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!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 Did you remember with anticipation the smell of autumn?
the colors, yes,
but the smell of leaf fall?
nor did I
 no matter,
now, we relish it

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hand painted
Acrylic on cotton
6" x 8"
(older piece)

All in all, it's been a great weekend.  Spent some time becoming familiar with textile guru India Flint's book, Eco ColourSpent some time yesterday with artist friends, LeBrie Rich and Joan McGuire, testing fabric swatches in conventional dye baths. Back at the house, I rolled up some eco leaf bundles per the instructions in India's book and steam-tested them for dye effectiveness. Today, I over-dyed some of Saturday's test swatches in mashed blueberries, and also took the paintbrush to the pulp (some of which is still adhered to the linen in the first photo). To top the weekend off, I went to see an awesome retrospective exhibit of Portlander Stephen Hayes' prints and paintings and was truly inspired. Indeed, it was a great weekend!

The rains have arrived and the wild(?) bunny continues to visit.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 2, 2013

More About Speed Painting

Sketchbook Speed Painting #2

Sketchbook Speed Painting #3

Several months ago, it dawned on me that my "sketchbooks" aren't really sketchbooks at all, but rather they are more like "idea books".   I use them to do thumbnail sketches (as in one to two inches square) of  possible resolutions to current paintings or ideas for possible future paintings; and also to jot down notes about various techniques and products, as well as ideas for possible future projects.  Meanwhile, I continue to be inspired by other artists' sketchbooks.  (Sophie Munns' and Lari Washburn's come to mind at the moment.)

Of course, the idea behind sketchbooks, and sketching in general, is that they offer freedom to loosen up and mess up while capturing scenes or ideas and simultaneously developing techniques and skill.  So with that in mind, I broke-in a new sketchbook last weekend that will be dedicated to "speed paintings".  The phrase came to me as I was opening the book to begin my first painting.  Now, by "speed",  I don't necessarily mean works that are completed in fifteen to twenty minutes or less, although they might be; but my intent is that the works will be completed in one sitting.   And my concept is slightly different than the Painting a Day (PAD) concept, that Annamaria Potamiti and others are currently adhering to with wonderful results. For one, I will not be doing these paintings daily.  Secondly, they will frequently not be representational.  And lastly, they will remain in my sketchbooks.  But . . .my speed painting goals will surely be similar: improve observational skills; expand my repertoire of techniques; develop confidence in color, composition, and mark making; gain speed; and develop images worth pursuing on canvas.   Sounds like a plan!  (Hoping I stick with it.)  I'll post  the results regularly on Facebook and/or Flickr.  Anyone care to follow suit?

Have a great week!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Park and Art

Spokane boasts a wonderful park called Manito, loosely translated from the dialect of the indigenous tribes to mean "spirit of nature".  Designed in the early 1900s, it now features a Japanese garden, a formal annuals garden, a perennial garden, lilac gardens, a conservatory filled with cacti and succulents, and Mirror Pond.  Such an ambitious project for a young city that was so remote; and still, today, an ambitious project by the City and 100 volunteers to keep it so well maintained. 

My sister and daughter and I took a leisurely stroll through the park on Saturday afternoon in perfect weather and book-ended it with some productive art-making time.  I christened a new "speed painting" sketchbook.  Perhaps I will share some images from it on another day.  And now, the work week calls.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Black and Citron / Prints and Marks


 Versatex fabric dyes on recycled cotton .

Well yes, I said I would be picking up the paint brushes this week.  And actually, I was referring to painting on a canvas; but so far, all I've done is experiment with mark making on fabric in combination with relief printing. 
Tonight's the night:  I WILL put away the printing tools and inks, and bring out the acrylics.

Wishing you a creative, productive week -- whatever your work and/or activities may be!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend . . .





A little harvesting.
A little fire to prime the smokehouse for salmon.
A little photography of patinaed wood and metal.
A little printing.

Next up?  A little painting. :)

Have a great week, and thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Fine Day

  One Fine Day
acrylic on panel
10" x 10"


Two months have passed since my last post!  This constitutes a record in my four years of keeping this blog.  But the hiatus has been semi-intentional, as I allowed myself an "art and blogging sabbatical" of an unspecified duration.  Aside from changing the palette of my doodle painting shortly after my last post, and doing a little block printing, I haven't produced any art whatsoever since the beginning of June. Outside of my nearly full-time job, I have been concentrating on the ongoing process of getting rid of things around the house and have also painted two rooms.  Beyond that, I've been enjoying time with visiting family members, and have spent time watering and harvesting the vegetable garden and turning the compost (my current favorite garden task.) 

