Artist at Work: Catherine Macaulay, Master Watercolourist

by Laureen on March 6, 2013

Macaulay - Sage Notes Burst - webCatherine Macaulay, Sage Notes: Burst

The artists who exhibit with Grasslands Gallery are some of the most talented and inspiring people I know. This occasional series introduces them and their work.

Grasslands Gallery artist Catherine Macaulay specializes in richly coloured images, free forms turned into structure, intent focus on plants we might otherwise just walk over, and a meditation on the Grasslands outside her home and studio window. With a deep understanding of her chosen watercolours and a lifelong commitment to really seeing, Catherine Macaulay has created a rich and extensive body of work. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is collected by major private and public galleries. In the last ten years, living on an acreage just outside Val Marie has brought a new dimension of light to Catherine Macaulay’s painting.

Catherine’s watercolour paintings are available at Grasslands Gallery. You can purchase them in person or online in the galley shop. This spring she leads a Grasslands Gallery workshop in the magic of painting in watercolour.

Here, Catherine talks about her career, her life with her art, and what’s she’s excited about in her future as artist and teacher.

Macaulay - Sage Notes October - WebCatherine Macaulay, Sage Notes: October

“I’ve lived most of my life in Saskatchewan. After obtaining a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Alberta, I worked in public libraries in Nova Scotia, North Battleford and Regina for a dozen years. Although I had been interested in drawing and painting as a child, I had no notion that it was something that one could ‘do’ as one’s life work. So I came to art making a little later than some. It was while I was working in the Regina Public Library in the early ‘80’s that I began to take evening classes offered by University of Regina Extension. I was hooked, and attending a two-week intensive studio program at the Summer School of the Arts at Fort San in the Qu’Appelle Valley was the clincher. By the end of the next summer, I moved back to Saskatoon to study art and art history. I established a studio practice there, until I moved to a beautiful acreage along the Frenchman River, just outside of Val Marie, in 2003.

“About the same time I became interested in art making, I began taking holidays that involved cycling trips through beautiful landscapes. The speed of travel meant there were lots of opportunities to ‘smell the flowers’ and get to know a small part of wherever I was in an intimate way. The cycling gave way to long-distance walks, and the interaction with the earth beneath my feet and my immediate surroundings became even more pronounced. I took great pleasure in the tiny details of the natural world.

Macaulay_riversedge_grasses_autumnCatherine Macaulay, Riversedge Grasses, Autumn

“My process has evolved as an interpretation of a close-up landscape that comes out of my own experience in that landscape. I usually work from photographs that capture its characteristics, and I use them as resource material for my paintings. I have always worked in watercolour, and I love the richness of colour in watercolour pigment and the magic of the interaction between paint and paper. I love to find that sweet spot between being in control and letting the paint and paper take me to unexpected places.

“I look forward to a continuing relationship with Grasslands Gallery in Val Marie, where visitors to this special part of the world can experience the grasslands through the eyes of the gallery’s rich range of artists and crafters.  I’m also excited about new exhibition opportunities with the Nouveau Gallery in Regina. And while continuing my painterly explorations of the native prairie, I’m planning a new body of work based on my frequent visits to Galloway in Scotland.

“Also in the near future, I’m looking forward to the watercolour workshop I’m teaching in Val Marie, hosted by Grasslands Gallery. As a teacher I want my students to gain an appreciation for the power of paint, and the power that they have in making it work for them. I hope they learn how to sharpen their observation skills, and discover that their particular way of seeing is the springboard for creating their own exciting work.”

Macaulay-Cat-Garden-gaillardia3Catherine Macaulay, Grasslands Garden: Gaillardia

These paintings and many other choices are available for purchase at Grasslands Gallery. Just click on the image. For stories about other Grasslands Gallery artists, please go here.

 *   *   *

 Know someone who’d like to see this? Please feel free to pass it on!

The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates with beautiful images, stories about the Grasslands and its artists and inspiration every week, just put your email in the box on the right. We never share your email address.


Previous post:

Next post: