Studio Wall 2

by Cat B on December 2, 2015

The corner of my studio wall is now filled with small Tantra homage paintings. Tantra, a tradition of both Hinduism and Buddhism, is a centuries old way or practice of connecting with the divine. Most of the visual practice is figurative though there is also a more contemporary school of abstraction practiced by devotees which I discovered, as mentioned in the previous post, in a wonderful book called Tantra Song. I don’t have the deep Hindu references of the artists in the book but am a long time student of yoga and I wanted to simply sit down and make paintings as meditation. I tried to keep my focus on the Yin/Yang qualities I see in the original works—expansion and contraction, dark and light, old and new, balance and imbalance etc. The original artists created true harmony and sense of mystery. Their work certainly takes us to a higher place.

For me other abstraction references also crept in—Sonia Delaunay sometimes, or Ellsworth Kelly, both old friends. I didn’t plan, just sat down and began. I found it to be a beautiful morning meditation of immersion into simply sitting, getting inspiration, taking action, and seeing. And, yes, connecting with a deep peace. It was a wonderful month long practice and I hope to do it more, perhaps in different ways.

studio wall dec1:2015




Studio Wall

by Cat B on November 26, 2015

I’m making more very small (4″ x 6″) Tantra Homage paintings. Tantra is an ancient Hindu tradition of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the cosmos into our human life here. A couple of years ago I found a beautiful book about it, Tantra Song. Inside were curiously modern-looking abstract paintings of great simplicity all made in the 17th century. The artists were anonymous but came from a tradition in which painting was a kind of meditation in which the artist might connect with something sublime and make it manifest.


And so I took to trying. First I altered what I saw, then I took to just showing up each morning and beginning. I don’t plan but work slowly and in silence, like a meditation. In the original Tantra paintings there’s always a focal point, some sense of time in the weathered paper, of accident and purpose, of the artist’s hand. There’s Yin and Yang—expansion and contraction, dark and light, chance and purpose.

I’m quite sure I don’t achieve the exquisite focus of the Tantra artists but am finding this a beautiful meditation anyway. I never know what will show up to meet me when I sit down to make these paintings so I just keep at it until I feel happy something has. Then I go on to other quite different work.





Online Drawing Class

by Cat B on November 14, 2015

All good things must come to an end, as they say, and so does my online sketchbook class, Making Art a Practice, via Carla Sonheim Presents. At least temporarily! It was my first time teaching online and it worked really well! We had people from all over the world from the US and Canada, to the UK and Europe, to Brazil and Australia. It was so interesting to see the drawings and paintings everyone made and to share ideas together. The class is always available as a self-study class too. Just click on the link above.

And now to plan the next installment! Coming March 2016.

S5 copy





This summer, for a month, I made a small painting almost every morning when I arrived at the studio, an homage to the Tantric art I’d seen in a beautiful book called Tantra Song. Tantra is an ancient Hindu tradition of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the cosmos into the human microcosm. The book showcases a series of curiously modern looking paintings made of great simplicity that nevertheless hold our attention and create a sense of wonder. They were mostly made in the 17th century though Tantra itself dates to the 5th. The artists who made the paintings in the book were anonymous but came from a tradition in which painting was a kind of meditation in which the artist might connect with something sublime and make it manifest. We artists are always trying to do that, of course.

Seeing these beautiful, simple images inspired me to begin my own experiment: to sit down in my studio in the morning and make one simple painting every day on a small board. I didn’t plan, just sat down and started. And every day something different arrived, often a surprise. I felt happy when I did them. Not Tantra but a small homage. Some are now included at the small works show at The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. More are then going on to be shown at Templeton General on A Street in Boston near South Station.

(Second row, left. Poster by Matt Jatkola.)













DC cover+Very happy to announce that my new book, The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams, is now available in the UK and in the US. In the book, I tell the story of the drawing club I’ve been running in Boston for almost ten years. Each week we make experiments in drawing and so often discover more and more who we are as artists. And what we learn in making art we can bring into the whole of our lives. The book tells how to run a club and offers exercises for the first year as well as ways to invent new ones.

Here’s a beautiful quote from Kurt Vonnegut that says it all:

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or how badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”






If you’re in the UK, you can buy the book here. And in the US, here.



Online Sketchbook Class!

by Cat B on September 10, 2015


Registration for my new online sketchbook class, Making Art a Practice, with Carla Sonheim Presents is now open! I believe the simple act of drawing can open us up to all sorts of perceptions and even new ways of being. We’ll be working in the class to both uncover and forward the ideas we discover so we can bring them into our art-making. And, in the process, we may well discover more of who we are as artists. The class is open to artists of all levels of experience.

Class starts October 6th, 2015 and goes for 6 weeks.

There are exercises to do each week and we’ll all share our work on a private Facebook page.

The code to enter this page and full instructions will be given upon registration.

It’s always available too as a self study class.

Sign up at Carla Sonheim Presents.


New Online Class—October 6th

by Cat B on September 3, 2015

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been invited to teach online for Carla Sonheim Presents which offers online art classes of various sorts taught by Carla and other artists. My class is called Making Art a Practice (just like my book) and we’ll be working with the sketchbook to explore freely and in some unusual ways. The goal is to bring our whole selves into our art through our art practice and to bring art into the whole of our lives. The course is six-weeks long and participants will have a chance to share their work in a private online setting. I look forward to seeing what everyone does and sharing what I do too. In my experience, so many good things happen when we work together in a collaborative way.

Carla works with her husband Steve Sonheim, a photographer, cinematographer and director. They came all the way from Seattle to Boston to film and they do everything in a highly professional way. Together they guided me with great skill through the whole filming process. I confess it can be quite challenging to talk and draw at the same time, live, on camera! But we did it and it was a lot of fun! It was so great to hang out together, and with my husband Allan Hunter too, and to talk about art. I’m so delighted to be working together!

Here’s a few shots in my studio from our four days of shooting—









The class is scheduled to start October 6th. If you’d like to join us, you can sign up at Hope to see you!


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!