Cathy Severson

Artist Bio

I didn’t view myself as an artist until later in life.  As a youngster, I looked at my very talented friends, assessed I didn’t have any artistic capability, and put my brushes aside.  Growing up I enjoyed the arts as a spectator, dabbled in craft projects, and home decorating, but nothing serious.

In January 1997, I decided to take a watercolor class.  And I’ve been hooked ever since.  For me, painting is all about color, the relationship between lights and darks, the interplay and relationships as they commingle on the paper.

My grandson was born in 1999 with a wonderful head of bright red hair. He wasn’t always crazy about it, but I was enamored. When he was about 18 months old, I decided to paint his portrait-just to see if I could capture the color of his hair. He became my muse for many years. Then his sister and other members of the family followed as subjects. When I retired I started doing commissioned portraits. I found I like painting what I want to paint when I want to paint it.

Watercolor is still my primary medium, but I’ve expanded into collage and photography as I hike in Prescott and the surrounding areas.

Artist Statement

I never considered myself an artist as a young person, but beauty has always been an important element in my life.  It wasn’t until working on my master’s in counseling that I confronted myself as an artist.  In an assessment class, I ranked high in the Art arena. In the subsequent paper, I wrote, I explained at great length how I couldn’t be artistic. My brilliant professor responded that I could be anything I wanted— that even my retort was written like an artist.  That was a turning point in my life in many ways.

Years after graduating and becoming a professional counselor, the nagging idea of my being an artist grabbed me by the throat and forced me to engage. There were three key components that helped in the beginning stages of the artist quest: taking the workshop ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron, my first watercolor class at the local Parks & Rec, and a commitment to be gentle with my over perfectionist self as I began this process.

The reason I write about this artistic journey in my artist statement is I encounter so many people who admire my work, saying, “Oh, Cathy, you are so talented. I could never do that.”  I believe that creativity is the essence of what it means to be human.  Not everyone is drawn to pick up a brush, but every individual can find some creative endeavor to explore and develop.

While slowing down my counseling work, artistic expression becomes my focus. I continue primarily in watercolor but am also drawn to photography (an activity I share with my husband). Art and beauty, both as an observer and creator will be an intricate part of the rest of my life.