Meet Cathryn Leyland

Meet Cathryn Leyland

Cathryn Leyland is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of September–October 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and work in progress). We asked Cathryn a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Artist in Residence Cathryn Leyland in her Main Street Arts studio
Artist in Residence Cathryn Leyland in her Main Street Arts studio

Q: Tell us about your background.

A: I grew up in the house of an artist and a paper engineer, so materials were always accessible and projects abundant.

DSC_0537
DSC_0575

After starting another career path, I headed back into art through an interest in scientific textbook authoring and illustration. Upon finishing an MFA, I found myself teaching computer graphics amid courses in professional and technical communications.

Photos (c)CRLeyland

I owe my teaching pathway to  printmaker Eric Bellmann, who was art chair for the evening division at RIT. He entrusted me with teaching so early in my working years. And Tom Moran, my chair during the evolving years of computer graphics.

Teaching led me into writing and illustrating online course materials, and developing new courses. It took me  a while to realize that curriculum design was essentially book publishing, with a smaller audience and immediate feedback. I suppose one could conclude, “You can always do science for a hobby.”

This fall my courses are online, which frees me to settle into Clifton Springs for this great opportunity at Main Street Arts. It will be refreshing to produce art there, meet people,  and see what emerges from workshops.

DSC_0662
CRLeyland Abstract

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: Everyone sets their balance between order and chaos, dealing with what arrives. Life brings disarray, and we scramble to pack it into order. Often the interruption is order; we just haven’t recognized patterns yet. My artwork respects chaos, and the order that can be formed from it.

DSC_0657

I pursue ideas that I’d like to teach others, or find adventures in trying new tools.

I can’t resist sandboxing fabric ideas at Spoonflower.com, and have hidden vices where print-on-demand services wrap my images on new products.

(c) CRLeyland on Spoonflower

For  short time, I designed surface pattern for fashion and fabric through an agent. Seamless pattern design could be an interesting topic for a gallery workshop.

I’ve sold ceramic sculpture to people carrying it through a crowded festival; painted public art while onlookers shouted from their cars; designed promotional materials, to find that different opinions make us such snowflakes.

In artistic expression we tell our individual stories, and should expect others’ to be different. Then we are delighted when  ideas connect, when visual communicators seem to understand how we were thinking.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

A: Scissors beat paper and rock. Vital tools are bitmap software, MS Notepad, small graphics tablet, phone camera– to jot down ideas or carry out a full vision.

DSC_0546

Acrylic paint on board conveys what’s on my mind most effectively.

DSC_0664

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: Projects often start with curiosity about materials, combining things in unexpected ways. I see what I already have to work with, and build on that. My pewter phase began with videos of survivalists melting cans and pouring molten metal on garage floors. Who can resist.

In approaching a project, I pick up peripheral information. Learn everything, then narrow to how I’d like to carry it out. Art-making is about choices, and is not necessarily an additive process. Try removing as fast as you add.

DSC_0554

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

A: Work will emerge in both pewter jewelry, and acrylic abstracts.

In preparation, I cast pewter into organic and geologic forms, and will combine these with semi-precious stones, amber, freshwater pearls, a little sterling and other metals. Shapes were melted ahead of time, to keep the gallery off speed dial to Clifton Springs FD.

DSC_0527
(c)2016 CRLeyland

I have small paintings to finish, which will gradually appear outside my second floor studio.

DSC_0521

During the residency, you will see the progression of a painted series, on Finger Lakes waterways. The depth of Seneca Lake, winding of Flint Creek, elevations, watersheds, and glacial structures… I would like to highlight fluidity, sprawl, and vulnerability in upstate waters.

And oh! I look forward to offering workshops, seeing what each person brings in experience and insight.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Two upcoming juried exhibits here, I’d like to submit work to– Small Works 2016 and The Cup, The Mug.

