Even seasoned artists like Cathy Dalton can feel unsure, question themselves, lack confidence about their art work. I know. It’s hard to believe when you see this prolific painter’s output on Face Book (https://www.facebook.com/cathydalton123) and Instagram (cathy.dalton.studio).
After years of art education, teaching, work in theatre and producing art around a busy farm life, Cathy found herself living on her own in rural Nova Scotia, with the ocean breezes and beaches along the Northumberland Strait just a stone’s throw away. She also found that her inspirational well had gone dry. She knew she was ready to be a student again.
In 2020 with Covid encouraging all of us to stay at home and isolate, the time seemed right to access the many on-line learning opportunities offered by a host of talented artist/educators. Cathy sampled a number of them, including American artist, Nicolas Wilton (nicholaswilton.com) and British painter, Louise Fetcher (louisefletcherart.com), eventually focussing on learning more about colour with Alberta artist, Susan Woolgar (susanwoolgar.com).
Being the inquisitive and disciplined person that she is, Cathy threw herself into the colour course, meeting challenges and learning from participants as well as the instructor. The content of many of these sessions was not necessarily new to Cathy. She found it was more a reminder of design elements and art principals that she could pay attention to and incorporate into her own art work with intent as she moved forward.
Cathy has also been influenced by Scottish artist, Peter Kelly (https://www.peterkellyartist.co.uk/) and explored possibilities with mentor British artist, Christine Evans (https://www.christineevansartist.co.uk/mentoring-for-artists.html) whose work resonates with her.
If you too feel the need to reenergize yourself, try new techniques or add to skill set, Cathy recommends scouting out various artists on line to find a good fit for you. Many like Wilton and Fletcher offer free videos and workshops, enabling you to sample their teaching styles. Scroll through Instagram to discover art work that speaks to you. If the artists also teach, all the better.
If you feel you need a change or a rest, there are other ways to refresh your perspective and maybe even your work. Cathy is recently back from a trip to Great Britain and Scotland to “walk on the land of my mother and grandmother.” She speaks of being open to new experiences, using all her senses to hone her observational skills, and not only observing, but taking the opportunity to participate in the environment around her. As a creative who draws her inspiration from nature, the call of the windswept moors particularly resonated with her.
Time will tell if these experiences and haunting images will find their way into her abstract landscapes. Cathy does know that she is ready to tackle expansive space and further explore layering in her paintings. In the future? A one-woman show is certainly a possibility.
“I really cannot express with clarity why I paint. Even recently, this has been a source of frustration and I felt somewhat embarrassed. Today, I am thinking that the very desire to answer the “Why?” is good thing. And I am comfortable with my uncertainty.
So, I will continue painting until there is clarity. I suspect that the answer will be a simple one, with a sprinkling of chaotic sparkles.”