Sun Records at Boston’s MFA

by Cat B on June 20, 2015

When the call came to enter a piece of art into Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts auction, I decided to send in one of my “records” from my Sun Records series. I was really happy to be included and especially chuffed that for a night a piece of my art hung in the museum! Many, many thanks to the wonderful collector who bought it. Love when people buy art and I hope it brings a smile to its new viewers. I’m thrilled that some of the proceeds go to support our great museum here in Boston.

Calvin Perkins


The Drawing Club Book

by Cat B on May 13, 2015

Happy to report that I’m almost done with my new book, The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams, about how to start and run a drawing club. It’s based on the club I’ve led for the last 10 years just outside Boston at The Arsenal Center for the Arts. It started as a regular drawing class but when we embraced radical support for each person surprising things began to happen. Everyone learned to draw in interesting ways, for one. Better still, we found a wonderful community and a sanctuary on Saturday mornings for wild creative exploration. Some really fine things have come from that.

It’s been such a wonderful and interesting project. And intense too. Most of the book has been done in the last six months which is fast for a book like this. Once again, many thanks to my publisher Thierry Bogliolo at Findhorn Press without whose warm support this book couldn’t be as freewheeling as it is. I’m now in the final days of making and choosing art for the book and inserting it into the design. It’s looking great and we are truly stretching the boundaries of how we can think of drawing. And art too, I hope.

In two weeks, the book will be off to the publisher in France! Out in bookstores in August!




by Cat B on March 22, 2015



















Very honored to have some of my art and an excerpt from my first book, The Confident Creative, on British artist/illustrator Vicki Turner‘s fabulous blog, PLUCKY! Vicki describes PLUCKY this way, “Due to the power of small things, I collect plucky stories and ideas to inspire us. To celebrate and support creatives who have the courage and determination to make a positive impact, ranging from bold mavericks to humble artisans.” PLUCKY is full of inspiration and simple pleasure! Do check it out! And thank you, Vicki!


Check out Vicki’s beautiful graphic art here!

And may we all be plucky!



New Book in the Works!

by Cat B on March 19, 2015

DC cover+

Hello! I’m sorry for such a long time away and thanks for checking in! It’s been a very busy time here as, apart from shoveling mountains of snow here this winter in Boston, I’ve been writing and editing my new book for the last three months. The book is about how to start and run a drawing club like The Saturday Morning Drawing Club which I’ve led for the last ten years and which inspired my first two books—The Confident Creative and Making Art a Practice. I write about the ways we can work together with drawing and come to make art in our own best way. It includes lesson plans too. Next week, I’ll jump into making the art to illustrate the book. The final step will be putting it all into book form and getting it out the door before the end of May. I may need a little luck with that but all will be well.

Publisher: Findhorn Press, which also did my first two books and have been really great to work with.

Publication date: August 2015!

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back soon with some of the illustrations from the new book.



Sun Records / 33 rpm Long Playing

by Cat B on September 18, 2014

record A

In the spring, I started work on  Sun Records, a “record company” that plays only visual music. It’s my homage to music, especially the blues, which has been such a transformative part of my life and of the planet’s too, I think. I spend a lot of time wondering about how we can get to that place of transformation and how to make art that might inspire happiness and peace, if possible. This is a very humble effort, of course, and one triggered by memory. No one listens to vinyl records any more but I love the idea that they were called “long playing” and that great music, or good messages, can just keep spinning around endlessly! There are 12 “albums” in the project.

Back in the seventies, when I was in my very early twenties, I was living in Montreal, an art and music imbued city. I loved rock music already but had only a vague notion of the blues. One day a love affair went awry and I was feeling like shit, just heartbroken and way down in the dumps. A friend of mine, in an act of great kindness, convinced me to go out that night and hear some blues. Howlin’ Wolf was in town and she said I’d be feeling better after hearing Wolf. I didn’t really believe her but went along anyway.