I expect to carry the pewter idea further, into art jewelry exhibits. Pewter is malleable and melts at low temperatures, so it’s wonderful to work with, and opens up many possibilities. I had the opportunity to wax-cast silver when I was young, and am building that experience into the way I cast pewter.

DSC_0610

I continue to teach, freelance, write, take on other work… and am always eager to explore new opportunities.

Q: Where else can we find you?

A: Saatchi ArtFine Art AmericaLinkedIn, and Spoonflower — A great place for trying new ideas for seamless repeats–and connecting with thoughtful, creative people.

(c) 2014-16 CRLeyland fabric

Q: Do you collect artwork?

A: I have stoneware and abstracts that harmonize with life. Art might arrive through connection with an artist, friend or relative, or a discovery I can’t pass up.

(c) CRLeyland

Recent Posts

Plein Air 2023 (part 2)

“To create a ‘plein air’ painting composition, I need to connect with the subject from experiences in my lifetime that awaken sensory perceptions. Oil painting on a smooth ampersand board lets my brush flow with the feel of the day, the light, the landscape and purpose.”

Read More »

Plein Air 2023 (Part 1)

“My approach to Plein Air is to find a simple location and to anticipate how the light will move throughout the morning. Next I do a quick sketch showing lights and darks (known as a Notan), block in color on the canvas, and try to use lots of paint to give texture to the end piece.”

Read More »

A Shiver in the Leaves

Robert Ernst Marx and Luther Hughes BOA Editions, a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, recently released a debut collection of poetry from Seattle-based poet, Luther Hughes which

Read More »

Robin Whiteman

About a year ago a close friend referred to my “two daughters”, art and my actual kid, Anya. He nailed it. Two of my biggest loves who take up the majority of

Read More »

Arden McBride

I grew up on folk tales, campfire stories, and fantasy novels. For the longest time I was fascinated with surrealism and their ability to impose the bizarre on the mundane.

Read More »

Joshua Hudak

I started my artistic journey focusing primarily on glass. Glass is an amazing medium – it interacts with light and color in so many unexpected ways, and forming it into

Read More »

Plein Air 2023 (part 2)

“To create a ‘plein air’ painting composition, I need to connect with the subject from experiences in my lifetime that awaken sensory perceptions. Oil painting on a smooth ampersand board lets my brush flow with the feel of the day, the light, the landscape and purpose.”

Read More »

Plein Air 2023 (Part 1)

“My approach to Plein Air is to find a simple location and to anticipate how the light will move throughout the morning. Next I do a quick sketch showing lights and darks (known as a Notan), block in color on the canvas, and try to use lots of paint to give texture to the end piece.”

Read More »

A Shiver in the Leaves

Robert Ernst Marx and Luther Hughes BOA Editions, a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, recently released a debut collection of poetry from Seattle-based poet, Luther Hughes which

Read More »

Robin Whiteman

About a year ago a close friend referred to my “two daughters”, art and my actual kid, Anya. He nailed it. Two of my biggest loves who take up the majority of

Read More »

Arden McBride

I grew up on folk tales, campfire stories, and fantasy novels. For the longest time I was fascinated with surrealism and their ability to impose the bizarre on the mundane.

Read More »

Joshua Hudak

I started my artistic journey focusing primarily on glass. Glass is an amazing medium – it interacts with light and color in so many unexpected ways, and forming it into

Read More »

4 Responses

  1. Hello, my name is Brenda and I just found a painting that I absolutely love signed c r Leyland. I’m not sure if it’s an original or not and I wanted to know if you could look at it and tell me if it was. I’d like to send you a picture of it.

  2. Hi Jenifer, I just sent an email response. If our conversation brings up topics that would be useful for others, I might add more here. Thanks for visiting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Closed 7/28 through 8/3:

We will be closed to the public Friday, July 28 through Thursday, August 4 as we install our next exhibition, Inspired By Nature. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, August 4 from 5 to 8pm!