Thursday, November 19, 2009

Painting the Man in the Moon, November 2009

Thanksgiving is upon us and it is one of my favorite holidays. No gifts required, is nice these days. We had a sparse harvest but I am thankful none the less. Thank goodness it will no longer matter if it rains here or not, at least until next year when we begin the saga again. I have been painting and experimenting with different paints most of the last part of this year. I am now convinced that there are just phases in an artist's life, where the searching becomes the art itself and the need to search overtakes the need to reproduce. I find myself for lack of a better word, content with the search for something new; a reinvention of my art and self. I find using different mediums helps to diversify my art and to keep me active and alert to the textures and feel of the different mediums and surfaces. Abstraction with symbolism is creeping into the fibers of my art more frequently than not lately.
Oil paint is something I reached for in the past when I wanted to be technically accurate or more detail oriented in my paintings, but now with the addition of the cold wax and the beeswax, oil paint has a whole new meaning in my work. It is now a velvety, matte, opaque road to traverse to get to the heart of what I am expressing in my work. The doors have reopened for me in my non objective work again and it is exciting to re enter that world for a while. There is an edgy contentment or satisfaction in the non objective work, it requires no explanation by the artist. I find with even a hint of realism involved there are questions to be asked by the viewer. I like to retreat to the non objective and just enjoy the shapes and patterns of colors for their existence alone and not for their meaning or symbolism of reference to anything of this earth. The one constant in my work as of late is the lean to the monochromatic palette and sometimes almost colorless paintings. I have worked my way into the earth tones and through them, all the while I am finding the need to layer and excavate my work. I think this is where the shades of grays and neutrals are finding their way into my work. I am finding great joy in mixing and layering colors and hues that cannot be labeled as a known color, but more as a reference to a color or colors. I have worked to make my self use colors that I almost never use, such as tubed greens. I was once told my an instructor years ago, to never use tube greens but to mix my own from yellow and blues..(so I think this is why I am trying to break this rule and prove that once again you must make your own rules or become static). I have begun to enjoy the mixing of colors and layering them with other colors till I reach neutrals that brush at the original colors without ever truly giving way to a named color. Each time I am reminded of water on an oil spill, and how it gives off a wonderful iridescent mish mosh of colors that change and swirl into unending numbers of colors, that is what I am chasing with my palette as of late. I want to make the eye interested in the colors but make the mind have to search for a name for them.
The search for textures that will add to my paintings is the quest I was on in the painting I have included in this blog.
I am mixing the non objective with hints of symbolism in an effort to work through my thoughts. In the beginning for my first layer of texture, I mixed some golden soft gel with gesso and textured my kilamanjaro paper. I am not thinking of anything except color at this point in my process, because I know this will be the bottom layer of color and that it will be a platform for building. I felt the need to have some boundaries on my paper so I tore pieces of old watercolors and placed them on the edges of the paper with the soft gel and applied gesso on top of them as a border around the paper leaving an opening at the top and bottom just for variety sake and to visually give a way to exit and enter the piece.
Full Sheet of texture painting for the underpainting.Detail of a part of the textural underpainting.
Detail of the textural underpainting

I layered several layers of watercolor and gouache on this and got some beautiful textures and patterns, but that became the problem; they were too beautiful and looked rather sweet, so I added several layers of the dreaded and previously deemed contraband tube greens on top of these beautiful under paintings and immediately I got more neutralized color, which to some might seem dull or the ruination of a great start, but it sparked the flame in my mind. This is when it gets interesting for me, and the focus becomes from this stage" make this work!" It is at this point I need to focus on the subject matter for the piece or whether it will have one at all. I looked at the calendar and saw the moon phases, something I pay little attention to in my life and I wondered why these moon phases are printed on calendars. They must be important, so I tried to come up with a reason for their being there and I thought about oceans, fish, and tidal waves and how important and constant they are to this earth. I think my favorite subject to paint is the figure so as a way to bring a figure into the work I added the ubiquitous man in the moon as a catalyst for the piece. I feel he is the spark of mystery for the piece. He is the metaphor for man and his ties to the moon and the different phases of the moon and the relation of man and the earth. I kept layering and adding textures and then I began to see the textures of the moon. I had the "aha" moment of losing the piece and then finding it again, only to find a deeper more meaningful feel for the painting. The rest is just finessing the shapes and edges and fine tuning the piece. This is the journey for my work, the lost and then found, the travel down an abandoned road of art, the step out into the darkness to find the comforting light of the finished piece. And when it is finished being comfortable enough to know it is only paint and paper or canvas and that the truth of the art is the process. Thank you for reading my blog I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and that even if your life and circumstances seem bleak you can stop and give thanks for life and friends. I am going to add on this short video of the textures up close in the painting as I wanted to start using some videos of my work on my blog. I think videos can sometimes show more than just ajpeg of the piece.

Take care and have a great month!

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Finding beauty in Barbed Wire and Sunshine...

