Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friends, Wine, Art, Fun

I had a wonderful weekend. Our neighbors had a Shiraz wine tasting on Friday night. I always meet interesting people who live on or about the mountain here on the Blue Ridge of Virginia. I'm lucky to have all these interesting personalities living so close by: we have writers, artists, engineers, historians, all bright and entertaining people. On Saturday night, some of the same friends and some of my students came to a reception for me at the Art Center of Manasass. We went out to eat afterwards.

What a wonderful weekend I've had.

Here is a photograph of my latest piece: a beautiful scene from Maine and my wonderful artist's summer there.

Monday, August 31, 2009


This has been the summer for commissions. I enjoy recording the beauty and history around me - who knows how long these beautiful homes and locations will be preserved. I want to applaud the owners of these beautiful, old properties for being the caretakers of history. I thank them for honoring ME, too.
Many good wishes go to the Hughes Family for inviting me to paint this beauty....
If you're interested in commissioning me to paint a watercolor of your historic home, or property or land, I welcome your inquiry at

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Classes Coming Up at The Lorton, VA Workhouse

Hey, everyone. Registration for weekly classes is now open!

If you want to improve your composition and design and learn how to develop a watercolor painting that glows, here are some classes in YOUR area!

The Workhouse at Lorton, VA: Make Your Watercolors Glow. Saturday mornings from 10 am until 1 pm beginning October 3. Register on line at or call 703-584-2900. After class, you can browse through the many artist's studios and galleries filled with jewelry, pottery, woodwork and more.

Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, VA: Check it out! You can paint with me at Ida Lee Park and then work out or swim afterwards in this state of the art facility. Wednesday classes from 12:30 until 3 begin Sept 30 - Nov. 18, 2009. Go to or call 703-777-1368.

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Center in Frederick, MD: Come and Paint with me on Tuesdays from Sept. 29 - Nov. 17 from 1 - 4 pm. After class, peruse the beautiful galleries in this wonderful building and then browse through historic Frederick and visit the most unique shops. This is where I find unusual gift items. Call 301-698-0656 or register on line at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Flower Power Workshop at The Arts Centre in Orange was a big success. The Arts Centre provides arts education as well as a venue to display contemporary art. During the past year, when our economic climate has been so difficult, I feel thankful for folks who support the artists, the arts and the local arts centers that are providing society and the local community with another point of view and sustenance for the soul.

The Arts Center in Orange, VA

I want to thank the board members and students who brought beautiful flowers for us to paint this weekend during the Flower Power Workshop at the Arts Centre in Orange, VA. We had bounteous buckets of sunflowers, zinnias, ferns, vines, hydrangeas and oh, so much more.

I want to thank the students who shared their talent and imagination in creating their beautiful paintings.

I also thank the staff at the Arts Centre for having everything organized and ready to go. We had a great workshop!

Come by and see me sometime at the Lorton Workhouse, Building Ten, Studio #1006.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Trekell Brushes

I'm now a sponsored artist of Trekell brushes. You can visit their website at

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lorton Workhouse

I love working at the Lorton Workhouse on Ox Road in Lorton, VA. This former prison has been renovated into artists' studios. The glass house and the pottery building are state of the art facilities and it's such a delight to be a part of this artistic community.

Come by and see me at Studio #1006, Building Ten, if you're interested in visiting our artists' community, seeing beautiful artwork, and spending the day with some friends and interesting people. The artists are there to answer your questions and we hope you'll spend a little cash on some of our wares. Support the arts! Keep the world a beautiful place to live in and help us to be able to continue making it so.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Painting History is a Special Task

Being commissioned to paint some of our historic homes and sites is an honor. I have always been a history buff, so I feel a real pleasure to be able to permanently preserve some of our area's historic sites onto watercolor paper.
A real treat....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Anita's Sea Turtle
I'd like to thank Anita for bringing her beautiful photographs to class and sharing them. Anita traveled to the Antilles and was able to take many photographs, both above and below sea level. She's a very talented lady, being able to paint in watercolors, take lovely photographs and create some darn nice pottery, too. This painting was created by using several techniques, including pouring paint and atomizing.
Thanks, Anita.
I'd also like to thank Michelle for bringing in a wonderful backdrop stand that the class will use next week for a still life set up. I'm so surprised to receive this gift and I thank Michelle with all my heart. I'll be working this week on a demonstration of Mason jars and it should sit quite nicely on the new backdrop. Oh - and this lady is a great painter, too!
Watch out for her work..... this week she created a gorgeous painting of a beautiful eggplant and some luscious tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Watch for a video of me on.....

