I had the immense pleasure of chatting with Edmonton-based abstract artist Cathy Bible from her winter home in Phoenix before she returned north for spring and summer.
Being a retired Kindergarten teacher and former principal, she had so much passion and energy to share about art, artists, and her retirement career. The one thing you need to know about Cathy: She has an incredible amount of energy… and it’s contagious.
I hope you enjoy reading our chat as much as I did in capturing it for you to read!
[Featured Artwork: “Sacrosanct” 30″x30″]
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
01. Rock, paper, or scissors?
[She let me win 2-0. (1) Scissors beat paper. (2) Rock tied rock. (3) Scissors beat paper.]
02. What are three interesting facts about you?
A. I was an educator for 35 years. Being a kindergarten teacher was
the best. The children were priceless. As time passed, I became a mathematics consultant, a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, an Assistant Principal and a Principal.
B. I sewed my own wardrobe in Junior High and High School.
C. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I can’t hold brushes and pencils for any length of time. Abstract painting has provided the opportunity to paint freely using large tools including my hands and fingers. There is an ease and freedom of movement on larger canvases.
03. Where did your passion for art start?
I don’t really know. I always was artistic and danced to my own tune. Being the only girl among four boys, you played baseball or hockey. You didn’t have time nor any materials to do art.
My first art experience was taking oil painting classes. I soon found out that the anticipated result was painting a piece that looked exactly like the picture. The rules and expectations were too confining for my personality and I couldn’t paint like my esteemed colleagues. To me if you wanted it to look like the picture, just blow up the picture and frame it because I couldn’t achieve that result.
At first, I couldn’t relate to abstract work. It didn’t make sense to me. Why pay a huge amount for just a red circle; something that I thought my kindergarten students could do. Eventually, I took an abstract class at Red Deer College and have never looked back. I came home with 16 canvases and my husband asked, “What the $%#$ are those?” “Freedom!” I replied. Now, I have developed an appreciation and an understanding of abstract work
04. Is art your career or a hobby? Or something else?
It started out as something I was really interested in doing. Now it’s turned into a career. I don’t want to use my retirement money, I want to break even (in art). But I’m not there yet.
05. Are you more productive at night or in the morning?
At night. Nobody bugs you. It’s peaceful and quiet. I’m alone with the paint. There’s usually more paint on me than there is on the painting.
06. What is the main medium you use in your art?
I work with mixed medium. So, whatever I can put on a canvas I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.
07. What household chore do you actually enjoy?
Cooking. I like cooking for people. But I don’t like to clean it up.
08. What is your go-to band or artist?
Tina Turner. I’m a rock-and-roll chick. I like Stevie Ray Vaughan. I ain’t crazy about country, especially the old ones, the twangy ones.
09. What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?
Barbra Streisand. You don’t want to admit to that one, especially if you like rock and roll.
10. What inspires your art?
I cut off my head. I don’t think at all when I’m painting. I don’t have a preconceived idea. I just get in there and let the energy flow out from my hands onto the canvas. Sometimes I’ll think it looks like garbage and then I turn it upside down and ”Voila” a master piece.
11. What app do you use most often?
I have a severe allergy to technology like I do to dentists. They are a close tie. The pain is about the same. But, I do have Instagram and Facebook.
12. What fad do you hope comes back?
I’m old enough now that everything is coming back. Mini skirts, wide jeans, skinny jeans, and hot pants they’re all coming back. I’d rather everyone do their own thing.
13. What is one common misconception about being an artist?
That our paintings cost too much. You always feel like you have to justify the price you put on it.
14. What are you hilariously bad at?
Singing. I can mouth Tina Turner like you wouldn’t believe.
I was on a date with my husband. We weren’t even married yet, and I was singing in the car to the radio. He asked me to stop because I was ruining the song. Now, I stick to the shower.
15. What do you hope people get out of your art?
II want them to love my painting so much that the next time they paint their house they paint it to match.
I want the paintings to lift their spirits and make them feel at peace and every time they look at the work they see a different image.