Cathy Locke

San Francisco, CA, USA
Instagram: cathylockeart

Art Medium: contemporary figure painting
Technique: I work with complementary colors to create muted color of various degrees of warm and cool, as well as color intensity.

Against the Wall, 24" x 36", oil on linen

Tea Leaves, 24" x 30", oil on linen

Movement in Yellow, 12" x 12", photo transfer onto aluminum

Trio in Red, 24" x 30", oil on linen

Green Duo, 16" x 12", oil on panel

Triad, 16" x 16", oil and graphite on mylar

Red Ribbon, 24" x 30", oil on linen

Movement in Five, 20" x 24", oil on linen

My Story

I am a San Francisco-based figurative artist, writer and lecturer. I was born in Oxford, Mississippi and raised in America's deep south until I was twelve. I spent the majority of my teenage years living between Los Angeles and Long Island,  finally settling in California's wine country north of San Francisco. I have a B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design and a M.F.A. from the Academy of Art University, both with honors. Currently I am teaching figurative courses for the graduate department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I have received over forty accolades for my paintings, including ones from:  International Artists Magazine, Pastel Society of America, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles, Ivory and Lead, the Pastel Journal, Northern California Artists Association and University of Oregon.  My work has been featured in six museum shows and is collected by civic and educational institutions, as well as private patrons across the United States, Canada and Europe.

Writing about art is a big part of my art practice. I am the editor-in-chief of and I have also been published by Palgrave Macmillan, the Military History Quarterly and American Arts Quarterly. I have written a book on Russian art and am looking for a publisher.

My Statement

I have been exploring the female figure's movement and transitions through a color field. I am working with the concept of multi-dimensional space, I think it represents the way we are all moving through life now. Our species is evolving as a we move in and out of a variety of environments and situations on a daily basis. We find ourselves in a state of constant duality, attempting to maintain symmetry within our interchanging movements. In order to express this concept, I purposely use one person in similar poses, to look at the interaction of movement and negative space. My work crosses representational toward abstraction. Detailed representation is purposely placed in an abstract field upon which the figure is abstracted within that field.

Design Strategy

I use composition, shape and color to create movement in my work. My compositions deal with multiple figures grouped in such a way to create rhythm, tension and equipoise. Within the composition I simplify form to various degrees moving toward abstraction. Usually I mix complementary colors to create a muted color for the background. These background fields are made up of several muted colors of various degrees of warm and cool. With Red Ribbons I used a warm muted color behind the three figures on the left to unite them. In areas where I want to create a more active vibration I increase the hue of the color. The edges in my work are primarily soft, I only use hard edges to bring form forward.

Working Process

I take a visual and written approach. For the last decade I have set aside time each month to study and write about artists. My article "Decoding Matisse's Color" shifted my approach to color intensity. "Mikhail Vrubel - The Mystic Painter" changed my thinking toward concept and technique. All this leads to new discoveries in my own work. I am obsessively organized and keep a strict schedule which puts me in the studio six days a week for up to six hours daily. It usually takes me a month to finish one painting, at which time I hang it up, so I can see it every day. Within a month I see things that I want to change. My average painting takes three months to complete.

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