The Mississippi Delta monsoons have stopped for a bit lately, but I keep an eye to the sky in fear of rain clouds. Everyone is in clean up mode trying to gather what remains of the crops out in the fields. The mood is pensive for sure and will remain so until the crops are in and the losses are assessed.
In the studio life goes on rain or shine, being a studio painter has its advantages. I want to get back to my watercolors but for some reason I am still working in oils, acrylics and encaustics ( I will eventually get back to the watercolors as I have two drawings ready to expand upon in watercolor. I even have planned the palette I will use, just cannot leave the work I am on right now. I often feel there are not enough hours or days in my life.

My muse has been the idea of boundaries and fences, in particular barbed wire fences. Why do we create boundaries with fences? I believe it is our human attempt to control our world. I think that in the process we forget that by fencing some out we fence ourselves in, it is a conundrum for sure. I also began to toy with the idea of mental barbed wire, the kind we create in our minds when we are so wrapped up on what we think is right that we alienate and hurt others, with barbs of words or actions. I find it interesting to look at the old rusted barbed wire that is around the pastures in the country. It is time worn and loaded with pieces of
animal,human, and inhuman remains that were somehow trapped and snared by it's barbs. It leaves me to wonder were they trying to get in or get out? I have found my use of barbed wire in my paintings lately has given them an edge and mystique that is quite intriguing.

Peace Talks
acrylic on canvas
36 x36
Cathy Hegman

The barbed wire themed piece that I will post is one that I painted with acrylic on canvas. My thought was of the world today and the barriers we all face. I would like to interject my thoughts at this point but I do not mean to say this is the only way to think about this piece of art. I used barbed wire to connect the symbol of peace, the white dove, with the three lips, the symbols of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The connecting wire is a metaphor of life. I feel this is how life is for me and might possibly seem to everyone. We cannot get peace without the guidance from above and we leave bits of ourselves on the barbs of life along the way, but in the end we are connected and at peace. It is an abstracted way of looking at life but I feel the older I get the more abstract and less predictable life seems for me.
You will notice that from the design and art standpoint in my painting, that I am using a non objective abstract background but integrating somewhat representational and symbolic elements.I often feel it gets a bit literal, but I still like the way it works on multiple levels, instead of leaving everything to the imagination, I am giving a bit more to the viewer.
Some of my art friends and I meet on the first Wednesday of every month to drink coffee and discuss what we are painting or working on, during our meeting last month Denise Dengler commented that she was once taught that you do not mix abstraction with realism. I think this may be what spurned this painting on for me, as I think that may be a valid point for some artists but I prefer to mix abstract with representational or symbolic and make them work as one.

I have always thought of the art of painting as a wild animal that is never tamed, but one that simply and elusively convinces the artist that they have control when a painting works by giving them the euphoria of completion of a painting and then the next time the brush is picked up, it is out of the cage again and the chase is on. This is why we just cannot stop painting!
I would like to reiterate that on this blog, I am giving my personal point of view and not that of anyone else, nor do I want to push my view on anyone. I would also like to say that the reason I am writing this blog is because every time a see a piece of art that I love, my first thought is not how did they paint it, but rather what were they thinking when they conceived and painted it. The thought process and the road to the finished piece to me is the heart of each painting.

I hope everyone has a great November and enjoys family and friends and remembers to be thankful for all that they enjoy! Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog!

Take care and have a great month!

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October 1, 2009 Non Objective Migraines and Art

The Sunflower River once again at flood stage

The weather has been merciless on the farmers. I blogged about the floods, then the drought, and now that the poor parched and beaten crops are ready to harvest, mother nature sees fit to send twenty one straight days of rain. There is very little left in the fields to harvest at this point. Today is the second day that it has not rained and the farmers here are out in the fields picking up the pieces of their dreams that did not wash away. It is sad but a reminder that life is never certain and we must not take it for granted.
The rain not only destroyed the crops but with the atmospheric pressure I had many severe migraine headaches. The pain from the relentless migraines and the depression of losing our crops to all of the rain left me almost mindless and without any direction. I just painted and layered color after color, at times frenzied brush strokes and then other times I found myself delicately brushing the paint and canvas, I was reminded of the opposition that I like so much in art and how one complements the other. I began to think more about the paint and less about the subject matter, it was as if a portal in my brain was opened and I could more clearly understand the non objective subject of art. I am sure that there are painters that do this easily and every day but for me non objective abstraction is the most complicated and the hardest art to paint. I fret over when I think it is finished or if I need more color, or if it warm enough and the list goes on and on. Usually, non objective painting is much like a foreign film to me with no caption lines to read. I love to look at it but often I do not understand it. Biologically I am not sure that there is any correlation between pain and discomfort and the opening of doors in one's mind, but I am almost certain that it happened to me. I painted some of the most satisfying work that day and since I kept having migraines for the next several weeks the work continued to flow in this non objective pattern of paintings. I have to admit I have done some non objective work before but I struggled through every painting, trying to fight finding something representational in it and capitalizing on it. The work that I painted the last few weeks was for me, the purest art I think I have ever painted. I am almost hesitant to post it, for fear of rejection, but I would be defeating the purpose of stepping outside the box if I did not show this work.