The middle three photos were taken on a recent walk, and the last photo is of one of the clover patches that have gone rampant in our lawns.  This situation, too, is semi-intentional and is a decided departure from the well-watered, well-groomed lawns that one typically finds at our house.  After all, my husband is a landscape architect and he greatly appreciates a well-maintained design.  But here's the rub:  lawns in the Pacific Northwest require extensive watering to remain green during the summer; but clover thrives in drought conditions and furthermore, binds nitrogen to the soil, which serves to fertilize both the clover and the turf grasses. Equally important, if not more so, the clover attracts honeybees.  And goodness knows, we all need to do everything possible to support the honeybees, our lifeline to a vast array of our foods.  Oh, and by the way, bunnies like clover, too. :) After having all but given up hope of seeing the presumably lone bunny that visited our yard for a few weeks this past spring, it made an appearance a couple of days ago and enjoyed its breakfast of clover!  Sure, the look of the clover takes a little getting used to, and we do have the neighbors to consider, but all in all, it seems like the time is right to return to lawns reminiscent of those we remember prior to the advent of widely available broadleaf herbicides.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Flower Doodle in Process


Happy June!  Who can believe it is already here?

Hoping to spend a little more time on this 12 x 12 painting on a panel that I started last weekend. I approached it as nothing more than a doodle.  Beyond this, I'm contemplating doing some paintings on paper again.  It's been a long time since I've painted on paper and I'm thinking some quick, loose works would be good for me.

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chevrons in the Fog


A rather cold, wet, foggy weekend here, that was filled with extended family, cooking, a couple of walks,
and the beginnings of a new small painting.  I also managed just a smidgen of block printing on some denim from an old pair of jeans that were on their way out the door to a charitable reseller.  Pretty pleased with it, actually, because the "drape" of the soft denim is wonderful.  Of course, you wouldn't find the periodic horizontal marks an a piece printed by a master printer, but the fact of the matter is, I like the interest they add to the pattern.  Our family has consumed so much denim over the years.  Lot's of potential. . . .

Looking for a little inspiration this week? Watch this 4-minute video on Nora Fok, an English artist,originally from Hong Kong, who was shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize in 2007.  Nora creates extraordinary one-off jewelry pieces from plant parts and micro-filament that blur the boundaries between textile art, jewelry and sculpture.   

Hope you're able to fit some creativity into the week ahead!                          

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An Appointment with a Professional Photographer

 "Sienna Square"
 24 x 36

"San Francisco"
30 x 40

I've been concentrating on putting the final touches on several paintings in preparation for my first appointment with a professional photographer.  (Funny how a commitment can do wonders to build a fire under you.)  Yesterday, my sister and I packed close to thirty of my works on canvas into our two cars and headed over to the photographer's warehouse-like studio.  

Of course, this very experienced photographer has his system down to a science, but still, the whole process took about three and a half hours with lots of moving around the space as my sister and I grouped paintings by size and orientation, and he set up the background and lighting, hammered nails into the wall, and moved his tripod back and forth.   After each grouping of similarly-sized paintings was photographed, the photographer and I would move back to his computer and work with adjusting the hue, saturation and lightness in Photoshop, while my sister,-- thank you very much -- packed paintings back into the cars.  I came away with both tiff and jpeg images of each painting; some that were uncropped (i.e., showing the background) for gallery owners, and some that were cropped to show the image, only.  The photographer also created a folder of files formatted to 4"x 6", ready to be printed as postcards. One the best parts of the whole deal??  Images of all of my paintings are now easy to find in two folders on my computer, which is such an improvement over my existing hodgepodge filing system!  Such a time saver for me!

Anyway, the above paintings are not recent, but I've never been able to capture good photographs of them. It's so nice to have these!

Portland is heavy with cloud cover and rain, and lush with foliage and flower.  A nap would be perfect!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Bands" In Progress

"Bands" in progress
24 x 30

This painting has existed in my mind for several months now, so I'm happy that it is finally underway.  I'm attempting to achieve some areas of graphic clarity and some of receding vageuness in the composition, which is a current goal that I have in mind for my paintings in general.

In keeping with the palette of this painting, our yard is ablaze with luscious rugosa roses in various shades of pink and cream.   Their scent is heavenly. . . especially in the evening.

Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"The Sentinels" and Judy Hokanson's Mural

 "The Sentinels"
30" x 30"
Acrylic on canvas

Outdoor Mural by Judy Hokanson
(with motorcycle parked in front)

My most recent painting, "The Sentinels", is resting while I continue to contemplate the addition of pencil linear detail.  I like the simplicity and serenity of it the way it is and might decide that it is finished.

Imagine looking for a parking space and coming upon this huge, mural-size painting on canvas.  So amazing!  Although it was not signed, I did a little research and found it had been painted by Portland artist, Judy Hokanson, who sadly, is no longer living.  Such a gift she left for us to behold.  And therein lies the beauty and awesomeness of art:

Art moves spirit through space and time.

So keep making art and beautiful things!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oh, That Golden Hour of Light!


Not much happening around here in the way of art this week. 
But spring cleaning is underway and order is being restored in my home and studio.

And these were the views from my house one evening; with trees silhouetted out front
and trees and sky all aglow out back.
Amazing beauty.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sentinels, Remnants and Roots

"Three Sentinels" (Detail)
30" x 30"


It's been a little quiet in this virtual space.  But I've been keeping up with what's been going on in others' studios by making my rounds of the blogosphere.   And I haven't been totally idle in my own studio.  The detail, above, is of the painting that's currently demanding my focus.  It's a spare, rather minimalist painting at this point; 30" x 30" on wrapped canvas.  I like it spare. It's front and center in my field of vision as I move through our house; with each passing, trying to decide whether to add some graphite line details or leave well enough alone.

