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Sara Catena

Sara Catena by Folt Bolt

My work is happy!

Sara Catena

“In the space between you and the work, is a bridge that invites a relationship to be formed. My hope is that you cross the bridge and find happiness there.”

As a child, I was raised on a diet of traditional handcrafts and pots of tea, in a small country town on the coast of New Zealand. My parents were of the post-war generation that valued resourcefulness, and a ‘waste not, want not’ attitude, coupled with a deep sense of caring for land and community. Heading towards puberty, realising life wasn’t all roses, I found I could cocoon myself in the happy world of art-making: A joy that I felt, not only in the final piece of art but in the delight of creation itself! I have followed that path ever since, and find people that view and buy my work experience this same happiness, and a connection to their own feelings of joy.

My journey as a Visual Artist has been quite a colourful adventure. Even after thirty years of playing and working with paint and textile, it still excites me to have a brush or needle in my hand, crafting a story or idea into life whilst those qualities I learned as a child are an integral part of who I am and how I work.

As a painter, I work with acrylic, oil, pastel and thread on recycled textiles and canvas. My soft sculptures include the lyrical ‘Nest of the Lovebird’ hand stitched with found and re-cycled elements, threads, and fused plastic ….and occasionally I dabble with the fresh lucidity of watercolours.

Rhyme and Reason (A Narrative Process)

My work is primarily narrative… that is, it holds a story or an idea.

It expresses that story or idea, filtered through the reality of how I see the world, and is poured out onto the canvas. I capture the spiritual aspects that dance around our ordinary experiences and add these motifs in, creating artwork full of living, joyful, colourful symbolism.

When creating a substantial piece of work, I begin with writing an actual narrative (often in whimsical rhymes) allowing the ideas to playfully emerge and images to take shape. Then working with large paper cut-outs of this imagery, I rearrange them until the composition and idea is resolved.

Soulful Symbolism

We are all heavily influenced by our visual surrounds, more than we realise. I strongly believe that the art we put on our walls needs to be uplifting, joyous and inspiring. I have a strong desire for my work to be a potent, visual reminder of love and truth that breaks through the often chaotic and topsy-turvy reality of life, I want people to feel happiness when they view it…

There are some motifs and totems you will see consistently repeated throughout my work; the lyrical lovebird (a visible reminder that we are more than physical beings), cats (always part of my family), aeroplanes (her love of travel and adventure), and of course Angels and Madonnas (depicted in art for millennia). Even though we don’t see Angels in the flesh, we have an idea of what they are all about, making them the most wonderful beings in our minds. For me they’re all about faith, benevolence and beauty; they can uplift us.

My relationship to colour

I have always found colour extremely evocative and have a deep love of nature; how it magically marries the most glorious colours and evokes potent emotions. This aspect of life has always drawn me in; I remember laying on my back in the luscious emerald green New Zealand grass, staring blissfully for hours at the blue, blue sky. Heaven on earth!

“Inexplicably, Sara's paintings make me feel happy and peaceful. The colour and vibrancy of her paintings remind me of a warm summers day…” – client feedback.

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#paintings #australia #rainbow #illustration

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