Thursday, August 18, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Cathy Holtom

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Cathy's painting, "Grapes in the Sunlight" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jeanne's DPW Gallery:

I am an English artist living on the island of Sicily, Italy. I have lived on this beautiful island for over 25 years and have come to know it well. My art is inspired by daily Sicilian life, the gardens and landscapes... there is so much to see that I am never short of a subject! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I don't remember a time when I didn't draw and paint; it's been a lifelong passion.  A turning point for me was after a holiday in the Lake District (UK).  I visited the Derwent Pencil factory and bought some watercolour pencils and pastel pencils on a whim.  I spent the rest of the holiday sketching and painting around the beautiful lakes and hills and I knew I wanted to live a life full of art.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I had a really good art teacher at school and was all set to take an arts foundation course.  I was really interested in fabric design but, as is the same story as for many people, well meaning family persuaded me to look at more 'profitable' career options and I went off in a completely different direction. Looking back with the wisdom of age and experience, it was totally the wrong decision.

Grapes in the Sunlight

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Cathy's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've used most mediums: watercolour, pastel, coloured pencil and oils. I like to experiment and mix things up just to see where the medium takes me.  I started out in a very realistic style, copying what I saw in front of me. Over time as I have become more confident, I have started to move away from all the attention to detail and to experiment with my own ideas of light and shape.  I'm still on that journey.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I spent quite a few years using coloured pencil, exhibiting and also winning a few awards.  I joined a local art group where we all used oils or acrylics and that started me on a love affair with oil paint.  I still like my watercolours but I get frustrated when they dry too quickly in Sicilian hot weather.

Aloe and Sunlight
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to try printing and experiment occasionally with lino prints.  Collage and mixed media attract me too; I find myself pulled towards the dynamic use of colour in semi-abstract work and would like to explore that too.

Who or what inspires you most?

My biggest inspiration is the Italian island of Sicily where I live.  The warm light, the sounds and smells make everyday objects, buildings and landscapes special. History and art is everywhere here and I'm so lucky to have it all on my doorstep.

Move Over
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I admit to being a procrastinator; I have to be disciplined with myself to get anything done.  When it comes to painting, I find the best thing is not to think too much and just get on and do it.  If the end product is really awful it can always be painted over or binned!

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I block off whole afternoons and make sure my phone’s switched off. Learning how to say no and protecting my art time is very important, even if that doesn't always make me very popular.

Pitchers
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Things I see catch my eye: perhaps a colour, the way the light lands on something or interesting shadows. I take photographs and sketch a lot. Sketching helps you see things a camera can't capture and often the best ideas come from there.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Whenever I get bored or have that sinking feeling about my work, I stop and do something different.  I usually have at least three to four paintings on the go and if one isn't exciting me, I move on to another. Time away somewhere new is a great way to get the creative juices going too.

Flotilla
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Right now I'm working on loosening up my work and learning to let go of the detail.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love to paint and if the end product brings pleasure to someone else too, I'm happy.

Thanks, Cathy!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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