Saturday, April 5, 2014

Twisted Strands . . .Still In Progress

A rather dark, soft-focus view of Twisted Strands (24 x 30 --in progress)

  Soft-focus view out our front door. A foggy Portland morning illuminated by the rising sun.

Funny how a painting develops.  Or should I say, "Funny how my paintings develop."   Twisted Strands began as a colored pencil thumbnail sketch of the very simple composition depicted above, sans the succession of rectangles on the top.  The sketch was done in a saturated color palette of orange, cerise, teal and yellow, ala the Chinese export bowls that I love; and my first session on the painting took it in that direction. But as the days passed, I gradually lightened the painting up, save for the large rectangles on the bottom that remained in saturated hues of orange.  

Meanwhile, I alternately hung the painting in portrait and landscape views, struggling with the composition as I continued to struggle with the palette.  (If you missed it, you can see an earlier state of the painting here.) Late the other night, I decided the orange rectangles had to go, and the strands, which had recently gone very dark, needed to be lightened up.  So, here we are.  And today, I am contemplating how I will wrap this painting up, and whether I'm brave enough to "pierce" one or both of the large, now white rectangles. And therein lies the intrigue and joy of painting!   

Oh, and the lovely bowls with the Oriental feel?  Well, you can read about them here. When the painting's palette shifted, the bowls immediately came out of the cupboard. :)

Happy weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Patchwork In the Land of Alders


-  A foggy morning at the bay, obliterating the view to the distant hills:  I was desperate to get outside with my camera twenty minutes earlier, when the fog seemed to be all the way to the picket fence. But a neighbor had "dropped in" to catch up and I couldn't very well say, "Excuse me while I grab my camera and run to capture the beauty."

-  Salvaged fabric, waiting to be patched together with some rhyme or reason:  A larger concept is unfolding, but first, a trip to a sewing machine repair shop is in order.

-  Patchworks in the "back forty":  My husband cleared five new patches of ground, planted five young apples trees, and sank large alder posts at the corners of the patches. We pulled heavy wire mesh around the posts to keep the deer from dining on the young trees. 
-  Nearby blueberry bushes in the glorious state of pink leaf buds with lichen and collected raindrops:  Winter, spring and fall are my favorite seasons to view the bushes.

Hope your week is going well. And thanks for visiting!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Twisted Strands . . . In progress

 "Twisted Strands" (left) in progress
"Bands" (right) completed

I've been working on a new painting, "Twisted Strands."  It's in the "hanging-on-the-wall-so-I-can-ponder-my-next-step" phase.  Yesterday, I hung it next to "Bands"and I taped some waxed paper to it to get a sense of what a semi-transparent foggy rectangle would look like as a compositional element.  Today, I plan  to paint the rectangle, and to truly commit to laying some color down on the twisted strands.  


Sunday, February 9, 2014


I like simple, graphic compositions and industrial imagery.  So I jumped at the chance to take some pics of a passing train recently, when my car was first in line at the tracks in Portland's waterfront warehouse district.  And yes, that's a woman on top of the building in the first photo. . . but it's only a mannequin.  :)

Portland is wrapped in ice-covered snow today.  I'm heading to my studio.  Good thing it's in the house!

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

When Great Artists Come Together


Found this video via Earth eMag (via Sophie Munns).  Guess I've watched it at least five times.  And actually, I could listen to it on repeat all day long.  You really must watch the whole thing once (and then dance to it the second, third, fourth and fifth times!)  Jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Herbie Hancock brought together brilliant vocalists and musicians from around the world for The Imagine Project, which includes this fabulous cross-cultural arrangement of John Lennon's classic song.  I love watching the faces of the collaborators.  Of course, as one might guess, the artists' performances (and faces) are filled with passion, but there's also this sense of deep mutual respect, delight, and perhaps a bit of awe at what they are creating and experiencing together.  If ever there were an arrangement and performance of this song that left me feeling hopeful for the world, this studio session is it.  So wonderful to know that Herbie was selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree this past September for his significant contribution to American culture.

Enjoy, and for goodness sake, share this wonderfulness!

(P.S.-- If the above video doesn't stream correctly for you, here's the link to watch the video on YouTube. (Or you should be able to click on the YouTube button above.)  And apologies, this is the first time I've tried to add a video to my blog.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Speed Painting #5

Sketchbook Speed Painting # 5 - Acrylic

Hello everyone!  I've been rather absent from here lately,  but I've been making the rounds of the blogosphere on a daily basis.  The creative energy on display from around the globe is so stimulating and inspiring.  It keeps me in a perpetual state that reminds me of horses behind the starting gates, or runners on their marks, or . . . the beagle we once had, as he waited (not so patiently) just inside the door while we frantically scrambled to put his leash on.  It all boils down to pent up creative energy waiting to be released.  If you're like me, trying to squeeze your artistic pursuits in between a full time job and the rest of life's demands, you can probably relate. :)   Anyway, aside from not having created much art, I've been very busy around here, and am getting close to a point where I will be able to devote more time to painting.  A little more on that later; for now, here is the fifth speed painting from my sketchbook.  Speed paintings, after all, don't take much time. :)

The weekend is here!  Hooray!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Paintings by Catherine Freshley

24" x 48" on gallery-wrapped canvas

Spring Storm on the Palouse 
30" x 30" on gallery-wrapped canvas

Clouds Over the Columbia 
24" x 24" on boxed birch panel

I've been more than a little preoccupied the past couple of months, planning for and now in the midst of a small remodeling project that has impacted several areas of our house in successive stages.  We currently have all of the furnishings from our living/dining/kitchen areas crammed into other areas of the house while our hardwood floors are being refinished.  The stove is not operational, the refrigerator is not in the kitchen, the dishwasher is taped shut, the kitchen cabinets are taped shut and covered with plastic, and wispy sheaths of plastic drape the doorways between rooms. There is a foggy quality of light in these rooms, and with everything out of them, it is only too apparent that they are in much need of fresh paint and that this would be an opportune time to address the situation.  Except that. . . . it is December 10th and guess who would be doing the painting?  Hmm. . . Do people really take on these types of projects so close to the holidays? Needless to say, my art practice (and blogging) came to a screeching halt.  

Meanwhile, my daughter Catherine, has been very busy at her easel, preparing for her current show at South Perry Pizza in Spokane.  If you're in the vicinity, stop in to take a peek at these works and Catherine's other paintings, and while you're there, do partake of some of South Perry's artisan pizza.  The show's up through December 18th.


Thursday, October 31, 2013


 Speed Painting #4 

I've had some ideas floating around in my head about painting over stripes.  I need to begin some new canvases for a show, so I turned to my sketchbook to explore the stripe idea in a speed painting.  I'm glad I did -- I learned a thing or two.  I gessoed the pages first, blew them dry, and jumped right in by quickly painting one bright stripe after another. And then . . .  I painted over them.  

At the end of these speed painting sessions, I'm done.  That's it.  It is what it is.  Time to move on.

We had the nicest groups of trick-or-treaters.  

Happy Halloween and thanks for visiting!