Watch for a video of me on.....

On Sunday, I spent the day taping a video "How to paint in Watercolors" for the website noted above. It'll take about six weeks to edit and produce the piece. Watch for me around mid July of 2009. In the video, I'll go through some of the basic skills in watercolors.

Catherine Hillis

Chinatown, Philadelphia, USA
copyright. Catherine Hillis

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Classes with Catherine Hillis

Watercolor Studio in Frederick, MD

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Center
Catherine Hillis
Section: 09-3-WC2
8 Wednesdays
6/24/09 - 8/12/09
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Cost: $190 ($170 members)
Explore the joys of watercolor including color mixing, form building, and an appreciation for the beauty of the fluid mark. General techniques of watercolor painting will be demonstrated and students will experiment with the medium, working in both landscape and still life subject matter. Please bring photographs of your choice from which to paint. Photographs should be your property or you must have permission to use them. Drawing experience recommended. Enjoy working in this beautiful space.

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center
40 South Carroll Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Voice: 301.698.0656
Fax: 301.663.1080

Studio Art Shop,

Winchester, VA

2033 S. Pleasant Valley

Winchester, VA


Paint in watercolors this summer. Tuesday afternoons from 3:30 until 5:45, beginning June 30 – July 28, 2009. Students provide supplies. Beginners through intermediates. Improve your skills, see color in a new way, learn how to observe. $120.00 for five weeks, 2 ¼ hours. Space is limited.

Registration for this class is through the instructor only. Please make checks payable to Catherine Hillis and mail to: PO Box 41, Round Hill, VA 20142-0041 Questions: 703-431-6877.

IDA LEE PARK, Leesburg, VA

Paint in Plein Aire: Paint the Park

Saturday, June 27, 2009 10 am until 4 pm

This class is suitable for older teens through adults, beginning to intermediate painters.

Bring your paints, your brushes, a paper bag lunch and your imagination and learn the ropes of Plein Aire painting, a French expression which means “in the open air.” Paint some memories in historic Leesburg.

Please contact Ida Lee Park at 703-777-1368 for more information.

Watercolor Bootcamp, The Lorton Workhouse

in Lorton, VA

Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, 10 am until 3 pm

Beginners to intermediates, bring supplies, a bag lunch and photographs to work from.

Ten-hut! Learn how to fall in love with your watercolors by refreshing your knowledge of the basic watercolor skills. The instructor will lead you through the basics and help you design a composition that works. Each day begins with demonstrations and ends with helpful, positive critiques designed to build your confidence and competence.

Work in a beautiful space dedicated to the arts, visit artist’s studios during the break. See jewelry, pottery, ceramics, fibre art, paintings and MORE.

For more information or to register, call 703-584-2900 or go to

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm on Twitter. You can follow me to find out about my most recent paintings, classes, workshops and more!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Is the Sky Really Blue?

Is the Sky Really Blue?
Watercolorists have some fine blue paints available to them, and generally, when I look at a painting - I see lots of blue skies in water media landscapes.
But, observe the sky. In fact, start spending lots of time in observation....
Even in the most vividly blue sky, is it just possible that there are other hues evident?
Look along the horizon line: could there be yellows, roses, greens, subtle greys?
Look at the top of the sky: could there be roses, violets, or several hues of blue? Are there any subtle color changes that you might not have noticed before?
This painting is titled: Early Spring Storm Rising. The skies where I live are always a joy. The storm clouds are wild and colorful; the sunsets are vividly pink; the morning skies include a myriad of color. This painting is currently for sale at Round Hill Arts Center in Round Hill, VA.
Observe the color around you. Paint what you see. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Paint?