Cathy Hegman
36 x 36 Acrylic on canvas

Eye on the Sparrow
Cathy Hegman
48 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

The above two paintings are part of my "Visionary" Series. My thought for these was one of pure design of shape,color and form. The quality that stands out is not thought provoking but one of visual provocation. I think I began to understand with these paintings, the beauty of non objective lies in the texture,color, and shapes in the painting for what they are as they exist and not what they could symbolize or represent. I added small meaningful marks that hint at more than just the designed shapes but I think the comfort lies in the design, placement and color on the canvas. I also noted that I used much more subdued hues in these paintings, probably due to the layering and addition and subtraction of layers. This was a true revelation for me on my journey in art. I am not sure that this door will stay open or ajar forever but for now the non objective art has a strong place in my repertoire of art!

Take care and have a great month!

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Texture of Summer's Feathers of August and beginning of September 2009

Summer's Feather
by Cathy Hegman
20 x 16 inches

The beauty is in the texture for me this summer. I have become familiar and reacquainted with oil paint these last few months. I have always been intrigued with the application and manipulation of pigment and the respective binder. I find an unending mystery in this facet of my life in painting. When I view a painting, I am most drawn to the application and surface texture of the paint,and the means by which it was achieved. The texture can affect not only the tactile quality of the paint but also affects the intensity, pattern, and value of the paint. I am finding more and more that the texture can give the painting an "otherworldly and mysterious" quality that tends to make the painting more intriguing for the viewer. The edges of shapes and lines can be either soft or hard, giving different ways to achieve their dominance or non-dominance in the painting. All of these in essence add to the texture of the painting as a whole.

This painting began with a sheet of gatorboard and some raw canvas. I adhered the canvas to the gatorboard with matte medium and let it dry thoroughly. I then applied several coats of gesso to the canvas covered board. I let this dry and then sanded it a bit. The next step was to get out a jar of String or Tar Gel, I applied it with a stick to let it drip and meander on the surface. After the gel dried, I base coated the board with Napthal Red Acrylic. I inspected my work and decided the string gel was too prominent in the piece and looked a bit contrived, so I took out some modeling paste made by Golden Paints and the largest knife I could find and covered the whole board with modeling paste. This served two purposes, it leveled out the string gel and filled in the holes made from the stringy lines of gel and also it gave it a somewhat stucco looking texture which I liked. Well now that I had a really interesting surface, I had better decide what this painting would be about. I flipped through some doodles I had done on an old statement on my desk. I often doodle while on the phone, waiting for the internet, talking to my hubby, and just killing time. I do wish there was a market for these as I seem to always be doodling on something.
My doodle( everything looks better with a doodle on it!)

Well, this one caught my attention as I remembered thinking while doodling these birds,that these were an amalgamation of several birds that I love to paint and draw. I like creating my own species of animals and birds in my art. These birds somehow fit nicely with this surface, that much like the doodle were created by layering and reinventing the surface. I might add that it was a cool surface to sketch my birds on as well as it was like rough concrete and hyper absorbent. I really began to have fun when I started painting as it was a bit of a struggle to get the paint to stay where you would wanted it to, the interesting thing about this surface was no matter how tight I tried to get my edges refused to get a hard line about them. When you have a surface like this that is unpredictable, it adds a good bit of joy to the actual process of painting, as every stroke is somewhat of an experiment. I painted this in acrylic and tried to give it the same feeling that my oil paintings have had all summer. I did not achieve that goal but I am pleased with the results none the less. There just may be no way for me to garner the feeling of cold waxed oils using my acrylic paint , but I still love acrylics for their own merits. In short they dry fast!

Early stages of paint

Detail of early stages of paint. Note the charcoal redefining the edge of the bird and tree limb, these will intermix with the paint layers that come later.

At the onset the paint seemed rather raw so I went back with vine charcoal and redefined the shapes and lines and then as I painted around them and through them the charcoal mixed with the paint, giving the piece a nice feel. I kept layering paint and charcoal and finally came to what I felt was the finished piece! you know while writing this I was thinking I wonder if the painting would have been as rich without the red underpainting which is virtually not noticeable at this point. If you look closely you will see bits of red in most of the painting although it does not show up well in the photos. For anyone local who might like to see this painting. It is being exhibited in the One Blu Wall Gallery in the Fondren Bldg. in Jackson, Ms.

I hope you will have a great month! Keep Painting!

