Cathy Locke, brushwork & mark making influenced by Russian Art

I hold a B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design and a M.F.A. from the Academy of Art University, both with honors. I currently teach a variety of figurative courses in the graduate department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I have received accolades for my work from the Pastel Society of America, Art Directors Club of New York, Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles, Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, the Pastel Journal and Campaign Papers. I have also received two Pastel 100 Awards placing me as one of the top 100 pastelists in the world. My work is collected by civic institutions, colleges and universities, and private patrons across the United States, Canada and Europe.

I am the founder of Russian Art Tour (, which allows me the pleasure of lecturing on both Russian and European art in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I am currently writing a book on Russian art. I work as a freelance writer for a number of art publications and I maintain a blog on Russian and European art (

My work has been recently featured in two museum shows, including a special honor where my work was hand selected from the Pastel Society of America’s Annual Exhibition to show at the Butler Institute of American Art. The other was an exhibition at the Morris Graves Museum titled “Motion and Meaning.”

I am a member of Oil Painters of America, the Portrait Society of America and the California Art Club.


Primarily a figure painter, my art practice includes explorations with not only the figure but its environment. Throughout my career I have continued to explore a traditional and abstracted style. I feel that each direction informs the other and keeps my work fresh. My exploration takes me down a vast array of paths as I search for the best way to communicate. For example, with my Magic Series I created an imaginative playscape, as seen through the mind of a child. With other work I am more focused on brushwork and mark making then representing form. I will often build up the canvas using cold wax and thin washes. I usually work with complementary colors and their mutes.

I have been very influenced by the artists in Russia. I first experienced this paradigm shift from technically focused work to an expressive focus during my first journey to Russia in 2003. To me there is a freshness in their art because many of the ideas are so different from what we see in Western art. It has opened me up to explore all kinds of creative ideas and techniques. This changed the whole way I now go about creating art. I have been very influenced by Mikhail Vrubel’s Demon series both in concept and technique. Additional influences include Nicolai Fechin’s cold wax technique and the conceptual works of Russian Symbolist painters and the Leningrad School.
Cathy Locke
Sep 20, 2017

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