As I drive down a dirt road, the rolling green hills around me, I pass a collection of mailboxes, cross over a quaint little bridge and beautiful majestic gum trees line the road. Sheep graze, and the sounds of cockatoos welcome me to this little part of rural North East of Victoria.
In a small town of Wooragee there is an artist at work. Catherine Stewart moved with her husband and two children to the North East from a farm in Coleambally near Griffith only two years ago, but has hit the art scene quickly as an Award Winner. Recently she has moved into her newly built custom studio and she was more than happy to show me around and talk to me about the process.
Completed in April of this year, Catherine craved a workspace that was just her own and big enough to work on multiple pieces at a time. Her requirements were that it needed to have loads of character, utilise the natural light and be usable all year round.
“My process when creating art is frenetic, expressive and I need a really inspiring space to do that,” Catherine | Artshed 41
“Previously I had worked in a spare room or corner of the house and it just doesn’t allow for that kind of creatively to naturally evolve," comments Catherine.
Now in her new space I am quick to comment that the result is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. There are vintage and salvaged items everywhere you look, easels holding up completed work, and others that have just begun. A collection of nests sit side by side on a vintage table from Hens Teeth Trading and a small side table near the entrance was gifted to her from a family member.
“I know we will never get built up around here, I will always have that view. The benefit of having the studio at home gives me a great work/life balance as well,” Catherine | Artshed 41
Catherine’s studio looks over the Chiltern National Park which was another draw-card for building her studio on her block where she lives. Catherine opens up her studio to the public two days a week on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-4pm to meet potential clients or talk about commissioned work. Her artwork is otherwise shipped to various galleries or sold online.
“I’m finding a lot of response on my instagram following and people who know my work often will buy something they love if I post it up, it’s great as I love how social media can really connect me with my clients,” Catherine tells.
Catherine is also passionate about having a creative routine. She begins the day in her creative nook by sitting in her rattan chair near her coffee table scattered with inspiring works, and on the wall a striking vintage timber shelf full of interesting finds, books and collectables.
“I might start the day with a coffee, and plan out what I would like to achieve and have a vision of some new works that I might be thinking of creating,” Catherine | Artshed 41
The art studio, named Art Shed 41 was built on a concrete floor which is painted. Catherine wanted a durable flooring that she didn’t have to worry about cleaning or getting drips of paint on. The windows are double glazed and the building received a six star energy rating. Behind the wall is a small kitchenette so that Catherine can make herself a cuppa, or wash her brushes and not have to walk up to the house. The wall also cleverly conceals a storage section of all her supplies neatly and out of sight.
Catherine utilises the space she has so well. There is cork boards for pinning up important information, or inspirational pictures. Her completed works hang on a gallery style system so that when she opens on weekends, customers can view her artwork. Catherine has cleverly collected and crafted ways of storage being out of the ordinary and uses baskets, old toolboxes, jars and trolleys for all her painting supplies.
When asked about her favourite place in her studio, Catherine says she loves the long timber bench she has placed in the middle. At first she wasn’t sure it would be used as much, but she claims, it’s the perfect height to stand up against, get paints ready, have the kids sitting at to draw and is really happy with how her space has evolved and looks.
If you would like to know more about Catherine Stewart's spectacular art, please click on the below image.
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