like to keep my art family-friendly, uplifting and colorful. I love the contrast of ink and watercolor together and lately I have been experimenting with digital elements.
KIH: Tell us about your first show?
CH: My first solo exhibit was at the local community theater about 7 years ago. Having no idea what I was doing, or how to market myself, I am not sure if anyone even saw any of it. It was a horribly disappointing experience.
KIH: Where do you do most of your work?
CH: My studio (formerly known as a dining room) holds my computer, a drawing table and a myriad of supplies. Most of my work is completed there. I also do demonstrations at a local gallery that displays my work once a month. It's fun for me to bring a sketchbook when I take my young son to the park or the beach...or anywhere that inspiration might strike. painting or doing what you do best!