Take care,

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fishing Lines, Rain, Mississippi Magnolia-A life in Poems and August 2009

The weather is a changing and we have been blessed with some rains. The winding cracks torn in the earth are beginning to fade and melt together with the much anticipated moisture. We have had unseasonably cooler weather for the past week that somehow sashayed in with the rain. I have lived below the Mason Dixon line long enough to know it is a mirage, the heat wave is waiting in the wings. The dog days of summer are about to break out of the kennel and give us one last parching blast of summer heat. The Big Sunflower River has fallen so much due to the drought, we had to take our boat out of the river, so no more languishing afternoon river rides for us this year. I will throw in a photo of the river for the last of the summer and to open the way for the latest oil painting.

Fishing Lines (in progress)
oil mixed media
16x 20
Cathy Hegman

This is a work in progress and right now it is in the gestation period, or the time when I back away for a week or two to decide if I believe it is finished. My goal with this painting was to replicate or represent the feeling of fish as they school together in the water. Fish fascinate me and have for along time. I had Koi ponds at my previous house and I loved painting the Koi fish because they were so peaceful and calming. I chose to paint a fish shape rather than a specific fish, as the painting is about the action of fish and the feeling it can give rather than the fish. I believe the dominant principle of design in this painting would be repetition. The repetition occurs in the fish shapes,lines,and in the repeated circles. The lines are repeated not only in paint, but also in the lines of corrugation in the cardboard. The repetition also gives the element of movement to the painting, as well as the element of pattern. To conceive the calming mood of the painting, my thought process kept going into the thought of schools of fish swimming in unison, and how cathartic that appears, so I chose to use a calming harmonious color palette of earthy, organic hues to achieve this mood. The way that I achieve harmony in my palette is to find one hue (here it was yellow ochre) and to put it in every mixture of paint that I use in the piece, this ensures that the piece will be related throughout. It is often called using a "mother" color in some books on art and design. I even add the mother color into the lights and darks to make sure that I do not lose my continuity of harmony. I added a great deal of texture to the piece both visually and physically by collaging pieces of canvas, cardboard, and string to the surface giving it a dimensional texture.
I painted this piece with oil paints, oil crayons and vine charcoal. I will post any further developments on this painting if any occur. The oil paint has served to slow me down in my process and it has given me a new path to travel this summer. The slow pace is nice, but I have to admit to the fact that I painted two acrylic paintings while waiting for the oil paint to dry! Old habits are hard to break and diversity is a good thing!

*I would like to add a bit of information about a book of poetry by an artist from Tupelo, Mississippi. She is Patricia Neely-Dorsey and her book is titled "Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life In Poems". I think you would enjoy reading her work and experiencing life in Mississippi through her words. Here is the link to her webpage for more information on the book and Patricia Neely-Dorsey Patricia Neely-Dorsey's Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia - Home.

Have a great August!

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rock's Flying Fish Delta Dry Summer, July 2009

Sweltering Heat in the Mississippi Delta

There is beauty in adversity,nature has given a pattern of cracks and crevices that is both interesting and inspiring due to the drought.

The Delta for all of its beauty has been grabbed by the hands of drought and drained of any remaining moisture, leaving intricate cracks and crevices in the surface of the soil. The lack of rain after the floods of late spring and early summer have given the land a barren parched look and the bits of nature left must suffer the hardship of yet another lash from Mother Nature. The heat of summer is cruel and relentless here.

In the studio the air conditioning whirs as the oil paints are applied to canvas. It has been a long time since I have broken the seals of my oil paints and applied their buttery softness to canvas. I have done this month, what I should have done months ago. I have given myself the permission to play in and with the paint. I have talked and preached on and on, about how you should paint what you feel; and not what you think will win a show, sell in a gallery or even worse what will match someone’s sofa. The self preservation quadrant in my brain always seems to deny this effort and I find myself (even if I don’t want to admit it) thinking about the money end of art. I have to support myself with my art and it has become increasingly harder with the times and the economy. I find it much harder to be free to play and paint with reckless abandon and to enjoy the process of letting go of preconceptions. I have convinced myself that I would do this during the summer months. One way I felt I could more easily attain this goal was to change my medium ,so I thought about acrylic, but it was so close to watercolor and what I had been painting in all year, that I chose to go with oils. It has been enlightening to say the least. I started in oils 30 years ago and long since abandoned them for the speed and drying time of watercolor and acrylic. I had forgotten the glow of oil paint and the texture of the paint itself. The drying time for oil is much longer than with water media and the best part of the process is that I am forced to wait, thus giving me time to think more seriously about the work. There are many physical and technical differences in water based and oil based painting but each medium has its own merits. I am finding that it is a good thing to go back and force yourself to relearn the emotions and the physical motions of painting in each medium. My love of paint is more in the manipulation of the paint on the surface, and the oil paint brings new challenges with it. I cannot burnish and blend the paints in the same manner that I use with watercolor and gouache. In water media I can paint in layers and add the successive layers at intervals that are light speed compared to the oils. I am finding the difference for me, comes when I work in layers of oil paint they are more tactile layers, they have a surface quality that is dimensional even if it takes much longer to dry to a state that I can add more layers. I am finding new ways to express my emotions with the oil paint as it gives me an almost dreamlike quality which seems to reside in the thick viscosity and also in opaque quality of the paint. I begin most of my oil paintings with thinned layers and build up to a state much like a novel with chapters that build on the plot of the story. I admit it takes much longer but I feel like I am leaving these tiny pieces of myself trapped in the layers and in the end the meaning and the emotion melt together to give a story, that is hopefully interesting.

