Interviewed in Artworks Magazine!!!!!!!
I don't have the hard copy yet, but here is one of my dreams realized. I have a delightful write-up in Arworks Magazine, based out of Carmel - and I am just reeling with bliss.
The hard copy of the magazine can be ordered online - and may be available in some book stores.
I am so stoked!!!!!!
Full Article is also available online at Artworks Magazine
Posted on 22 September 2008, Written by: James Cameron
Caitlin Schwerin is a pixie; a Tinker Bell of the modern art world who greets a visitor with a mischievous smile and a Dickensian urchin’s glint in her eye - a delightful presence that’s both beguiling and roguish. That radiance is also reflected in her painting, which captivates and seduces the viewer with its own special kind of whimsy and caprice. In other words there’s a special quality to the artist and her painting that reaches beyond the work itself.
Put simply, Caitlin, like her work, is irresistible. It’s obvious that she loves life, a feeling she clearly expresses through paint on canvas but displays in equally ebullient fashion in conversation and like a modern jongleur, she accompanies each painting with a story. Consider one recent piece, an abstract painting entitled HURT. “What kind of love does not leave an impression?” she asks. “What kind of love could you walk away from and not feel hurt? Where there is love - there is pain - and fortunately for me, where there is pain - there is paint.”
Caitlin calls these stories her “life moments.” “It’s a cheap visit to the shrink….with no time limit,” she says. “I’m an up and down emotional person. In my painting and in the stories, I’m communicating with myself and my emotions. My subject matter changes with my moods but whatever the mood, I’m happy in my studio depicting it.”
That subject matter covers a broad range of life images: pure abstracts, landscapes, figures, trees, flowers, fruit, birds, hearts, stars and crowns. Inspired in equal parts by Dr. Seuss, Jim Dine, and Jasper Johns, it’s a spectrum of work that includes a variety of emotions from euphoria and exuberance to loneliness and despair. Or, as Caitlin puts it, “whimsical caricatures of serious things.” Trees are one of Caitlin’s favorite subjects. Tall trees-short trees, thin trees-fat trees, smooth trees or gnarly trees the landscapes seems to take the viewer somewhere familiar. Her barns are the same way - memorable and somehow soothing. The abstracts have a special quality, a style all their own that is at once arresting and restful, with colors ranging from subdued to brilliantly provocative.
Caitlin’s unique style wasn’t always appreciated by certain segments of the art world. A California native, Caitlin grew up in Larkspur, just north of San Francisco. She went to college much farther north at Chico State, but some members of the faculty were less than encouraging. She was told that her work was “the kind of stuff found in banks, not fine art.” She stuck it out for a year before leaving to work at a gallery in Novato where she began painting on her own and had her first show. “I sold 16 of the 32 paintings shown and was ecstatic,” she says. “I felt it was a sign. From that point on, my paintings sold steadily.” She returned to school seven years later to earn her bachelors degree in Fine Art, confident that she’d found her calling and that her early critics were wrong. And she stayed, making her home in Chico. Her painting continued to evolve, “softened” she says, and sales rolled in. She’s been working 12 hours a day ever since, supporting herself entirely on her income from painting. Well known in Northern California, Caitlin is starting to make inroads in other places - mostly recently in Portland, Oregon.
Caitlin works in acrylic on canvas with an underlay of heavy gesso applied with a palette knife that lends a signature swirled texture to the finish. Paint is applied with brushes and sponges - skies dabbed on in Prussian blue, light blue, and soft yellow hues have a particularly soft, velvety appeal. “All my backgrounds are done with a sponge,” she says, “and applying the gesso is just like icing a cake.” Sketching is minimal. “I usually have an idea in mind but I change it, paint as I go.” The work is finished with a coat of oil-based gloss varnish, another Schwerin trademark.
An old garage serves as Caitlin’s studio. Seven fixtures plug into an overloaded outlet and serve as lighting, an old wool carpet covers the concrete floor, and wood doors on sawhorses serve as tables, an indispensable item since the artist paints on the flat. Two floor fans, miter and table saws, and piles of wood used for frames share space with unfinished canvases, a myriad of paint tubes, and mountains of brushes. Nettings, “the only black stockings in the neighborhood” she gags, hang over the open doorway to ward off mosquitoes. Her lone outside view, in spite of a rural setting highlighted by almond orchards, is of the parking lot next door. “But there’s a lot going on out there,” she giggles. “I serve as the community watchdog.”
Caitlin is clearly enjoying her life, but there is change in the air. “I’ve been very lucky with my painting. My only problem has been in keeping up. But I think I’m in too much of a comfort zone with my art. I need to kick it up a notch, maybe put aside enough paintings for a couple of shows, and then do something completely different. I need to continue to grow, develop as a painter and a person. Change helps make life special.”