Artist Catherine Kirkland presents a otherworldly collection of colorful paintings in her distinctive pointillist style. See more by visiting her website.
Following a fine arts education and a long career as an award-winning art director, illustrator, graphic designer and production artist, I went back to college to study Interior Design. Ironically, a color theory assignment inspired me to pick up a brush again. Soon, I was painting small landscapes in acrylic on canvas, while rediscovering the joy of working with brushes and paint.
As my skill grew, I began to survey the art community in the metro. By visiting galleries and exhibits, I educated myself on local art offerings, realizing quickly that I needed to up my game. There were so many outstanding landscape artists; it was obvious that I needed to pursue a different subject matter. I had to find my unique visual voice.
It was on a trip to the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, that I had my “aha” moment. The museum features the artwork of the late Denver-based artist, Vance Kirkland (no relation). His amazing abstract paintings and techniques influenced me to divert from my representational painting style.
Like Vance Kirkland, the concept of space fascinates me. Space, both outer and inner, lends itself beautifully to abstraction. There is a synergy in rendering stars through pointillism. It was at this intersection of space and dots that I found my voice as an artist, and gained both customers and fans. My decision was affirmed after posting a new painting on social media. A follower remarked, “I knew this was your painting before I even saw who posted it!”
Pointillism is labor intensive, requiring not only patience but keen fine motor skills. During my career as a production artist in pre-computer days, I created “mechanical” art. Using technical pens, T-squares, triangles, X-acto knives and Rubylith®, I developed my fine motor skills creating “mechanicals”. The precision required in production art prepared me well for pointillism. I also find that applying dots of color on a painting is comparable to other forms of precise, repetitive handcraft such as needlepoint and cross-stitch.
When I began my space series, I focused on outer space themes such as nebulae. In more recent paintings, I have explored inner spaces, i.e., microscopic inter-cellular spaces of the human body. Expanding the space concept further, my latest work in the series depicts an open space…a vast, abstract mountain landscape.
My paintings begin with a loose design sketch on the prepared canvas. Next, using brushes, I paint large areas of color. Layered upon this under-painting are individual dots of paint, applied with unconventional tools such as dowels, skewers, chopsticks, forks and spoons. Tens of thousands of applied dots create the details of movement, depth and form.
It is through vibrant color and intricate dotted patterns that I strive to bring a sense of wonder to viewers of my pointillist abstracts. My greatest delight is watching exhibit guests take in a painting from afar, then draw closer and react with amazement at the thousands of dots that embellish it.