Rocko my 11 year old Min Pin and my muse!

I have always had a love for animals and have had numerous pets. I feel a deep connection with animals and the paintings I have been painting as of late are reflections of the love I have for my dog, Rocko. He is a Min Pin and small in stature. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for in his love. He is older now(11 Years) and I feel the need to express the connection I have with him. Rocko loves to go anywhere and frequently he goes in the boat with my husband and I when we ride on the river. This summer a weird phenomenon occurred during the rising waters of the flood.

My husband and the carp that jumped in the boat. The carp looks damaged but he swam away with no problem so I don't think he was mortally wounded.

Asian carp fish were in the smaller tributaries and when a boat would approach they would jump in the air. They were incredible to watch as they could leap sometimes 10 feet into the air and often times they would jump in the boat with us. It was a painful experience if they hit you when they boarded the boat, I might add. Anyway, as I like to paint my thoughts and feelings about life, it occurred to me that I should paint how this experience with the fish, the summer,my life with Rocko, the river, etc felt and the way this one experience was indelibly printed in my memory. I then decided to think about the symbolic aspects of the painting of a figure, a boat, a river, a dog and some fish(in this case leaping) and what this might tell me about why I felt it was important to paint this image. Perhaps the message is in the symbolism, as well.

Rock's Flying Fish
oil on board
Cathy Hegman

The symbols in the painting consist of :

Figure- symbolic of life, when used alone signifies the aloneness of life I used the figure to represent myself and I put very little detail in the figure. I appear really dark as I think weoften tend to view ourself as a mystery.

A Dog(in this case,Rocko)- symbolic of a noble and faithful companion in many cultures. I found this interesting that in Africa, the people believe that dogs have a clear vision enabling them to see into the spirit world. I painted my symbol of Rocko as much larger than he actually appears and red as it is a color that symbolizes love.

Carp- In China the carp is symbolic of strength and perseverance and if the carp jump with vigor then it signifies a transformation in life. I chose to place my carp in an arc format to symbolize the continuity of my life, it is a circle that often times I cannot see as a whole but that I feel is always in motion and transforming.

Boat- a symbol of transport,it could represent your life and the manner you navigate through your emotions. It could symbolize the voyage of your life. A boat could be symbolic of the ark and the animals and their safety. The boat in this painting is symbolic of a transport perhaps to another time and place for me, a part of my journey in life and art.

I think these symbols represent a good bit of what I feel about the painting, yet they are interesting and could give another viewer room to relate and feel something more personal to their life. I used many lines both implied and applied in the painting to communicate the connections that I felt were important to emphasize, the line between the figure and the dog, the fishing pole lines, the line on the boat that is resting on dry ground. Lines can be symbolic as they can give a feeling of connection or entrapment depending on the context of their use. Lines can physically link the shapes and are immediately viewed and felt but you can also create visual lines as in the fish in the painting they appear connected by their repetition and direction without the use of a physical line. The shape of the implied line in the fish, the arc, is one I employ in my work often as it has personal meaning for me in my life. I used a very limited palette in this work and found that I could layer and mix hues without end with just a palette of yellow ochre ,cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, pthalo blue, indigo, and alizarin crimson. The earthy tones lend the feeling I was trying to capture, indicative of my memory of the moments of summer days on the river with my dog.

I hope you enjoy this blog and that you will be inspired to look into symbolism in your work and to perhaps leave your comfort zone and use a different medium. I think leaving the familiar will help you to grow in your art work, I know it has mine.

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 2009 Sunflower River, Alligators, and a Catalystic Conversion

Above and below are the new residents that have moved in with the flood waters.
They are fascinating to watch,and it also keeps your blood flowing nicely as they can make your heart do double time when they appear a bit too close. They come in all sizes and we have 3 that live in our pond now, the largest is probably 9 feet or more the smallest is around 4 feet long.

Sunflower River Recedes
River Report: The Sunflower River is falling at a rapid pace these days. Here are some photos to give you and idea of how the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and thanks to man and his river gates it leaves at a swift pace! Notice the drop on the sides of the river, the watermark grows wider every day. The fact is now were are in a drought and need rain for our crops. The extremes in nature seem to have no ending for us here in the Delta.

