Hi Cathy!!! Thank you so much for being here this lovely Friday. You were so kind to move up a week and get me your interview answers quickly. I told you I would give you "Bonus Points" so please readers (all of you;) leave a nice comment for Cathy after you are done reading her insightful and inspiring interview. Let's get started....
When did you start doing art?
Like many artists, I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. And for the years before that when I was too young to do art myself, I spent time watching my mom create things. I remember making paper flowers long before there were as many beautiful papers as there are today. I would use anything I could find to make these flowers – if a magazine had a page with beautiful colors I used that as my paper, if I found paper that had a nice texture but was white I would dye it pink. Anything to make things beautiful enough to inspire me. If I wasn’t working with paper or colored pencils I was sewing, if I wasn’t sewing I was writing poetry and stories – there was always something.
What is it about your art process that you love?
There is nothing else that I do in my life today that brings me to the same place that creating art brings me to. When I create I really live in that moment, I live in the now. The “now” for me is a very relaxing, very peaceful and calm, and very exhilarating place – a place I want to go to everyday in everything I do.
Can you share one of your favorite techniques with us?
Well I love to get messy and most of my techniques, especially as they are being developed tend to be very messy. When I work I have to have everything I need around me and that may be many things until I figure out exactly what it is I want to do and what it is I am going to use to do it. I love layers. I love the look and the feel of layer over layer in a piece of work. Most of my journal pages start with a very rough coat of gesso followed by a very rough spritz of paint. From there I add the main or central piece of the project – the “thing” that made me want to start a new page. Sometimes this is a picture, sometime just a color. Once I’ve added this focal piece I work around it adding more color and more often than not, more bits and pieces of paper. These other bits and pieces usually complement the central theme either through color or style or sometimes just because it feels right. I may stamp or doodle in some of the blank spaces and then I always add some shadow to that central piece of the collage. I usually add a final coat of gel medium and then I will probably go over the page again and add more color and more bits of paper. I often make it up as I go along just with some intuitive sense that tells me what to add. That’s why it a real challenge when people ask for my techniques. When I develop my online workshops for example I always have to work backwards from a finished piece to get understand how I got there. I can’t develop my workshops by starting at the beginning and working to the end – that’s just not how my mind works (lol lol)!
There is no question in my mind that art is healing. It is somehow related to what I was saying about the fact that creating art allows me to be in the present moment without any distractions from future or past thoughts. It’s as if your mind is at its calmest and quietest when you create. And because of this your subconscious is left free and open to work through any troubled parts in your life without you even being aware. It seems to me that if you leave your mind in this state long or often enough, resolutions seem to form on their own and then seem to move, very quietly, to your conscious mind offering you answers to your problems. For me this is really healing – and it is a very soft and gentle way to heal I think.
Two things – the first is don’t give up, keep submitting items. The second and maybe more important tip is always make sure that the work you submit is of the highest quality of your capabilities. Don’t submit anything that you don’t feel absolutely great about or that you yourself do not absolutely love!
Can you share some business advice that may help artist sell more of their work?
It may seem like a strange response but I would say that what I have learned is that the best way to be successful in your business is to be honest with your customers and true to yourself. For me integrity and sincerity are really important in business and perhaps even more important in the art business. For example, I don’t think I have ever wanted to sell a piece of art solely because I wanted to make a lot of money. I create and sell art because I want to know that other people “get” what I am doing and love it as much as I do. If I look at it from a business point of view I understand that no one buys art because they “need” it. Art is an emotional purchase. You buy art based on some sort of emotion – either the piece makes you happy, makes you smile, makes you think – whatever it is it evokes an emotion. It is that emotion that drives you to actually make the purchase. And that works for me because I could never say I need to make money and then create a piece of art, the art always comes first and then I hope the money follows. I think that it is really important to have integrity with regards to your art. I believe customers sense that integrity and sincerity and that makes for loyal customers who stay with you as your business grows.
What do you know to be true?
What a great question! This is what I know to be true: I know that passion is a powerful driver. I know that I choose passion over all else. I know that passion will drive me to where I want to be.
Oh my goodness, so many good points here. I can completely relate to that feeling of being present with a calm mind while doing art....it's my best time for mindfulness. Also, I think your advice on wanting to sell art because it is so rewarding to know that someone else, "gets it" and not only because you want to make money is a wonderful perspective. Integrity and Sincerity are two words I am going to carry with me this weekend. Thank you so much for taking the time (and I didn't give you much) to give us such authentic answers. Remember, Cathy gets bonus points for acting so quickly so please everyone leave a positive message for Cathy in the comments. To learn more about Cathy visit her website and Etsy page here:
Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!!