Preserving a Moment in Time
Traditional art with a twist!
My paintings can be described as traditional landscapes, still lifes and figures, but I try to use my unique perspective to draw the viewer into the world as I see it, incorporating humor or beauty whenever possible in unexpected places. As an eager traveler, and perhaps even a bit of a gypsy, I try to view everyday subjects with fresh eyes.
White boats become abstracted shapes of bouncing color. A dilapidated, old building comes to life with the inescapable charm of a one-time beauty queen whose walls reveal a rich, mysterious history. To my eye, New York City, “the city which never sleeps,” is a wonderland of endless shapes of color, motion and energy. Colorful street graffiti in Bucharest is a modern masterpiece set in a bustling urban landscape.
I was always drawn to the arts. I worked as a child model and actor and was gifted musically. I could draw and paint without effort. Creating art makes me feel good. I’m relaxed and healthy when I paint and if I’m working outdoors, with the sun shining, birds singing and breezes blowing, I cannot be happier.
Our daily lives are hectic. I like to think my work can slow the pace, and make a troubled world feel better as I take a wide view of the chaos and bring focus and order to the pandemonium around me by squinting, and then positioning my pencil and brush onto paper or canvas.
During the 2020 Pandemic, I discovered the gift of time and I used it to experiment with my medium, painting on unusual surfaces and making my own paper. Throughout my career, I have admired, studied and found inspiration in the masters of my medium, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.
Teaching art provides me another regular, joyful outlet. I believe in giving back. I’m devoted to sharing what I know with students. I’m a believer in common sense instruction and providing lifelong skills to each learner. I have proudly served as a member of the faculty at the re-known Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia; Frederick Community College in Maryland, and in many art centers across the USA and around the world. I continue each year to conduct workshops nationally and internationally.
- Catherine H. Hillis, SDWS, GWS, PWS, SW, MWS, WCWS
Awards of note include the 2019 Best Manchester by the Sea painting in Cape Ann Plein Air; Best in Show at Piedmont Plein Air in High Point, NC in 2015; the 2018 Guerilla Painter Award(Seven Canyons) in Sedona Plein Air; 3rd Place in the 2019 Quick Draw in Parrsboro International Plein Air, Honorable Mention in Shadows on the Teche, 2016; Award of Merit, Gadsden, Alabama, 2016; an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Curacao Plein Air Quick Draw; Best Nocturnal in Mountain Maryland Plein Air in 2014 and Honorable Mention in 2012 and Juror's Choice in Ellicott City, Maryland, 2013; Bold Brush “Best Watercolor” Awards in 2018 and 2019; as well as awards from the New England Watercolor Society, the Mid-Atlantic Watercolor Society, the Georgia Watercolor Society, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and the Rockies West National, among others. The artist's biography has been included in Who’s Who Among American Women since 2006. She’s a multiple FASO finalist and winner and has presented demonstrations and workshops at art centers and museums throughout the country; her paintings are in corporate, personal and museum collections around the world.
Most recent publications include Plein Air Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, 3 articles in American Watercolor Weekly (as of November 2019) and Watercolor Artist Magazine. She’s been featured in Splash 12, Splash 14 and Splash18, the Artistic Touch series of water-media books, The Washington Post, the Best of America Watercolor Artists & Artisans, Volume 1 and the Best of Virginia Artists & Artisans 2005. Her article "Ten Tools for Better Watercolors" was published in American Artist Magazine in September, 2006, and her most recent article was published in "Watercolor Artist Magazine" in April, 2017.