Catherine Green mixes hard edges and soft colors
Old school techniques with modern materials
Few people know their direction in life so early, but Catherine Green of Stratham had the fortunate happenstance of attending a local private art school when her Connecticut hometown did not have a public high school. She enjoyed three art classes daily and started silk screening, also known as serigraphy, as a freshman.
While attending the school, Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, she was able to spend her junior year abroad in Rome. There she found a love for Classical and Renaissance art, which resonates with her to this day. A recent trip to Italy only reinforced the admiration revealed in her love of detail and themes of nature. Currently, she is enamored by the interplay of tree branches against the changing colors of the sky.
It’s all about form, color and detail for Green. Flat shapes are combined in ways that suggest a more realistic image even though serigraphs tend to look two-dimensional. The process involves hand-cut stencils bonded to a mesh material. At one time it was silk, but artists now use polyester fabric that holds up to the repeated force of the squeegee. Ink is forced through the cutouts and screen onto the paper. It’s no longer true that later editions, or finished prints, are less sharp, Green reveals. The use of aluminum frames to stretch the fabric also helps with the need to be vigilant in registering each color pass.
Green has used 45 hues with 45 stencil cuts and 45 passes to gradually build up colors and shapes for the final print. Each pass is applied to each print in the edition. Editions are limited to 60, while she strives to make each print as similar as possible.
Her thought process is layered too. Because it takes about three hours for colors to dry, the next color — and shapes they define — usually come the next day. Complicated prints can take upwards of several months to complete.
With nature as her imagery, Green likes to vary her sharp razor cuts with torn paper or a resist material painted directly on the screen to deckle edges. “Softening the edges addresses the painter in me,” she adds.
Green usually attends the Paradise City Arts Festivals in Marlborough and Northampton, Mass., scheduled in March and October, respectively. She also exhibits at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s fair in Sunapee, scheduled this year for August 1 to 9. Her work is archived in the League’s permanent collection at their Concord headquarters, the McIninch Art Gallery at SNHU and The Book Chamber in Moscow. Prints can be found for sale at most League shops and Exeter Fine Crafts.