While we are very attached to our Carolina foothills, we concede that getting acquainted with Catherine Freshley’s art has made us yearn for a peak at the Oklahoma skyline with our own two eyes. Her ability to capture not only the idyllic look, but nostalgic feel of the wide open pastures in her home state constantly delight us. I loved the opportunity to chat with her about what her love of landscapes, and how they inspire her beautiful pieces.
Roominate (R): What inspired you to become an Artist? How did you get started?
Catherine Freshley (CF): I have always been making art. It has always been my favorite hobby, whether drawing when I was a child or painting now. I can’t not create art, so I decided to figure out how to make money doing it.
R: Walk us through your process when you’re creating a piece – where do you start? What inspires a piece? Etc.?
CF: I am most inspired by the natural beauty of our everyday landscapes. I live in Oklahoma right now, surrounded by miles and miles of prairie. It, and the sky above it, is beautiful to me. While something like the Grand Canyon or Glacier National Park might be more breathtaking, I prefer to paint things that are more ordinary – to celebrate the beauty of our “normal” scenes that is often overlooked. Most often, I take a photo while I am out and about and come back to my studio to paint from the photo on my computer. I am also inspired by colors and textures I see everywhere in art and non-art pieces. Those inspirations might not show up in obvious ways in my work, but they motivate me to create something beautiful.
R: How has you style changed over time?
CF: I am always trying to paint more simply but it is very hard for me. I want to capture the feeling of a place, not every blade of grass.
R: What should people know about your work that they might not be able to tell by looking at it?
CF: I am very interested in the idea of capturing or documenting, almost in a historical way. I don’t think of myself so much as creating art, but of capturing or representing something that has already been created.
R: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve created so far?
CF: My favorite piece is often my most recent one, or a very recent one because my painting and the types of landscapes I want to paint are evolving. Right now, it might be a piece called “Drummond Sunset 2.” I’ve actually taken it out of my website shop because I am tempted to keep it, which I never do. I mentioned earlier that I want to paint more simply. If you squint, this painting would just be horizontal stripes. I like the combination of the deep red with the more pastel colors of the grass and the clouds.
R: What are some of your other ‘hidden’ talents?
CF: I also work as a brand and digital advertising strategist and I’ve been told I’m good at that, but that’s not very hidden. I am also good at baking and I like to think I’m good at dancing.
R: What is your studio/workspace like? What are your favorite places to work/create?
CF: I love my studio except for the fact that it could be a bigger. At one point, it probably used to be a screened in porch. It has a lot of windows, so I feel like I am outside even when I’m inside. It has French doors into our living room, so I can be as much or as little a part of the house as I want. The walls feature nice, terracotta tiles and a mix of brick and wood that are painted green. It is typically much more of a mess than I want it to be, but it has room for a good “judging chair” where I can rest for a bit and study works in progress. For really big paintings, I have had to move my operations to an office I rent in a building downtown because it has bigger walls.
R: What is your biggest achievement as a creative? What are you proudest of?
CF: I had two big corporate commissions in 2017 that were huge wins for me. First, the Oklahoma City Thunder commissioned me to paint a huge, three-piece painting for Chesapeake Energy Arena. Then, I was commissioned to do six paintings for the waiting room at a new cancer center. That wasn’t as high profile, but it was my biggest project to date. More important, I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility; I hope that my paintings can bring some peace and calm to the patients and their loved ones in the waiting room.
R: If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
CF: Peaceful, approachable, contemporary
R: If you wanted your audience to know one thing about you/your work, what would it be?
CF: My work captures the beauty that is around us every, single day. It is so cliché, but I am a huge believer in stopping and smelling the roses.
R: What advice do you have for emerging Artists?
CF: I am definitely still an emerging artist! The success I have found so far has been due to putting the hours in in the studio, treating my art like a business (helps to have seven years’ experience at an ad agency!) and working to develop good relationships.
R: How long have you been working with us at pictureframes.com?
CF: I started working with pictureframes.com a year and a half ago based on a word of mouth recommendation and couldn’t be more thrilled. My husband and I built one floater frame before that and while I was pleased with the finished product, building it was a headache and not how either of us want to spend our time. Buying from pictureframes.com is so much faster and I feel more confident in the product I am selling to my clients. I would much rather spend more time painting than more time building frames!
R: How do you go about selecting a frame for your pieces?
CF: I have only used floater frames in silver and gold leaf and white. I think floater frames best show off my style of paintings. They accomplish a clean and modern look. I have been selling unframed canvases for years, but man, this takes it to a new level.
R: If you could tell your audience anything about working with us, what would be it?
CF: I’ve already told my customers that your product is great and you are easy to work with. I tell them framing the paintings is so easy that if they choose to frame my painting at a later date, I would be happy to do it for them or they can even do it themselves.
Written by Roominate contributor Sarah