Artist of the Month


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Cathy Stewart

Cathy Stewart loves to work with oil paint! The malleability and the richness of, and wide variation of colors achieved with oils enables her to create the beautiful, richly colored paintings she is known for.  Although Cathy has worked with other mediums, it is oil painting which releases her creative flow.

“When I was working in the Arctic I would use acrylics for convenience only but as soon as I was home to my own space I would always return to oil paints.”

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When asked about her art style, Cathy told us :

My style is mainly realism and as I develop I like to loosen more and become more representational. I feel lucky to be painting in an era where rules really seem made to be broken and are only guidelines.That encourages a lot of creative experimentation with some amazing results.

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“I mainly paint west coast scenery, predominantly landscapes and I have a particular appreciation for the old and decaying ninstint totem poles. A trip to Haida Gwaii seven years ago, and embarking on a sailboat for eight days, gave me firsthand visits to see and photograph these works of art. In their natural habitat they are splendid. More recently I have been working on portraiture.”

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When creating her work, Cathy has this guiding thought:

“What comes to mind first is to be patient with myself. The first layer/scrumbling on any canvas does not a  masterpiece make. Put the time in, find good mentors and supporters, read and learn and allow time for development. Let the muses work through you.”

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Cathy, what inspired you to become an artist?

“After our two sons were grown and living on their own I decided to take a drawing course. I had read “Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain” (©Betty Edwards, 1989) and understood the main focus of the book. Learning to see is the best precursor to becoming an artist. My teacher was Gabriella Morrison in Maple Ridge and she encouraged me to learn to paint. She is an amazing artist who gave me my first lessons and suggested I find other artists so as to learn about different styles and techniques.”

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What artists come to mind as having influenced or inspired your work as an artist?

” I am influenced by many artists:  Merv Brandel, Renato Mucillo, Peggy Burkowsky, and Richard Schmidt. I am also influenced by the monthly publication from FCA Vancouver Office, “Art Scene” as I watch other people grow and develop pursuing their passion. I think that Life moves us on to explore as we create, and that people and events come into our lives to teach and encourage us.”

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What would your ideal studio be like ?

“I have a wonderful studio and though small it mostly fits my needs. Ideally though and if I won the lotto, I would have a much larger space with three rooms: one for painting and the other for varnishing and framing and all the end play stuff that is necessary in order to show and paint for galleries. My third room would be a clean up station with water and lots of storage space.”

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With the experience you now have as an artist, what advice would you give to an emerging artist or someone just starting out?

“Rome was NOT built in a day. Take your time and build a strong foundation. I would encourage them to really decide what their motivation is as that will influence all of their decisions and choices as they develop.”

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What are your artistic goals for the future?

“My goal is to follow my intuition as it guides me and it does! Ultimately, I know best how much I want to paint and for what reasons. I am currently showing in a gallery in Ucluelet and usually exhibit at one or two shows a year. I  sometimes think I would like to exhibit in a second gallery. I want to keep growing and improving as an artist. Life has taught me much about need for balance and as I approach seventy I am aware of that as never before. There are no finish lines at this point!”

You can see more of Cathy Stewart’s work at her website: or contact her at:


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