Cate Rangel has always been enchanted by the female face and form. In her work, she seeks to capture a certain essence of a woman, whether it be her beauty, youth, vulnerability, sensuality, strength, or any combination of these. Most of her paintings are autobiographical in nature. They are not mirror images of her physical self, but emotional and psychological mirrors.
Her inspiration comes from music, lyrics, vintage photographs, art history books, or even something as simple as a fleeting look on someone’s face. Her portraits are drawn from emotion, mood and personal experience.
Can you tell us where you were born and a little history about your childhood?
I was born in Washington, D. C. and lived on the East Coast until the age of 6. Although we moved when I was quite young, I still have wonderful memories of dogwood, snow, fireflies, salamanders, and the forest that was our backyard. After moving to Southern California, I spent most of my free time swimming, roller skating, and drawing. I was constantly doodling faces and experimenting with paint and clay… always creating something and making a mess. That part never seemed to change!
Do you create ceramic or sculpture works nowadays?
I dabble in clay and crafts, but it’s not something that I show. It’s more for fun.
Is there an event or experience that helped form who you are today?
My family, my incredibly patient husband, and being a parent have all had a tremendous amount to do with who I am today. That and the school of hard knocks. Surviving some pretty rough patches in my younger years and coming out in one piece really put things into perspective, especially after having my kids.
What was first piece of art that you remember creating?
The first thing I can distinctly remember painting was a rabbit hopping along in a field with Easter eggs, probably in the first or second grade. I think my mom still has the painting!
If there was an artist, dead or alive, that you could spend 24 hours with; who would it be and what would you do?
That would be a toss up between Frida Kahlo and Toulouse-Lautrec. I would love to just hang out and talk to them… they both seem like they were fascinating characters.
What materials or specific name brands do you prefer to use? And why? Right now, I’m painting mainly with acrylics and use Golden, Liquitex, and Winsor Newton. I prefer Golden for it’s consistency and vibrancy, but use different brands depending on color.
Is there a technique, procedure or tip that you have discovered, you could pass onto other artists?
Something I wasn’t aware of when I first started using acrylics was the wet pallet. It saves a whole lot of wasted paint and time.
For the less experienced painters, what do you mean by a wet pallet?
A wet pallet is a sealable tray that has a layer of absorbent material (mine has a sponge) that has been dampened, and on top of that is a semi-permeable membrane (I use pallet paper). It keeps the paint workable for weeks at a time.
Can you share a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise?
Be patient, experiment, and practice.
And don’t keep your brush water too close to your coffee!
What is your favorite word?
I’d have to say “peace”, since it’s something I’m searching for right now. ”Fuck“ comes in at a close second though.
What was the last song you chose to listen to?
“The Width of a Circle” by David Bowie
Do you have some learning experience, good or bad, you could share involving dealing with a gallery or curator?
Keep an open mind and grow a thick skin. I’m still working on both. Rejection can be tough to take sometimes, but you can’t let it discourage you. Learn how to take it in stride and move on. It’s just part of the biz.
Any advice you could pass on to other artists that might be relevant?
Be true to your art and to yourself. Don’t follow trends or pay too much attention to what others are doing. Just do what you love and do your own thing.
If you could pick one piece of art to own, out of the world’s museums, personal collections and galleries, what would it be?
I’m a huge fan of Andrew Wyeth, so really just about anything by him. If I had to pick one, it would probably be “Raccoon”. (below)
Link to Cate’s Website for her current news and art.
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