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     Violets are Blue


Studio News for Spring 2015


   paintings      •       drawings      •       reproductions       •      info


The Mill Gallery at The Guilford Arts Center

"The Artists of Gallery One and Friends"


2015 Gallery One Guilford Show Card front

"Gallery One" is a cooperative group of mid-career artists working in a variety of media and styles from representational to abstract in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics. For this exhibition they are joined by a number of additional regional artists. Catherine Christiano's large painting Uncas Pond will be on exhibit along with several small preliminary works. Please see the Artist's Note below for a statement about this painting.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 24, 5 - 7 pm *
Closing Reception with talks by some of the artists: Saturday, May 9, 2 - 4 pm
Exhibition Dates: April 24 - May 9

Guilford Art Center
411 Church Street
Guilford, CT 06437
Hours: Mon - Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun 12 - 4 pm
(203) 453-5947

Gallery One
For information about the group and its artists.

* Note that the opening reception is concurrent with Guilford Art Center's Friday Night Art event. Contact the center for more information about this event.

La Bella Vita, ArtsBall 2015, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

Catherine Christiano's Studio has contributed two works for the auction that will take place at this annual fundraising event for the College. One hundred percent of the net proceeds of ArtsBall supports The Student Scholarship Fund. This legendary annual event includes cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, dinner and dancing, and auctions of art, vintage collectibles, event tickets, and more.

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 6 - 11 pm

Ticket information:

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
A College of the University of New Haven
84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT


Uncas Pond  - Inspirations


Inspiration, I believe, is often thought to be a singular influence that leads an artist to create. Perhaps because it can be quite difficult to rationalize the thought processes that occur while an artist works, it has been sometimes referred to as "divine inspiration". In fact, my dictionary's primary definition of inspiration is "a divine influence or manifestation that qualifies a person to receive and communicate sacred revelation". Wouldn't it be wonderful if I had a divine muse! Perhaps I don't have one because, as the definition implies, I am not qualified. After all, muses are exclusively female and I am a heterosexual woman. Maybe that's why I prefer the second definition for inspiration, "the act of inhaling or drawing in". For me, a creative work is the culmination of a process that begins with taking in lots of information from throughout my personal experience. It all percolates in my mind, often over a period of years, and then during the development of a piece a number of these ideas become evident.What follows is a sample of what I was "inhaling" prior to creating Uncas Pond, the latest large scale painting in my "Spectatorship/Voyeurism" series of works that reflects my ongoing interest in exploring the depiction of the human form and the role of the viewer in visual art. 

Sumerian U Chicago 2

To me, Uncas Pond is all about the girl with the sunglasses. The other figures in the pond are enjoying a summer's day without regard to or awareness of any viewers. It is the girl, however, who acknowledges us as she idly floats. Her sunglasses add an element of mystery, they are enlarged mechanical eyes, unblinking, and omniscient like those of ancient Sumerian sculpture. The detail at left is an example of one of these votive statuettes from the Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamia (ca. 2900-2600 B.B.) found under the floor of the Abu Temple at Tell Asmar. I fist learned about these works back in 1992 when taking an art history survey course and what resonated with me was the importance of the eye to this ancient culture. When I look at figurative art, the eyes are of primary importance in interpreting the work. The eyes convey the psychological status of the figures; personality, emotions, and character.

Yana J. Paskova 2008

Newspapers, recent and old issues, are often found throughout our home and have managed to find their way into many of my  works. When I read the paper I will often clip articles and images that I find interesting. The photograph at right by the photojournalist Yana J. Paskova appeared in the Travel Section of  The New York Times in advance of the Sochi Olympics. As you may have guessed, I love floating on tubes myself and will never miss the lazy river at a water park! 

Uncas Pond

One of my former teachers, Deane G. Keller, used to say, "Always thank the models" for they are often the unsung heroes of artists. The models for this painting were my daughter, Sophie, and son, Noah, along with some unwitting swimmers. I am always grateful for my family's patient participation in my projects. They are in the photo at left of Uncas Pond, the great local swimming pond near my home in Connecticut that served as the landscape reference for this painting.   


00899-O_Uncas_Pond_C_Christiano with composition linesKeep in mind that when I begin to develop a piece, there are no requirements or restrictions other than self-imposed ones like the interior dimensions of my car that I will need to fit the finished painting into later on. In the early stages, a decision needs to be made regarding the dimensions. For Uncas Pond I wanted a large canvas, one that would allow the viewer to feel somewhat immersed in the scene. I also decided to use a double square compositional format. The overlaid lines added here reveal the image's underlying structure.

Seurat Bathers at Asnieres

I must also acknowledge Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres. I've spent a good amount of time studying this carefully orchestrated painting. Seurat's systematic organization of all design elements is impressive. Motifs including the seated figures, hats, vertical and triangular and curvilinear shapes, and colors repeat to set up a rhythmic movement both across and into the canvas. His modulation of values is meticulous and works together with the use of diminishing scale to create spatial depth. There is nothing spontaneous about Seurat's work just as there is nothing spontaneous about Uncas Pond.


Finally, there's caffeine. Uncas Pond is six feet wide and after all, that's a lot of canvas to cover. 

Image Information from the top:

Catherine Christiano, Roses are Red, Violets are Blue...(detail), oil on paper on panels with mirror, 7 7/8 x 31 7/16 inches, 2014.

Invitation image:

Catherine Christiano, Uncas Pond (detail), oil on canvas, 36 x 72 inches, 2012 - 2014. Photo credit Paul Mutino.

Catherine Christiano, Wetlands - Grey Day, oil on panel, 12 3/4 x 8 inches, 2001.

Catherine Christiano, Uncas Pond, oil on canvas, 36 x 72 inches, 2012 - 2014. Photo credit Paul Mutino.

Statuette from Tell Asmar (detail), Square Temple I, Shrine II, Early Dynatic I-II, ca. 2900-2600 B.C., gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone, 40.0 cm H. Excavated by the Oriental Institute, 1933-4, The University of Chicago.

Paskova, Yana J. 2008, The New York Times November 16, 2008: Travel Section page 5. Photo.

Catherine Christiano, Uncas Pond snapshot, 2010.

Catherine Christiano, Uncas Pond with superimposed grid, oil on canvas, 36 x 72 inches, 2012 - 2014. Photo credit Paul Mutino.

Georges Seurat, Bathers at Asnieres, oil on canvas, 79 x 118 inches, 1884. National Gallery, London.

Catherine Christiano, Coffee and the Paper (detail), oil on newspaper on panel, 10 x 8 inches, 2005.

All images with exception of those by The University of Chicago, Yana J. Paskova, and Georges Seurat are copyrighted by Catherine Christiano, all rights reserved.

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Catherine Christiano Studio
Matson Ridge
Old Lyme, Connecticut 06371

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