Artist adds shine to Colorado scenery paintings |

Artist adds shine to Colorado scenery paintings

To create "Midnight on the SIlver Stream," artist Kate McCavitt designer her own complex brush tool to help splatter tiny dots onto the canvas, creating a starry night effect.
Kate McCavitt | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Meet artist Kate McCavitt, watch her demonstrate and view her newest work.

When: Saturday, Jan. 6, 3-7 p.m.

Where: Raitman Art Galleries, 227 Bridge St., Vail.

Kate McCavitt, the current featured artist at Raitman Art Galleries Bridge Street location in Vail, follows the Bob Ross painting mentality of “we don’t make mistakes, we make happy accidents.”

Beginning her art career in 1985, McCavitt spent 10 years training in Sumi-e (Asian brush) with a contemporary Zen style master. Discontent within the confines of ink and subdued color, she began exploring “experimental watermedia” as the new millennium started, eventually finding her way to liquid acrylics.

McCavitt describes “experimental watermedia” as another way of saying playing with paint, trying odd things, failing often and sometimes hitting on something brilliant — her own little happy accidents.

Shifting Inspirations

In traditional Asian art, McCavitt learned to create artwork with a sense of permanency. Each stroke of ink was set in its place without hesitation, but with caution. Through this process she gained the ability to flow continuously through her painting with confidence and poise.

McCavitt’s signature on her paintings displays how she still incorporates the Asian influence of calligraphy into her current work. She never completely abandoned the Sumi-e aesthetics of balance, harmony and negative space. Her inspirations shifted naturally to Maxfield Parrish for his use of transparent oil color washes, Gustav Klimt for his use of metallics in mind-bending embellishment and Eyvind Earle for his revolutionary “seeing” style.

Tools of her own

Her backgrounds typically are nine layers of paint, varnish and a signature pearl effect.

“I’m moved to create with transparent layering, rich surface detail, intense pigmentation and extraordinary luminosity,” McCavitt said.

McCavitt doesn’t let anything stop her from perfecting the vision she has for each piece. If there isn’t a tool readily available to create a certain desired effect, she will design one herself. Recently she created a complex brush tool that helps her splatter tiny dots onto the canvas as seen in “Midnight on the Silver Stream,” creating a starry night effect that illuminates the lone tree in an otherwise dark sky. She also enjoys giving her paint brushes a haircut to make it just right for her technique.

McCavitt will be at Raitman Art Galleries from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6. Meet the artist and view her introspective Colorado landscapes during this event.

Support Local Journalism