Howlin’ Wolf was one of the fiercest and most moving of blues singers; he howled and he raged. He did what a polite Canadian white girl couldn’t—he poured out his feelings with every fiber of his body. He raised his voice. He shouted and howled. He was already in his sixties the night I saw him and ill with kidney problems. That day, he and his band had driven all the way from Chicago in a couple of beat-up station wagons with all the instruments and amps squeezed in. The show started a bit late that night. When the band was warming up, Hubert Sumlin, Wolf’s great guitar player, stepped up to the mike to apologize for the tardy start. He smiled and said that they’d been driving all day and when they’d arrived they’d had to take Wolf to the Royal Victoria Hospital for a session of dialysis. He said the nurses were so kind to Wolf and the band was so grateful they’d taken such good care of him. He said that Wolf was a great man, still willing to give it his all even though he was ill and we should all give him a warm welcome, which we did. Shouts and howls went up with the applause.

Hearing this, seeing these people, feeling their good humor and grace in the face of such travails and hard travel, I felt my own sense of spirit open and my sadness loosen. Wolf then lumbered onto the stage, sat himself down on a stool and without a word began to play his guitar with an urgency that made your hair stand up. Twaaaaaaang. Over and over, so loud you couldn’t think. Then he started singing. Whatever blues I had that night, or had ever had, were cleansed by his singing. He carried our suffering away with his voice. You could almost see people lighten up as the night went on. We knew Wolf had suffered loss too, had failed at love, been cheated on, lost out. We knew he had money problems and broken health. That he was tired. We knew in a way that set us free that  whatever we faced we are not alone, ever. And whatever sorrows we faced would pass as mine mostly passed that night absorbed by the sound of one man’s heart and history, and a whole race’s history. It gave me perspective, a chance to stand outside of myself and see a bigger picture.

Now this spring, lots of years later, I got the idea to do Sun Records. How or why ideas come, I can’t really explain, but as I get older I see that ideas that come to me encompass many aspects and learnings from the whole of my life. Nice to get older! When ideas for art or writing come to me, I try to do them straight away as I feel quite honored to receive them really. So, I began. But then all sorts of things happened in our lives here and in June, when I went away on a teaching gig, I had to leave the project half finished, alas.

This week I finally got to pick up where I left off. Of course, I am not quite the same person I was in June. Everything changes, us too, and I find I see things a little differently, draw a little differently and mostly, today, I’d lost my technical mojo in laying the type down. The technique I had going for me in June seems not to work as well in September. But tomorrow I go back to the studio keeping the faith that things will move along as they are meant to. So, almost there with Sun Records and a new idea has already arrived. Feeling very blessed.


Back to the Studio

by Cat B on September 11, 2014

photo 2

It’s been a super busy year here both personally and work wise. All this busy-ness—writing, design work, family travel—has kept me out of the studio all summer. When I’m away from the studio for a long time, I almost forget what it is I’m doing as an artist. I indulge in looking at other art, get into a kind of free-floating space and wonder what is possible. This can be good. New ideas sometimes come this way but it can also feel unanchored and uncomfortable. It’s only in the doing that things gel, for me anyway. When I went in today, I started working on my record project which I started in the spring. I cut the records out of wood, painted them, created a singer for each then penned the words. I love the idea of songs playing endlessly, especially songs that say something. I’ll post the series once the last touches are in place. Good to be back.



Drawing Workshop in Greece

by Cat B on August 10, 2014

Just back from our amazing workshop on the Greek island of Skyros as part of Skyros Holidays which creates holistic holidays around the world with art, writing, yoga and meditation. It was  great to do this workshop and visit this sparsely populated island, see its varied landscape, and visit the ancient village of Skyros, home once to Achilles! And to meet the wonderful participants and the warm and welcoming Greek people.

I did two one-week sessions and a few half day sessions of art-making. We worked outdoors on the same tables we ate on mostly drawing with paint. We began by doing huge communal drawings which gave us the chance to see that drawing is simply making marks, that we each have our own way of doing so and that there are infinite possibilities. And also that we can let go of attachment to the things we do and explore together. It also helped us see that art is always unfolding in new ways and that we are part of that unfolding.

Most of the students were from England, Ireland, Scandinavia and Italy. I was impressed how quickly everyone allowed themselves to abandon traditional ideas about drawing with accuracy and getting things “right”. We drew in abstract ways, with our eyes only on what we were drawing and we drew even with our eyes closed. We drew from memory too. We got interested in what we were seeing and discovering, and the ways we could go into uncharted territory to create new experiences and invent. We looked at the things we were telling ourselves as so many of those things can hold us back. Part of our work became watching the mind and changing any negatives to positives. This really opened us up to boldness. And we learned to ask good questions. Why? Why not? What do we see, what can we do with it, what can we offer of ourselves? And what do we see of ourselves in the work too? We each have a unique perspective, our own story and sensibility, so working together is a great way to see our perspective as well as appreciate that of others. Working in a situation like this brought people from different parts of the world together and our assumptions became more evident. It was great. Art is so wonderfully immediate as a way of sharing insight and spirit.

