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Featured Artist of the Week: Cathie Hamilton

Name: Cathie Hamilton

Age: 67

Medium: Encaustic (plus some painting and copper)

Cathie Hamilton is a resident artist at Martello Alley and helps run workshops at the Kingston School of Art. She's a retired elementary school teacher who also took a fine arts course at Queen's University. She said the rest of her family isn't quite as artistic as she is, but that her parents did take some art classes and her sister paints a little. Nowadays, Hamilton teaches encaustic workshops using wax, a special encaustic iron and sealed cards to form polished, vibrant pieces of art, with a lot of them reflecting nature. Since encaustic materials are hard to find, Hamilton also sells them.

How did you originally get into your craft?

I've done it all my life. I've always been interested in art and my parents encouraged me.

What artists inspire you?

I'm a fan of the impressionists. Van Goh is one of my favourites. And the Group of Seven, obviously. I love the Canadian Group of Seven. And Georgia O'Keeffe.

What is your creative process?

I often get ideas when I'm sleeping, which is ridiculous. I keep a pen by my bed to write things down when I'm thinking of them. Or I see a scene or a picture and I think, gee I could use that idea and incorporate it into this, or other people give you really good ideas, too... then I have to draw a little sketch and decide which medium I want to use to do it in.

Describe what your workspace looks like.

At home I have a long desk that has a North window – I like the North light – and that's where I work at home. Here (at the Kingston School at Art), I have a huge space.

What part of your style makes you stand out as an artist?

I like really vibrant, bright colours. I'd say that's more my forte than anything else. I like the vibrancy and you get that with the encaustic.

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve made?

I did a really neat copper one that sold at Martello Alley and it was 24 inches long and I had it framed and the whole thing was copper – it was 12 inches long and 24 inches wide – and I shaped the whole thing into trees.

What is the best part about what you do?

You get lost in it. Well, I get lost in it I should say. Time just flies. I like to garden, too, and when you garden you get lost in it. It's your own space and your own time and you're just with yourself no matter who's around.

What is the most challenging?

I'd say the cost. The cost of materials and supplies – things are expensive.

What is something people don’t realize about what you do?

The cost of the materials and the length of time it takes to complete a piece isn't something that most artists include in the price of their work because it would be outlandish.

What do you want people to take away from your work?

I want them to love it. I want them to love it as much as I enjoy making it.

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