Thoughtful, optimistic, cheerful
I am an artist currently living on a quiet island in The Bahamas. I moved here in January with my husband and two young children. While I used to specialise in portraits, the nature here has really captured my attention.
I produce realistic compositions with brushstrokes heavily influenced by impressionism.
For my final pieces, I use acrylic. I use the paint thickly to give the impression of oil paint. For my primary sketches I use watercolors as they are easier to carry outside.
Technique and Process
I decide on a subject that I have seen when I am out and about on the island, either on the beach or in the sea. There is usually something about the texture, shape or color of something that I feel challenged to capture in paint. By half closing my eyes occasionally and really studying the subject, I try to include every color I can see. It is exciting to be living in The Bahamas where there is so much bright sunshine and vibrant subject matter.
Currently, the main theme of my work is the nature of The Bahamas.
Why do you paint?
When I paint I become so absorbed in what I'm doing that I find it hard to be drawn back into the real world (which I frequently am with a baby and toddler at home!) Apart from surfing, my other passion, nothing else makes me live in the moment so completely.
How often do you create art?
When I'm painting a piece, I paint everyday because I have trouble thinking of anything else. How often I can start a work depends on how settled things are at home. At the moment, my five month old has started solids and she's so excited about it, I'm spending most of the day feeding her. When she settles down to a regular meal pattern I'll go back to doing a little each day.
Do you make money from your art?
A local gallery is exhibiting some of my paintings so I hoping to. I've only just started painting after a long break. Being at home looking after babies is giving me the opportunity to pick up a brush again.
It's great having an online community for the support and inspiration it offers. I'm new to this world, but I particularly like following individual artists' blogs. I'm also starting to see the huge potential of Linked in.
My main art influence for my portrait painting was always Lucian Freud. I try to bring his lively brushstrokes and strong colors to all my work.
Contemporary Artist Recommendation
Kevin Cooper is a great contemporary artist. He is a famous Bahamian painter and I love his impressionistic views of this island. He really captures the vibrant colors of The Bahamas.
Please tell us something interesting from your life.
I gave up a settled and secure life in Switzerland to come to The Bahamas to build a house and have a better quality of life for our young family. My husband has to build the house before hurricane season hits this year, or before our money runs out, while I hold the fort at home with our children and try to stretch our money by selling some of my paintings.
Where would you like to see yourself as an artist 10 years from now?
Ten years from now I see myself in my artist's studio in the garden of our beautiful home in The Bahamas.
Advice for other artists
Don't worry about what other people are going to think about your work, just enjoy doing it. Your pleasure will show through in your finished pieces.
Nature Paintings of the Bahamas
Artists Website: Catherine Armstrong