Posted on

Freedom

"Blue/Orange Eclipse" by Cathy Durso

“[…] freedom – a state of being in which man’s relatedness to life is unobstructed […] Man has many hungers. But they all seem to me to be versions of a twofold one: hunger for freedom, and hunger for union, a dance of each individuality with the world.” -Mary Caroline Richards, Centering

Posted on

Trying my hand at expressive writing

I had four pieces in a group show put together in honor of the National Parks’ Centennial this year. For the show, the artists were asked to write a brief narrative about each piece. I never thought I was much of a writer, though I did enjoy creative writing in elementary school. Since then, though, I’ve felt that self expression through writing wasn’t for me. But for this show, I decided to try to get a little evocative and write in an impressionistic way, which I felt fit with the impressionistic quality of my paintings.

Below are the works I contributed, along with the bit of writing I included.

Alpine

The mighty Atlantic crashing against a granite shoreline. An exhilarating hike on a perfect day up a mountain with a panoramic view of the ocean, and wild blueberries to snack on.

Alpine

Secret Viewpoint

A hike through unfamiliar terrain leads unexpectedly to a hole in the rock. We climb up to catch a glimpse of the incredible vista.

Secret Viewpoint

Campground Sunset

Camping amidst towering pines in summer, when the sun sets late and the smell of campfires is in the air, with looming mountains surrounding us. The forest in the evening is peaceful, comforting, serene.

Campground Sunset

Twilight

The sun is setting behind distant peaks and the Milky Way is already visible. The bison have crossed the plain and are settling in for the night. A little star gazing, then it’s time for us to settle in, too.

Twilight

Posted on

Autumn exhibitions

I have a couple exhibitions this autumn that I wanted to let you know about.

"Alpine", mixed media painting by Cathy Durso“Alpine”, ready to be hung at Phipps Center for the Arts along with three other works

Coming up is the exhibition “National Parks – Personal Narratives” at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI. My experiences in America’s National Parks were a major source of inspiration as I completed my most recent body of work. I’m looking forward to seeing how National Parks influence other artists’ work, as well.

What: “National Parks – Personal Narratives”, a group exhibition
Where: Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI
When: Oct 21 – Nov 27, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, Oct 21, 6:30-8:30 pm
Facebook event page

"Alpine Sunrise", painting by Cathy Durso“Alpine Sunrise”, on view at Wargo Nature Center

I currently have three pieces in a group exhibition at Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN. I love the idea of showing work related to nature in a nature center. You can view the art and the inspiration all at once!

What: “Systems in Nature”, a group exhibition
Where: Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes, MN
When: on view through December 2016

If you can make it to either of these exhibitions, let me know!

Posted on

Open Spaces

I’m thrilled to announce that my newest body of work is now available.

"Open Spaces", a collection of mixed media paintings by Cathy Durso

“Open Spaces” is a collection of mixed media paintings on paper inspired by time spent outdoors. I have always loved spending time outside. From a young age, I was camping and hiking through the mountains of New England and upstate New York. My love of being in the forest, surrounded by mountains, has carried through and intensified since then.

Moving Through Forest 2“Moving Through Forest 2”

There’s nothing like the feeling of reaching the top of a peak, knowing that my own two legs carried me there. But it’s not just about reaching the top. It’s being in the forest, on the mountain. Breathing in the scent of pine; trampling over roots and rocks and dead leaves that have been trampled by many before me and will be trampled by many after me. It’s the history of the trail. It’s the silence of the forest. The color of the light; how it shifts throughout the day. The feeling of being surrounded by the elements of nature. Moving through it, powered by nothing but my own body, being one with it. In the forest I feel pure happiness. I feel at peace. I can breathe deeply.

Sunburst (detail)“Sunburst” (detail)

Since moving from Boston to Minneapolis last year, my experience of the outdoors has changed. If the forests and mountains of New England gave me peace, the vast plains of grass and farmland in the Midwest give me a slight sense of unease. It’s a landscape that is so foreign to me. In a vast prairie, even a single tree will bring me comfort. The lakes, however, are my saviors. They give me peace and ease to counter the discomfort of the prairie. Aside from allowing me to experience a landscape that is completely new to me, time spent in the Midwest has also made me realize just how much the landscape of the Northeast is home for me, just how much I connect with it.

Lakeside 1“Lakeside 1”

“Open Spaces” is my exploration of landscape and the elements of nature. Using acrylic, gouache, soft pastel, graphite, and oil pastel, I create compositions on paper that range from very obvious landscapes to complete abstraction. In addition to inspiration from my current surroundings in the Midwest, I bring in memories of past camping trips from different places throughout the U.S., as well as my longing for the landscapes of the Northeast, my home.

Four small works framedFour small works, framed

These works are all currently available for sale here.

Posted on

Small abstract landscapes

I’m calling these small works “abstract landscapes” even though they’re not all landscapes and they are varying degrees of abstract. In any case, they are inspired by nature – by rocks, water, forests, mountains – and I aim to express joy, exuberance, the feeling of deeply breathing in fresh air. Life, vitality. Memories of camping, hiking, splashing in a stream. The things that drive me.

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

The three pieces below are on display through the end of 2016 at Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes, MN.

“Rushing River”
Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

“Distant Sunset”
Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso

“Alpine Sunrise”
Abstract landscapes by Cathy Durso