Thursday, June 15, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Cathy Boyd

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, "The Point in Summer" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

Tell us a bit how you first started painting.

My first career out of school was teaching in the elementary school system.  The first few years, I taught French, but I longed to have a position with a regular classroom, teaching all subjects.  So, when the opportunity arose for that, I was pleased, but it also meant I would be teaching art on a rotary basis to the senior students.  Not knowing anything about art, the school board enrolled me in a summer session at an art college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I was introduced to a broad selection of art subjects, from life drawing to painting to sculpture.  I loved it and that was the impetus for many years of art making to date.

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

I never looked back once I began painting.  I've painted every spare moment I could find, juggling a full time career as a teacher and then a real estate agent, a chronically ill husband and all the while keeping a household in semi-order.  At night, I thought, I'll just paint for an hour, and without knowing, hours would have passed.  Sleeping was difficult as I continued to resolve my painting whilst trying to get a few hours of sleep.  So, with each passing year, and steadily increasing the amount of time spent on my art, I was able to always maintain a generous amount of paintings in my inventory.  I am a very quick painter, and one would say I'm “prolific”.  I believe painting quickly keeps your paintings fresh and loose.  I teach a class periodically called “Fast and Furious, 27 minute paintings”. Using a stopwatch, the students are asked to complete a fully developed painting in 27 minutes.  This is a great exercise to teach them to be more painterly, more loose in their execution.  I do this myself, and can create a nice size body of work in a relatively short time, so my inventory is never a problem.

The Point in Summer
(click to view)

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 originally started out as a pastellist, and used that medium for five or six years.  I took some weekend art workshops from a local artist and loved the immediacy of the pastels, the rich colours, and the versatility of them.  I found I could create soft, sensitive paintings with them and yet also create more saturated, dynamic paintings with them as well.  The only drawback was that it wasn't very easy to create pieces that were very large.  Anything larger than a full sheet was impractical.  The glass and matting was expensive.  These paintings were often going into large expensive cottages, with walls of big windows and the glare on them would often mean the client couldn't see the painting well in the sunlit room.

Bee Balm for Betty
(click to view)

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

When I made the decision to switch to oils, my painting style changed and I began to get a different set of comments from my clients.  My pastel paintings had evoked comments like, “your paintings make me feel so calm, so peaceful”.  The comments I got from from my oil paintings were, “I love your use of colour.”  To this day, that seems to be the most repeated comment.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At this point in time, I don't foresee changing my medium.  Oil provides me with everything I need.  I have tried painting on different supports however.  Occasionally, I will paint on birch panels, or Terra-skin, and I would like to try painting on aluminum.

(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature inspires me most.  Even if I wasn't a painter, I know that nature is my inspiration for painting.  When I watch a movie, for example, I am blown away by the background images I see.  A documentary of another country, or spectacular scenery of my own country makes me want to memorize that moment of beauty so that I can paint it, or something quite like it.  Of course, the lighting is all important, so that has a great bearing on what excites me.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination occurs in every facet of my life.  I love starting a new painting, and so it is common for me to have ten or more paintings that are “works in progress”.  Some have been put away for a year or two, some are lined up and will be completed in the near future.  I love the blank white canvas, as it holds for me the opportunity that “this might be the most amazing painting I have ever done!”  In my daily life, my love of producing lots of paintings and spending eight hours a day on it, means that some daily chores get neglected.  Paperwork and errands sometimes get left undone, and only the most critical things get accomplished.  As a single woman, an empty nester, I can get away with that.

Dark Shoreline
(click to view)

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

I spend at least two hours each morning on social media and administrative tasks, then off I go to my gallery/studio to begin my day of greeting customers, and painting.  My gallery is one large, bright room filled with my own paintings and the back area of it is where I paint.  Customers enjoy seeing me paint, and I don't mind them watching.  Most weekdays I have one or two students in my studio and I paint while they do, so I can produce while they are there.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

What I choose to paint is very much a product of what I see daily as I am going about my day.  So, most often, I am taking photos of local scenes.  Lakes, rocks, rural locations.  Occasionally, I'll stop to get photos of sunlit houses or little ramshackle buildings.  My travels abroad have been a source of subject material.  Looking back at all my paintings I've done, I am actually reminiscing about my life… it's as if I were flipping the pages of an old cherished photo album.

Splashin Around
(click to view)

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

Once a year, I set myself a challenge to do a painting a day.  I have just completed that in May of this year.  If you check out my website - - you will see that collection of paintings.  They are all small, usually 8 X 8 inches.  This challenge helps me to remember to paint intuitively and allows me to try out new subject material without investing a lot of time in any one new subject.

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

I'm learning that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to practice and improve my craft every day.  At this point in my life, I am able to dedicate as much time to it as I feel inclined.  That is precious.
I'm learning to take risks with my art, to be fearless with colour and technique.  I hope to paint some more large abstracts soon.  They are my way of “taking a break” from commissions and also from the more commercial, representational paintings that are typical of my body of work.

Northern Gold
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happy that my art brings a measure of joy and tranquility to my collectors.  I do not paint specifically for them, but because I am in tune with what resonates with them, I enjoy anticipating their reaction to the pieces I choose to paint.  My art brings me immense satisfaction as it is a by-product of what I am feeling and experiencing in my daily comings and goings.  I don't lead an extraordinary life, but I see things daily that are extraordinary.  So, with that in mind, I like to put those seemingly insignificant things down on canvas for you that serve as reminders that we are lucky to be so fortunate to have this beauty all around us.

Thanks, Cathy!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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