My husband's family has deep roots on this Washington peninsula; akin to these old (but shallow) sprawling roots of the spruce tree that might have stood there more than a hundred years ago, before the bay claimed the land. 

Monoprint with vintage stamp
4" x 6" 

I did this monoprint over a year ago, long before I came upon the spruce roots.  Each time I have viewed the print since then, I have rotated it back and forth, vertically, to determine if I liked the image best when it evoked downward or upward growth.  I finally committed to the roots orientation a few weeks ago and added the collage elements.  And then I discovered the gorgeous remnants of the spruce.

Happy Weekend!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That Diversionary Project

So here's a peek at that little diversionary project that I mentioned in my last post.  I'm not at all sure where I'm headed with this, but so far, it's been fun!

Regarding my painting on the panel, I went through the steps of the decision-making process I mentioned and in the end, decided that simple drafted lines were all that was needed for this graphic piece.  And as for the addition of the waterbased varnish??  It cut the waxy, reflective quality created by the Prismacolor pencils perfectly while leaving a soft look to the surface of the painting.   DONE!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Painting on Panels . . . In Progress

Untitled. . .In progress
10" x 10" on plywood

Well, I put that other, shall we say, diversionary project aside this week and got back to the business at hand, which was to accept the challenge of my sister and daughter to paint on wood panels. I'm at the point in this piece where I'm attempting to decide whether to leave the simple composition as is or to introduce one or two more shapes.  (Always so many decisions to make as you move a piece along!)  To help me in the decision process I'll probably print multiple wallet-size photos of this image and use Prismacolor pencils to try all sorts of possibilities, or maybe I'll quickly paint pieces of paper and cut out assorted shapes of the various shapes to temporarily affix to the painting.  Or, maybe I'll do both.  And then I'll move forward, finish the details, and wrap it up.

By the way, if you've been following, you'll recall that I put out a call to followers for tips for painting on panels and a wonderful illustrator, Grace of Silver Swan, who was previously unknown to me, stepped forward and suggested using Prismacolors.  Such a great suggestion because the grain of the wood allows you to lay down color on just the raised fibers.   Prismacolors, being very waxy, also add a film to the surface, which is soft and lovely, but I imagine I will add waterbased varnish layers to this and I'm not certain what effect that will have on the filmy surface. 

So this was a warm-up exercise.  I have two more small panels to paint on before graduating to my 24" x 24" panels. :)

It's gorgeous in Portland.  I swear trees sprouted 1/2" leaves in a matter of hours yesterday!  A couple of nights ago, the neighborhood coyotes serenaded us and everyone's dogs joined the chorus!!

Here's to a terrific weekend.  And thank you for your interest in what's happening here!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Along that Ol' Country Road



 Too bad I wasn't able to truly do justice to these pussy willows with my photography.  They were spectacular in the grey light against the alder trunks when I went for a walk.  But. . . story of my life. . . I did not have my camera.  I went back out later, but of course the light had changed.  I must say, the pussy willows were the main event along this road.  But the fern wreath was a lovely discovery, too, no doubt only in view during the winter months when the deciduous leaves are down. 

Still haven't started painting on that silly panel yet.  Instead, I spent a few hours this weekend cutting paper in preparation for a couple new pieces.  Hope to have something to show for my efforts soon.

And I'm still working on getting the hang of Facebook.  My initial attempts were thwarted by having gotten the cart before the horse:  I set up a "page" not realizing that I was supposed to set up a profile first!  I spent a couple of weeks backing myself back out of that one, but finally, Gloria Freshley Studio is up and running!  I'm not certain I'll ever establish a Twitter account, so theoretically, my professional studio page will be the place where I'll  post very short updates about what's going on in my art world.  Hope you'll stop by, when you get a moment. . .

And if the above photos leave you in want of color, check out the work of Becca Stadtlander and Martyna Zoltaszek.   Becca's mastery of pattern and detail is amazing, and Martyna's world of animals is dreamlike. 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

A New Piece and Lingering Tulips

 Mixed Media Collage
5" x 5"


Normally, I tend to the bouquets that find their way into our home. By that, I mean I whisk away any flowers that are no longer in their prime.  But I missed a few beats with this Valentine's bouquet of beautiful pink and white tulips.  I had removed it from the center of our table so that I could spread work out and had placed it under a lamp and then didn't pay much attention to it.  But a few days ago when I went to turn the lamp off, I was struck by the translucent state of the decaying pink tulips.  They were stunning, especially with the light source nearby.  At that point, their petals still maintained their shape and the flowers had simply "relaxed" to the inverted-open-umbrella position.  But of course, as luck would have, we were in the middle of a string of very dark, Portland-grey days and I could not get good photos.  So I just continued to observe the process unfold, mindful of the fact that I had never taken the time to do so before.  Yesterday, they were in various sculptural states of demise and the light was with me.   Today, they'll be added to the compost pile but I will continue to enjoy them via these images.  The circle of life is so amazing. . .