Catalystic Conversion
Cathy Hegman
acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas panels

The thought behind this piece is one of motion. To me life is motion, happening all the time, creating and breaking down barriers with every move. This motion is the catalyst for the creation of the emotions in our lives. We are searching and exploring every minute of our life. Our moving and interaction refracts, reflects and impacts those around us at all times. Our mind motion never goes into shut down mode even if our physical body sleeps our mind is busy hatching new ideas and thoughts in our dream state.
Motion is something I have mused with most of my artistic career. I have sought new ways to paint it, in many mediums. I believe for me it represents life and the beauty that is in living. The most important aspect to paint, when dealing with motion is the actual perceived movement that the object will take, and freeze it in paint. I like to use this as my beginning design, and it is most often the form of an arc or sweeping shape, which by it's very nature connotates movement. I build my design and integrate my background to this shape of movement. I tend to use more organic shapes such as the arc and circle as they to me; represent our living state of being. I tend to gravitate to the earthy hues in paint but always in mixtures that are not identifiable as a common color hue. I prefer to layer my paints, in a scumbled manner in order to show some of the under layers and keep the harmony in my painting. The design in this one shows the figures in motion and the their motion is creating the circle which represents life.

Catalystic Conversions is a triptych comprised of panels that are 60 x 20 inches each.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a wonderful month of June!

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 18, 2009 Floods and Emergence

Outside my back door...Sunflower River near flood stage
The river is once again on the rise due to all of the rain we have had lately. The Big Sunflower river runs right outside my back door and it is a constant reminder of the control nature can wield over our lives. The river torrents and rolls swollen with rain from the North and it has invaded our land and taken our crops with no mercy this year. The end is not here yet as the television weather seers are forecasting even more rise in the rivers here. The loss of control over one's livelihood is quite unsettling, but it is a reminder that we are not in complete control of our lives and surroundings, and that it is futile to think otherwise. There must be a silver lining in some of these deep and brooding thunderheads, and only time will reveal it. I do know that the few days of sunshine we have seen this month are so glorious that it quite literally burns yours eyes and lifts your spirit as it renews your faith and love of nature. There is a beauty in this opposition and that is what keeps me painting and makes the journey more interesting.

Emergence II
by Cathy Hegman
acrylic on canvas
I began working in April, on a series at the Spring Mississippi Art Colony(, called "Emergence". Perhaps this Emergence series was somehow almost a premonition of the flood we are now experiencing, since I began painting it a month or so ago.
I am in great awe of the changes in life that come with age and maturity. All of our lives we are striving to be somebody and to find our comfort zone in this life. We are largely formed by the opinions and the observations of those close to us and society as a whole. We mirror others and strive to be like them even at times when it does not feel compatible, and this can be quite detrimental to the formation of our true self. We pattern our lives by what we are told when we are growing up, and in light of the best efforts, quite often we are told things that while important to another person's life and time really don't pertain to our lives or the times we live in. I loved my youth but it lacked a certain richness that seems only to have come with age and experience. I now possess the ability to discern the things in life that are pertinent and to overlook the ones that are not. The baggage I have acquired in my time on earth has been full at times and through out the passage of time I have learned to unpack and discard some of the contents. This series is about the emergence or the rising above the things in life that threaten to drown us and keep us from being ourselves. The painting "Emergence II" is acrylic on canvas and it 60 x 60 inches. Emergence II,is full of symbolism and metaphorical references to a female's life. I often use the figure in my work and whether abstracted , painted realistically, used in groups or used singularly; I find the figure is one of the most powerful shapes I can use in paintings. In Emergence II, I use the figure shape as an attribute rather than as a specific person. I chose to use the singular figure in the painting "Emergence II" to give it a more forceful presence. The numbers are a reference to the years of life and the figure is emerging from the years as a more complete person. The lines or ropes that entwine the figure form Xs as a symbol that she is overcoming the stigma of her female status and being defined by more than just a chromosome. The blindfold is lifting and the bonds or restraints, created by life are being loosened and removed. The very word emergence renders a feeling of victory to me, and it is the feeling I am seeking with this series. The victory over misguidance, mistakes, misunderstandings in life. The blindfold is significant in that our awareness of being held under and held back is often not seen by us. The bars serve to give unity and repetition to the piece and to give a slight thought of the entrapment present in our lives. I like to play with the surface space and break it into shapes that will reinforce my thoughts and the figure. I try to give as many things to the viewer as possible but I also add some things, painted almost subliminally in the piece to give it that little bit of intrigue. I also have given the figure a good bit more realism than I usually do in my work. I have painted figures for years without faces, simply because I wanted them to have anonymity and not to to be any particular person. Lately, I have been working with the figure and leaving out parts of the figure that are not significant to the painting. In this one the figure is fairly complete but I have left off the legs and feet as I did not think they were needed to complete the feeling and composition in this piece. In life as in painting often times the completeness is not in the details but in the overall feeling.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great month!

Cathy Hegman NWS, MSWS, MoWs, SW, SAA

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 2009 Thought and Technique

Cochise Last Stand
I take a black and white of my finished painting to check the value pattern. If you cannot do this with your camera, you can do it in photoshop after you put it on your computer.

