Catharina Driessen’s powerful paintings of horses in motion starts out as small sketches and studies, transforming into colorful, unique and impressionistic views of the horse. “I like to work in layers, so I never start with a portrait on a white canvas. I am a fast painter, the underground becomes the underpainting of the subject in oil with Liquin ( quick-drying medium for oil), after that I can do whatever I think that is necessary and try to stop at the right moment. It’s important that the horse is not fully finished, I want to catch the dynamic in the moment.” Cath said in an interview with The Flying Shetlands. Cath enjoys showing prospective clients and fans her art studio and farm on during her open house events that take place once or twice a year.
Catharina “Cath” Driessen
TFS: How long have you been around horses?
CD: I was born as fifth child of a big family on a farm with cows, for the work on the field we had a horse, so I was very little girl when I first connected with horses.
When I was 16 years old I got my own horse, because my father wanted me to stay at home, to help my younger brothers and sisters growing up. This was necessary because my mother died when I was 11 years old.
TFS: Did you always want a career in the equine industry?
CD: When I was a young girl, I dreamed like many other girls to have many horses. After I was married I started helping my brother in law with the breeding of KWPN horses.
The breeding was started by my father in law. It was great at the time foals were born, playing in the fields and to watch them grow up.
Working, training and preparing to go to the inspections was nice to do. Breeding was successful, so our horses left the stables and started going all over the world.
It has always been very interesting to try and breed a better horse. So I spent a lot of time in investigating what is good on our horse and what needs to be improved to breed a better horse.
My eyes have seen so many horses, this makes my work easier, while painting horses.
TFS: When did you first start creating art? Do you or your family have an artistic background?
CD: My mother was a very good drawer and help us drawing on telephone books and other cheap paper. All my brothers and sisters are very creative in art , music, text, steal works or design.
From the time I was a child I tried to create something, but it was 30 years later when I made my first horse drawing. I had lost a foal who was just born. I was so sad that I wanted to sketch him. That was my first horse drawing.
Would you tell us more about your paintings? What sizes do you paint and do you make prints?
CD: My paintings want to show and to tell the viewer how beautiful, angry, athletic, powerful or fast a horse can be with or without its rider.
When colours can help me to reach my goal, for me it is not a problem to use unnatural colours.
The size is most different, from small to large size 160 x 200 cm.
From a small selection of paintings, prints are available in limited edition.
TFS: How would you describe your style?
CD: I think my style is realistic impressionistic, with respect for the horses balance.
TFS: What’s your process?
CD: I am a type that is used to make many sketches and studies.
When I start with the painting mostly I first take acrylic and later oil. Sometimes I only use acrylic. I like to work in layers, so I never start with a portrait on a white canvas.
I am a fast painter, the underground becomes the underpainting of the subject in oil with Liquin ( quick-drying medium for oil), after that I can do whatever I think that is necessary and try to stop at the right moment. It’s important that the horse is not fully finished, I want to catch the dynamic in the moment. I also like to work alla prima (layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint).
TFS: Any upcoming exhibits?
CD: Next year there are the open studio days again with an exhibition, this is a nice way to show my work and are two exhibitions in demand. I am a lucky painter with a big studio, surrounded by horses and ponies, so I can always show many paintings and sketches.
TFS: How do promote your work and find new collectors? Do you find in-person events or social media work better?
CD: Both are important to find collectors and clients for commissions. The most beautiful thing of social media is there are no borders.
That makes it so people all around the world can find my work and gives me nice and interesting connections.
Thanks for letting me interview you, Cath! Hope all goes well at your next open house!