Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catherine L. Mommsen - It's All in the Details!

Catherine L. Mommsen
I first met Fairfax Virginia artist, Catherine Mommsen, on the online photo hosting web site, Flickr.

Known there as "Doeki", Catherine has been a constant encouraging spirit for a lot of the other artists who post photographs of our work there. She seems to take a genuine interest in what other artists are doing and does not hesitate to exude her approving commentary. She is kind, supportive, witty and is a remarkable artist in her own right.


Catherine's drawings consist of patterned ink renderings so beautiful that they almost defy description. I own one of them and could barely believe my eyes when I removed it from the package! The fine, unwavering detail seemed almost impossible to have been created by a human being, yet Catherine continues to turn out brilliant piece-after-perfect-piece!

Entwined - The Mommsen Girls

Ink drawing has been around for a long time - its earliest origins were in China about 5,000 years ago - and was originally developed for darkening the raised surfaces of stones for pictures and writings. But other cultures also used inks they made that were colored from berries, plants, and minerals that were available in the local areas. The ink used in earlier artistic works has very little in common with what we use today, and scholars have not been able to identify all of them.

Giza in Binary

Catherine writes:

Art is subjective: I draw in order to understand myself and the world around me; to explore differences, diversity, extremes, patterns and oddities. My work is intuitive and experimental. Contrasts are my building blocks: Contrasts such as the formal structure of technical drawing (my field of formal training) versus the flow and movement of freehand; contrasts in textures, colors, lines and shapes. Drawn to the offbeat, quirky and slightly out-of-step, I strive to express the unique and diverse found in every-day life.

Technique, process and media intrigue me. Learning from other artists, understanding diverse processes, and experimenting with new media are all exciting and fill my need to understand how the world works.

Inks are my current media of choice, partly because of their vibrant substance, sense of permanence, and versatility; but also because of the strong contrast of the sharp line against a soft background. I adore heavy, weighty, substantial papers. I love the warmth and light of beeswax. The possibilities with etching and printmaking are exciting.

It's true that art imitates life, but it is my life that inspires my art. I believe those who enjoy my work take away a bit of my unique perspective, and hopefully, are reminded of the extraordinary in everyday life.


Catherine grew up in Midwest America where, "... soft, muted tones dominate the landscape. When she left the Midwest, she traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad before finally settling just outside of Washington DC where, as she puts it, "... strong lines and contrasts dominate my environment."

Star Map

Catherine attributes much of her inspiraton to the Pacific NW where she claims, "... my love for diverse colors and designs was indelibly set.

The Resurrection of Amador

North Pole

The artist writes, "I am largely self-taught, as I believe are most artists. My formal degree is from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College where my focus was on technical drawing, copper etching and mathematics."


She continues, "Although my interest and experience ranges from assemblages and mixed media to experimentation with paper sculpture, my abiding passion is for drawing. I am currently preparing for a collaborative exhibition next winter with two other pen and ink artists. My short term plans include workshops in intaglio printmaking and encaustic painting."

Read more about Catherine and her work on HER BLOG, or follow her Flickr Photostream HERE.


Artist Victoria O'Neill said...

you have such a wonderful knack for finding the most interesting/talented people..these drawings are outstanding.

Anneke said...

hello catherine
how nice to see your work here too.
lovely drawnings and you are so talented.

Anonymous said...

fantastic, you´ve published catherines wonderful artwork.

M.M.E. said...

Wonderful artwork! Thanks for helping us artists promote our work.

Eruyo said...

Thank you for blogging about Catherine, she is such a kind and giving person and a great artist.

Thyer Machado said...

catherine is a wonderful person and a very talented artist. thanks for posting this. =)

Stacy Alexander