It was hot, very hot, and the heat had an interesting effect, I think. It made us forget everything—all the concerns of our regular lives, even our ideas about art, a real holiday. It really brought us fully into the present moment and helped us to relax and work slowly. Everyone made great leaps forward as we looked for what was unique and interesting in each other’s work rather than the school focus on what is “wrong”.  Our goal was not finished work but seeing possibilities and finding ideas with which to work as we go forward.

Here are a few shots of the place. Notice that we were sleeping in small bamboo huts and eating outside. Just behind the compound was a farm with a young mule and out front was the beautiful Aegean where we all swam. We did yoga too with the inspirational Swiss yogi, Andreas Vetsch, who led a kirtan one night. It was amazing to chant with 40 other people and see the moon rising over the Aegean. Magic.























Skyros village


















































Next traveling workshop is in Costa Rica February 5th-13th. Teaching with the wonderful expressionistic painter Katie Kendrick. I’ll be focusing on experimental drawing and finding ideas for our art practice. This one is produced by Kathie Vezzani and you can learn more here and sign up here.


The Drawing Club Summer Hiatus Begins

by Cat B on June 7, 2014

This morning was the last meeting for The Saturday Morning Drawing Club until September. When we make art together we share so much. The summer farewell is always tinged with a little sadness as farewells are. We’ll all do our own thing over the next few months and when we get together again in September, it’ll be great to see both the art and each other.

This session we’ve focused mostly on drawing people. We’re always trying to get out of our habitual patterns to encounter something new and wake up a bit, in one way or another. Usually I set things up so we have a couple of rules to follow. One might be that we make a portrait using a funky thick brush and almost dry paint. Something we might think we can’t do. Or we might use charcoal and draw with our fingers. Or paint on plexiglass then press our paper on it to make a mottled impression. The rules usually make it impossible to fuss and get into that rut where all that comes through is our uptight desire to get things right. The rules tend to lead to drawings where we’re simply ourselves.

Here’s a beautiful charcoal drawing by Deb Kaup—


And a few brush drawings of mine—










This has been an unexpectedly busy winter/spring for me so my posts here have been a bit sporadic. I’ll be in England soon and exploring art with my friend Stoney Parsons, a painter and stained glass artist. Then off to Skyros, a tiny island off the coast of Greece where I’ll be teaching drawing. I’ll share some of the adventure here. Thanks for visiting!


Drawing Class

by Cat B on May 5, 2014


Every Saturday, the drawing class meets to explore drawing and art making.  We’re exploring modernism, defined by Webster’s as “a style of art, architecture, literature, etc., that uses ideas and methods which are very different from those used in the past.” We don’t often break with ideas and methods used by other artists but rather with our own preconceptions and ways of working and thinking. We’re applying the concept to ourselves and getting out of our comfort zones as best we can. 

This time: drawing with scissors using papers we painted ourselves a la Matisse but in a more literal and intimate way than he did. We were thinking of Mrs. Delaney too and her beautifully intricate as well as accurate botanical collages. And we were thinking of spring.


April 17th at room83spring!

by Cat B on April 4, 2014

Very happy to be showing my sculpted heads at room83spring in Watertown, MA, just a short paddle across the Charles River from Boston and an even shorter bicycle ride up Mt Auburn Street to Harvard Square!  I started sculpting these heads last year when I first made some with my Saturday art class. Then I became engrossed at how each one has its own character. I started to move them around, make odd couples and arrangements. I saw that they, like we, are better together than sitting singly on their own. Opening day preview is Thursday, April 17th from 6-8 pm. Reception is Sunday May 11th 3-5 pm. I’ll be showing with 4 wonderful artists—Maggie Stern, Frances Hamilton, Phyllis Poor, and Paul Angiolillo. Hope to see you and thanks to artists Ellen Wineburg and Cathleen Daley, owners 0f room83spring  for inviting me to show this piece— “Hanging Together / So Much Better Than Falling Apart.