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Cathy McMurray

Posted by Kate Singleton on

Cathy McMurray is a Portland, Oregon artist, photographer and blogger

Cathy with Alpine Peak

Where are you from and where do you live now?

Iʼm a native Portlander. I lived in Eugene, Ore. for 11 years but moved back to Portland in ʼ06.

Shot of a Portland bridge by Cathy.

What is your history of making art?

I have been focusing on my art for the past three years. Before then, I was teaching art to high schoolers and then running a retail shop that promoted other peopleʼs art.

You've been busy creating a lot of art over the last couple of years. Has a lot changed in your practice over this time?

Iʼm definitely settling into my style now versus developing it, so more time can be devoted to production than experimentation. However, with my art getting greater exposure this past year, my creative time is being split between personal and client projects. When I first opened my Etsy shop, I was committed to creating a new work of art every week. Even with a full schedule, I try to stick to that goal today.

Sleeping Mountain

A distinguishing feature in this series is the contrast between landscapes with very dramatic perspective (especially in #3 and #5) and others (#1 and #6) with virtually no perspective. Can you talk a bit about this?

All of the works in this show were inspired by photographs I took on my travels in Oregon and beyond. Some of the images were just taken at a more dramatic angle. Flattened perspective can be accentuated in my art by the simplification of natural forms. In alpine peak, for example, I limit the darker shadows on the mountain to a two tone color scheme, creating a stronger graphic quality.

Lake Ridge, Alpine Peak

You are clearly very inspired by the Oregon landscape, but what inspires the graphic details and flourishes in your work?

I studied printmaking in college, and I see that influence in my work as a painter. . . like using a tool to etch a repetitive design into the wood panel. I am always drawn to art of printmakers, especially Japanese woodblock prints. The patterned works of Bauhaus artists never cease to inspire me, too.

River Gorge

Do you find that feedback from fans and friends online influences your creative practice?

Positive feedback from fans is the greatest encouragement. When you work alone, itʼs easy to succumb to self-doubt. If I stopped getting comments on my blog or via Etsy, I know I wouldnʼt be as motivated to create art. Feedback can also influence what I create. I recently made a print of an original painting called In the deep dark woods due to inquiries and encouraging comments.

Painted bowl by Cathy.

Any fun plans for this summer?

I want my daughters to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible this summer, so weʼre planning a family day hike each week. Iʼd also like to head up north to the Olympic Peninsula. I have a feeling thereʼs a wealth of inspiration that awaits me there.

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  • So beautiful! I just love these. Especially River Gorge! Too bad someone beat me to that one.

    Jackie on

  • Louise, You are a dear for sharing your enthusiasm for Cathy’s work! We (the artists and I) love getting feedback on shows! Thanks! Kate

    Kate on

  • I have been admiring these for days! If I had $300 to drop on some art work I would do so right here. The mixed media approach is always refreshing, and the deep/ occasionally bright colors make a great statement. Anyway, enough of my critique, but suffice to say I think these paintings are the bees knees.

    Louise on

  • I really love this work, so inspiring and beautiful!

    Rachel Mosler on

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