Richard Boyd Art Gallery

August 2015: Katharine A. Cartwright “An Aesthetic Experience”

Katharine Cartwright ~ "Trapped 9" ~ Watercolor on Paper 16" x 24"

Katharine Cartwright ~ “Trapped 9″ ~ Watercolor on Paper 16″ x 24”

(Portland, ME) Katharine Cartwright’s exhibit “An Aesthetic Experience” opening at Richard Boyd Art Gallery on Saturday, August 1 at 10:00 am offers a glimpse into the award winning artist’s world. Kathy is a visual artist and scientist who has a unique way of observing and interpreting the world. Her paintings in a variety of mediums are exhibited nationally and internationally.

For nearly sixty years, her world has been at the intersection of visual art and science. Kathy said, “My mother identified me as an artist by the age of 4 when she taught me design and color theory. Her most important lesson was to never use coloring books and to create my own designs. This instilled in me the desire to create original and meaningful work.” Her father, an electronic and radio engineer, sparked her interest in science at an early age. This early influence and education strengthened her intuition-based analytical thinking skills and set her on a dual discipline course for the rest of her life.

Katharine Cartwright ` "Trapped II" ~ Watercolor on Paper

Katharine Cartwright ~ “Trapped II” ~ Watercolor on paper

When asked about the motivation behind her painting style and extensive series of works she replied, “The aesthetic expression of my imagination is gratifying and necessary. Like any Artist, my work is my voice and states my unique view of both my external and internal worlds. These expressions reveal my idiosyncrasies, idealism, philosophy, and perspective. I have created visual art for nearly 60 years. Although my life’s work ranges from the objective to non-objective, I always infuse the objective with imagined qualities that don’t actually exist. Transformation of an object is more exciting to me than depicting it realistically.


Katharine Cartwright ~ "Pinot Grigio" ~ Gouache on Arches Paper 19" x 15"

Katharine Cartwright ~ “Pinot Grigio” ~ Gouache on Arches Paper 19″ x 15″

I work in a series for years at a time. This allows me to fully explore a concept and gain mastery in technique. When I have nothing left to say, I abandon the series and develop a new concept for exploration. For instance, The Wine Series is based upon my desire to describe wine varietals through the characteristics of objects. The Shellies Series was inspired by my work as a paleontologist when I studied mollusks. I grew to love the elegance and symmetry of these extraordinary shells. The term “shellies” refers to informal paleontological lingo.

Shellies, Trapped, and Clark Island Intertidal are really just one series that deals with my lifelong love of coastlines and the beautiful creatures that inhabit this harsh environment. My depictions of those creatures romanticize and enable them to become even more spectacular.


Katharine Cartwright ~ "Fourier's Law" ~ Watercolor on Arches Paper 34" x 28"

Katharine Cartwright ~ “Fourier’s Law” ~ Watercolor on Arches Paper 34″ x 28″

The Laws of Nature series began with the notion that man cannot build the perfect machine run by perpetual motion, because we are constrained by the physical laws that govern our universe and prevent us from effectively harnessing and utilizing the materials and energy of the universe. Each painting in the series is an aesthetic interpretation of one particular law. In 2013, two watercolor works from The Laws of Nature series were selected by a seven member international jury and exhibited in the Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial in China.

During my life I have created dozens of series of paintings in oils, watercolors, gouache, and acrylics. I don’t prefer one medium over the other, but try to select the medium that best fits the concept for each series. Presently, I am experimenting with watercolor collage while I continue to work on other series using traditional mediums.”


Katharine’s education in fine arts, includes formal academic training from Kutztown University, The College of Charleston, and The Maryland Institute College of Art. This training enabled her to master drawing and techniques in oil painting. A few decades later, she gained interest in watercolor painting.

By the age of forty, Katharine’s interest in the natural physical world inspired her to return to college where she was awarded a B.A., magna cum laude, in Geology from the College of Charleston followed by a M.S. with honors in Earth Sciences from Syracuse University. While continuing her work as a professional artist, she also served as Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at Skidmore College and acted as department chair before retiring in 2008.

In addition to winning numerous National Watercolor Society awards, her art works have been featured in Visual Language Magazine, the Best of Worldwide Watermedia, Pratque des Artes (Paris) and A Walk into Abstracts. Cartwright’s works are included in hundreds of corporate and private collections. She has received Signature Status conferred by The National Watercolor Society, The Missouri Watercolor Society, and The Northeast Watercolor Society.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

© 2021 Richard Boyd Art Gallery, All Rights Reserved | Web Hosting Provided by Maine Hosting Solutions