Cochise Last Stand
mixed water media
22 x 30 inches
Cathy Hegman

Below is the painting turned to check for design. A good design can usually be turned and still maintain its integrity. This is a handy tool for checking your design on your paintings.

Painting turned to the right

Painting turned upside down

Painting turned right again, I actually like this one as well as the first one, but I stayed with the horizontal format to give it a more peaceful feeling.

The Process from Thought to technique:

I read once where you should learn something new every day to keep your mind active and expand your world, I believe this to be true.The internet has made our ability to learn so much more accessible, we have no excuse to not teach ourselves. My greatest anxiety now is there is so little time.
I was listening to a Joni Mitchell (my all time favorite song writer) song, "This Place", on the Shine CD and in the lyric she mentioned Cochise. That is all it took for me to begin the process of planning my expression of his journey on this earth. To read about Cochise you can google him or here is link you can copy and paste ( He was an Apache Indian and his life is very interesting.
The song is about how we all have a right to be here, and it seemed to hit a chord with me.
I have always had a deep respect and tremendous love of the Indians that once inhabited this land before our intrusion.
I decided to paint a painting that would reference the life of Cochise without being literal, this is my goal and first step in beginning this painting. This piece is created using abstract shapes and values, this is keeping my goal of veering away from being too literal. My aim was to create the mystery and feel that I always think of when I think of Indians of the old west and way they lived.
The hues I have used to paint this piece give the air of tanned hides and desert lands with hidden lapis and touquoise. I have become rather complicated in my layering of paint and the reduction of layers by working the paint at differing stages of dryness. This layering in turn gives me a more complicated texture on my paint surface and richer colors in the paint layers. I painted in many shape symbols of Indian life, in the painting with no regard other than the pure design of the surface. I chose to disregard the realism of scale or detail in this piece as well, to reinforce the idea that this painting not a description of Cochise or his life, but rather a two dimensional symbol of how I feel about Cochise and his life. I always try to put a form of power in my paintings, it is the enigma that sparks the viewer to think and delve into themselves to react to the piece. In this piece the power element is the weaving of the lines that seemingly stitch the piece together much like an Indian would stitch together hides to make a tent or clothing or create an environment. Some of the stitch lines are loose and some lines are tight visually and emotionally making the connection between painting and viewer.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great month!

Cathy Hegman NWS, MSWS, MoWs, SW, SAA

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Friday, February 27, 2009

March Post

I have been in the studio again after a long road trip out west to see one of my children. I love the west and all the many landscapes you encounter on the trip out there. Let no one fool you Texas is a BIG state and it takes a while to cross it. I thought I would blog on a piece I painted a year ago. It is called The Gossips for obvious reasons. I am just unendingly intrigued with the manipulation of paint on different surfaces. I have become increasingly involved with trying all manner of paints on all manner of surfaces. The effects you can attain are almost always unique and completely unexpected. There is a certain patina that evolves as you work the paint in layers on a surface. This painting is on Yupo paper which is a synthetic paper that has a very slick surface that does not absorb the pigment. Thus enabling you to layer color in transparent layers that read much like stained glass, the only catch is that when you agitate the underlayers they have the ability to lift completely, leaving you with a white surface again. This is very interesting and I like to use the slick surface of the paper as a reductive type of painting surface. In other words I like to remove and lift parts and textures to create interesting shapes of texture and color, that I build into recognizable images in my paintings. I reduce the pigment layer to create my lighter passages and use more heavy pigmented layer to create my dark passages. In the above painting, the hands shapes are the most important in this piece as they convey the lyrical movement that happens when people share thoughts and information with each other. I can then layer more color on top of these passages, giving me even more ways to create my paintings. I have found the when I paint many layers I can sand and distress the surface and then layer again and get unbelievable patinas and textures to work with in my paintings. I often find this manipulation is the heart of what I love about painting. I am most in my zone when I am discovering these kinds of applications of paint. Perhaps manipulation is not such a bad trait after all. .

Thank you for reading my blog and have a great week!

Cathy Hegman NWS, SAA, MSWS, MoWs, SW

All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and are not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Art Exhibit January 24, through February 28, 2009

A couple of paintings I have in the exhibit of fish, these are both in acrylic.

This is our entertainer at work, Son Thomas' son. He was great!
A few more of my paintings in the exhibit.
We had the opening on January 24, 2009 and it was spectacular! There was delicious food and only in the Delta, can one be serenaded by the son of a Blues Legend like Son Thomas. The music, food and crowd could not have been better. It was a really fun event. The photo above is Son Thomas' son as he sang the blues and kept us entertained! The other shots are of some of my paintings in the show. I am having trouble uploading on this satellite connection so this is all I could wait on today!

