About the Artist...

My goal in painting is to portray the beauty of the ordinary. I want the viewers to see their surroundings from a different perspective. I want the viewers to feel the shapes as light hits the form and describes it, to see colors they might not expect. Minnesota winters are a subject that I enjoy painting because they are all about form and light and color. The shapes created by the snow and wind catch the light and create shadows that contain surprising color and are abstract in nature. To accomplish my goal, I try to focus on more intimate views of the landscape. Many of my landscapes have a high horizon line, thus focusing our attention on the foreground and the details we might pass over.

I like to find the abstract in the realistic, whether by using shadows or by focusing in closely on a subject and cropping tightly. I am fascinated with how light falls on form, whether in the landscape or on a still life. Cast shadows are interesting, as they depict form and I use them to describe the shape of the landscape. Color and light are intertwined and affect how we see the landscape or a close-up subject. Light changes over the course of a day and from season to season. I like to explore those changes and use light to create a mood. Focusing on color, form and light and the relationships between these ideas is all a part of what I try to do in each of my paintings.

Most of my paintings start with a poured watercolor wash over the entire sheet. The paper is toned with a wash of three primary colors, letting these colors mix freely on the paper. This creates a wonderful color transition across the page, helping to create movement for the eye. Before the wash is poured, the whites are saved by keeping those portions of the paper dry, or by using masking fluid. The color is poured, and this sets the mood for the entire painting, with this first wash of color shining through all of the eventual layers. The initial wash becomes the mid-value range of color. When this wash is dry, the dark values are added for contrast and the painting is finished with the detail. The colors that are used are chosen specifically for each painting and typically only 3-4 colors are used in a painting. This creates beautiful color harmony and bright, clean color.

Biographical Information

Catherine Hearding is a self-taught artist with more than 30 years of experience in watercolor. She has a BA degree in zoology and botany from the U of Montana (1974). She works from her home studio in Lake Elmo, MN, and teaches classes and workshops in basic watercolor technique, color theory and composition.



9901 Tapestry Grove, Lake Elmo MN 55042
(651) 777-8158 or cathy@chearding.com

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