Catherine Holland Art


Artist's statement

My name is Catherine Holland, I am a landscape artist working in Sennelier oil pastels. I love the fact that they are like working with oil paint. You can use a brush if you dilute them, but I prefer to blend them onto the paper and scrape or scratch where minute detail is needed. I can easily alter what I have drawn, and if I plan ahead, I can make strokes with one colour, overlay it, and then reveal it by scraping off the top layer to create lighter detail underneath. So I am in fact, drawing with oils.

My aim is to show detail in every area, so that wherever the viewer gazes they can see detail in the picture. Unlike a photograph where the photographer decides upon one area of focus, I like my viewer to decide which area they wish to look at carefully, each time they look, and have the satisfaction of being able to see what’s happening there. I don’t like mess, washing brushes or preparation, so I choose the best oil pastels, and after planning with a 2B pencil, get on with drawing.

Watch a video describing how I work.


Catherine with some of her artwork

A bit more about me …

As a child I loved to draw and paint. I took art at school enabled by my art teacher, Mr Roper, who offered to teach me GCSE in the lunch hour because the timetables clashed. I am forever grateful to him for that. Then I did A level, and would have loved to go to art college, but my C grade was disappointing so I didn’t think I was good enough. I have drawn every greetings card throughout my life, well almost, Christmas cards were lino prints. My brother had bikes, and I helped him with fixing them, and got a ride on the back in exchange. I rode pushbikes and horses then.

I married and raised a family, sometimes they were the subject of my drawings. Mostly I drew small botanical pictures, when I was frustrated about my relationship, but too scared to leave. There were dozens of those!

Much later when I had found a way to feel independent (Rebirthing Breathwork) I went on to study an HND in fashion design, really enjoying the whole broad experience from concept to catwalk. I took up graphic design as a result of being introduced to CAAD during this course. While working in a graphic design studio, I decided to buy a motorbike and learn to ride. A big accident a few weeks later (leg crushed by a drunk driver, the subject of a book I’ve written) resulted in many decisions, including training to run a pain clinic, and taking my bike test (as soon as I could, 2 years’ later) on a much bigger bike, so I could get out of any tricky situation in the future.

I met a new man while recuperating and was inspired by him to upgrade to a Ducati 916, iconic and graceful thoroughbred of the motorcycle world. I rode many miles on this beautiful beast, loping along at high speed, with utmost joy. We took a trip to Poland on our bikes, and this is pictured on the front of the book Indestructible Soul: How I decided not to die, one of my favourite moments in the Tatra Mountains.

Recently I have been working through a habit throughout my life of letting other people, dictate against my better judgement. After some of these lessons I realised that I really wanted to make art my career. I experimented with oil pastels, drawing from imagination, finally feeling I’d found my medium. I found myself drawn to expressing my love of big twin motorcycles on a larger scale at A2. Prints of these sell on Redbubble on T-shirts! I currently have a Honda Firestorm, very reminiscent of the Ducati 916.

I was inspired to write a guide to colour, when I realised how important the wearing of the right colours is to me: As colourful as I am. Writing this book, and a trip to Montelimar, France, in January 2019, where I found Sennelier oil pastels in a delightful art shop in the square, lead to my new-found courage and enthralment in landscape drawing, with these luxurious oil pastels.

I do a journal drawing at the beginning of my day to reflect my feelings, an intuitive drawing before I start on my latest work. Some of these create wonderful surprise designs.


Catherine on her Firestorm, Honda VTR

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