Why do artists paint? What makes us work?
I paint because I must. I'm driven to paint and express myself and when a day goes by that I cannot pick up a brush, I'm pretty frustrated. I feel a meditative calm come over me during the painting process. Truthfully, I enjoy the solitude, too.
How lucky I am to be able to work out my emotions through this very expressive medium.
Here's another tip for some of you artistes out there: are you expressing the very essence of yourself when you paint? Many of us work from photographs and I'd like to ask you: are you a photo copier? Or are you a painter? When you've painted about 60-70% of a piece, put the photograph AWAY. Start evaluating your work as a painting and not as a replica of a photograph. Many times, I hear students say, "but, my painting doesn't look like the photograph." I want to say "good!" The photos we use to paint by are merely references. Once we put those photos away, and put the painting up and stand back and OBSERVE, that's when good painting begins.
It's just my opinion....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tip of the Week

In honor of the burgeoning Spring season, I'd like to give you a tip about green.
I almost always add a little red to every green I paint. There are lots of reasons for this.
Most watercolor tube greens are too garish to look realistic. Red is the complement of green and it will grey or tone down the tube color. So, try it. I usually use alizarin crimson, opera or rose quinacridone in my greens.

Remember, when you're painting leaves, they're NOT going to be the color of a tube of green. Remember, also, that all the leaves on one plant are NOT the same color green. Those leaves are reflecting everything around them: shadows, red flowers, pink flowers, the sky, surrounding buildings.

Try this exercise: Draw 2" x 2" squares on some watercolor paper. Wet each square and (one at a time) paint each square with the different greens you own. Below that, draw matching squares. Wetting each square individually, paint wet on wet 90 % of each tube green you own with 10% quinacridone rose. After you've done this, stand back and see how sophisticated and beautiful those new greens mixed with the rose are! It's ok to allow the colors to mingle and not totally blend. That's some beautiful watercoloring.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Happenings……….Here’s what’s going on this spring of 2009…..CLASSES, SOLO SHOWS AND WORKSHOPS

Watermedia Classes with Catherine Hillis in Round Hill, VA
Strong technique will always be taught here! Yes, I can’t help myself: I’ll always help students with good, basic transparent watercolor skills (because I’m in love with this medium) but this spring I’ll be bringing in all the stuff that’s just plain fun to play with: acrylic paints, collage papers, gels, photo transfer techniques, stamps and stencils. If you prefer to continue in traditional watercoloring and have your own project you’re working on, please bring it and if you want to play, materials will be set out for your amusement. Bring your watercolor supplies, any watermedia items you want to be adventurous with
(you know, those unopened bottles and jars in your studio), a digital camera and photographic materials you want to use as references.

I’m offering two classes at Round Hill Arts Center at 6 W. Loudoun Street in Round Hill, VA. Classes run for six weeks and you can either take the Thursday evening class or the Friday morning class. Tuition is $190.00.

Thursday evenings 7 – 9:15 pm classes begin March 26, 2009 and run for six weeks
Friday mornings 10 – 12:30 pm classes begin March 27, 2009 and run for six weeks

Register for a class at RHAC by calling 540-338-5050 or online at

Learn How to Cut Mats! Mat Cutting Class
Tired of paying high prices for mats at the store? Learn how to use the Logan 450 Intermediate Mat Cutter at the Ashburn A.C. Moore Store at 20020 Ashbrook Commons Plaza, # 175, Ashburn, VA 20147. Classes are $35.00 and run for two hours. Space is limited so the instructor can work with students individually.

The next class is scheduled for: Thursday, April 9, 2009.

Call 703-858-9565 to register for this class.

The Art Center of Orange, VA - Workshop and Solo Show: The workshop in this location has sold out (yeah!) but the show is up and it looks fresh and beautiful. If you haven’t been to the town of Orange, VA - it’s cute – it’s historic - and worth the trip. The show will be up until April 19, 2009 at 129 East Main Street, Orange, VA 540-672-7311.
When visiting Orange, check out the wonderfully classy B & B, The Inn at Meander,

Watercolor Missouri National: This artist is honored to have a painting selected for this national watercolor exhibition which runs through May 30, 2009 at the Winston Churchill Memorial in Fulton, MO. Yeah!