I have some of my art in an exhibit in Leland, Mississippi. It is in a gallery called Hobknob, a most unexpected little place in the heart of the Delta. I invite anyone in the area to check it out and experience the joy that the Delta has to offer. Hobknob is on one side an art gallery and on the other side it offers handmade pottery, blown glass, wood turned bowls and carvings. A most interesting place in a most unexpected location, which makes it that much more enjoyable. When you go there step down the street and visit a great coffee house called, Molly's. I am posting a few shots from the opening and the artist statement that I wrote for the exhibit. The artist that I share the venue with is my friend Kathy Davis from Arkansas. To view more of her art and learn about her. We had a really great time and hope you can go visit Leland and check out Hobknob for yourself!

Feathers and Fins, Friends and Friendship the Art of Cathy Hegman and Kathy Davis

Cathy Hegman

Artist Statement

Friendship is sometimes long and winding like the brown dirt roads in rural Mississippi, leading the friends on journeys that are sometimes unpredictable and other times comforting, familiar, and safe. The road is the beginning of new experiences for each traveler. Art, much like the road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find a piece of them that links them to the artist and the art. Art resonates and touches the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities.
Art brought Kathy and me together as friends. The bond that has incurred is one that is both tight and elastic as it centers on the journey we each travel with our art and where we are on our journey. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration.
This exhibition is a culmination of the art of two friends, who have only recently met but have a connection that seems to defy the brevity of the time.
I invite you to enjoy the journey of our art.

To Contact us:
Kathy Davis
1327 Lakehall Road
Lake Village, Ark

Cathy Hegman
P.O. Box 126

Thank you for reading my blog and have a great week!
Cathy Hegman NWS, SAA, MSWS, MoWs, SW
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and are not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Happy New Year!!

Glancing Patterns
by Cathy Hegman
Arts in Mississippi Award in the MSWS Grand National Watercolor Exhibition

Happy New Year!
Our life drawing group began again this past Saturday and it was so good to draw from the model again. I had to miss several Saturdays in the last part of last year so I felt very disconnected. I believe that drawing from life whether it is a figure, animal or a vase of flowers is a good thing to do. It forces you to use your mind and to work out problems and plan on the fly without giving you the luxury of putting parts off to do later. I am the first to admit that it is like any exercise, and that when you don't do it regularly the mental and technical aspects of drawing tend to get a bit rusty and it is very humbling. The beauty of drawing is that much like riding a bicycle; you don't forget how to do it.
I am posting above a photo of my painting that was awarded the Arts in Mississippi Award in the MSWS Grand National Watercolor Exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Ms. I have been awarded this top prize twice in the last 3 years. I am deeply pleased to have been in the exhibition and honored to have won the awards. I will share a bit about this painting and the thoughts I used to create the piece. This painting is one in the series of figures and birds that I have painted in the past 2 years. The premise of this series is the knowledge we can attain if we pay close attention to nature and the interaction that occurs when this happens. The girl and the bird appear to be looking at each other in some form of communication; one might wonder whether the bird is learning from the girl or vice versa, this is the bit of mystery for this piece. The title of the piece is, Glancing Patterns. I relied heavily on the design elements of color and pattern in this painting. Using each of the elements to unify and harmonize the piece. I kept the girl’s face and the birds face next to the white of the paper which in turn gave it the most attention, by virtue of faces always drawing attention and the value of the faces against the white of the paper reinforces the attention. Always use your lightest light against your darkest dark to get maximum impact in your painting.

Meanwhile a lot has been going on in the studio now that the holidays are officially over. I have put in some new fresh work at Jackson Street Gallery, in Ridgeland, Ms and I am about to put some work in a gallery in Leland, Ms. I will be taking part in an exhibit at this gallery later this month.

I have been reading and trying to more fully understand non objective art. The books I am reading are “Abstract and Colour Techniques in Painting by Claire Harrigan and Painting Abstracts by Rolina Van Vliet. I have not finished either of them but I am enjoying both of them. I am a firm believer in the power of knowledge and continual study. I do not paint non- objectively as a usual practice but I find some of the non objective work by other artists, really touches me and I want to more fully understand this emotional response by studying it further.
I am meanwhile still working on portraying in paint the emotional ties that bind us as humans to each other, and the aspects of letting go , grasping, trusting, entrusting, and gaining our own personal freedom in a world of labels and rules, as in last blog entry, Red Line. I painted a Diptych, two panels 48 inches by 24 inches each titled Red Line II and it is currently in the Jackson Street Gallery in Ridgeland, Ms. I am working on three more in this series and I hope to keep going as I am finding more and more ways to represent this challenging subject. I will post the photos as they are finished.

I also had a deep conversation with one of my children over the holidays about wikis and how to use them. I have been looking for art wikis on the net but have not come up with very many. If any of you reading this entry know of any art or painting wikis give me a comment or email me the web address. For those who do not know what the heck a wiki is, here is a very helpful YouTube video on wikis and what they are.
Enjoy life and have a great January!
All information and artwork in this post is copyrighted by Cathy Hegman. If you wish to use any of it please contact Cathy Hegman for permission. All information and artwork presented here is solely that of Cathy Hegman and is given in an effort to share with other artists and patrons of the arts in an effort to enhance their art journey and experience. and email