Summer studio: Catherine Howe in Clermont, NY

Catherine Howe’s studio barn in Clermont, New York, features a small side deck and an inflatable pool where she sometimes skinny dips after lunch.

Contributed by Sharon Butler / Recently I was pleased to learn that Winston Wächter Fine Art in Chelsea and Seattle will be representing Catherine Howe, a talented painter I met during Final Crits at the New York Academy of Art in May. At the time, she was in the process of packing up her studio at the Elizabeth Foundation and moving everything into her spacious barn-studio up in Columbia County. I stopped by the farm to congratulate her on her new relationship with WWFA, and was overwhelmed by the property, which features plenty of storage space, room to work on large-scale projects, and a colorful garden full of leafy perennials that Howe has been nurturing for the past fifteen years.

Peonies in a rusty can.
Interior of the studio portion of Howe’s barn. Carpenters just completed an addition on the east side of the building (through the double doors at right) where she can store the work she brought up from her studio at the Elizabeth Foundation. The carpenters also made the big rolling tables (with storage space below) pictured at left.
Work in progress on one of the rolling tables, which has been covered with white paper and a sheet of clear plastic. Howe mixes Guerra pigments with Golden acrylic binders.
The paintings on the back wall are complete. The work on the table in the foreground  is a painting on acetate that is still in progress.

Howe’s paintings are a lively combination of cartoonish floral imagery and Ab-Ex gestural brushwork: Joyce Pensato meets Joan Mitchell. I get the impression that at the beginning of the process, Howe paints like a slightly drunken but righteously inspired sailor, flinging and squeezing pigments around the surface with abandon. But when the paint dries, she attempts to tame the exuberance with a unifying layer of carefully applied metallic leaf. Gilding these intemperate lilies makes them even more eccentric and lovable.

The view from the studio. Howe’s nearby farmhouse is a festival of room additions that have been cobbled together over a hundred years.
Saturated color: A bouquet in a jelly jar on the deck.
Catherine Howe with a new series of monoprints, in the last days at the Elizabeth Foundation studio, April 2018.

Related posts:

Lauren Luloff: Drawing (with bleach) from life
Painter partners: Gary Stephan and Suzanne Joelson

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1 thought on “Summer studio: Catherine Howe in Clermont, NY”

  1. Viewing Catherine’s work for the first time in person, at Conduit Gallery in Dallas, I was overcome by the sheer joy and mystery of process in her work. I couldn’t take my eyes off the work. Not only is it a visual feast but also an exciting and perplexing dive into “how did she do that?”. Standing in front of the work and to the side (the edges are marvelous) is a fantastic experience.

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