Doukenie Winery: Saturday, April 4, 2009. Drop by Doukenie Winery on April 4, sample the wines and let’s talk art! I’ll have some of my work for sale and will be presenting live demonstrations from noon until 4 pm. Drop by, have a glass of wine, watch the demo and chat with me! I love to talk about WATERCOLORS! Painters! The special landscape of Loudoun County, VA!
Doukenie Winery
14727 Mountain Road, Purcellville, VA 540-668-6464

Gallery 222 on King Street in Leesburg, VA: Gallery 222 will be hosting a Watercolor Show from May 2 – June 2, 2009 in historic Leesburg, VA. I believe First Friday is on May 1, 2009. Come join us for wine, cheese and an artsy evening!

Health and Human Services
Some of my watercolors are on display at the Health and Human Services Building, 200 Independence Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20201 through April 2009.

Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen
If you live near the Richmond, VA area, I invite you to participate in the Flower Power Workshop and drop by my Solo Show at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen, in Glen Allen, VA. May 2 – May 30, 2009. The Flower Power Workshop will be two days of painting glorious, lush, colorful fresh flowers in glass vases and jars. Monday and Tuesday, May 11 and 12, from 9 am until 3 pm. Contact 804-261-2787 or for registration or more information.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's another new piece that I call End of the Road. This scene is not far from my home and it's the residence of a lovely lady named "Aunt Betty" by all the neighbors - who adore her, I might add. Betty was a nurse during WWII and she has marvelous stories to share. Her home is open to visitors and she always has delicious baked goods to give to all who drop by. She's a wonderful character who is admired by all and full of life and energy to spare.

This painting is in honor of Aunt Betty. Featured in the painting, close to the house, are deer, which feed on the corn Betty leaves out for them and you can see her red pick up truck just to their right.

Well, I've got a new painting and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction for sure. It glows, which is a good place to be in watercolors. I love my medium. Watercolors are the most forgiving (yes, they can be corrected), flexible, glowing medium ever and they can convey the palest hue to the richest color. There's nothing more beautiful than a hydrangea or poppy in watercolors and what could be more evocative than a subtle watercolor sky?

The title of this painting is: Pedicure. I hope you like it. Painting it was more fun than .... eating chocolate. Or shopping. Or other things.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today's high was 15 degrees. Classes began for me this week, which I look forward to so much. Many students are becoming accomplished watercolorists. I love seeing how much they're growing and how individual and personal each person's work is. The critique at the end of class is a revelatory time. We're learning to paint lace during this session and it seems to be tougher than I thought. I'll have to think of ways to present this topic .....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And On The Seventh Day, Ye Shall Rest...

I created this painting from a series of photographs that I took early one Sunday morning while driving through Martinsburg, WV. This large teddy bear of a man was sound asleep on some concrete steps, oblivious to the waking world around him. He looked comfortable, peaceful and at rest. I felt like this might make a good portrait of social incongruities: the large man might look threatening but at this moment, he was a gentle giant. The night is turning into day, the dark into light and the otherwise cold world of glass reflections and stone make a fine resting place.

Beat the Winter Blues with Upcoming Classes

Classes Start this week--there are still some openings -- call right away!
Round Hill, Virginia (Loudoun County):
Round Hill Arts Center
540-338-5050 for registration
Thursday Evenings, 7:00 - 9:20 p.m.
Friday Mornings, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Build the bones of good watercolor technique. Most classes begin with demonstrations and every class ends with a confidence building critique. Compose and design better paintings. Use color like a professional!

Weekly classes will continue through 2009.

Also coming to Orange, Virginia, March 21-22:
The Famous Flower Power Workshop for Beginners and Intermediates
The Arts Center
540-672-7311 for registraton
129 E. Main, P.O. Box 13, Orange, VA 22960

Learn how to paint vibrant realistic florals in watercolors! The instructor will demonstrate how to paint several types of flowers and leaves during Saturday morning; Sunday will include demonstrations on glass. Students will work with real flowers and learn how to create their own masterpiece.

Back in Winchester, by popular demand, Starting March 31:
Weekly Watercolor Classes at Shenandoah University
Hinkle Hall Call Jo Miller at 540-665-5442 for registration

Continue to develop strong skills in watercolor painting. Learn how to design and compose a good piece from beginning to end.