Chasing storms may not be a typical hobby for artists, but when it comes to capturing a moody, misty moment in paint, Catherine Jeffrey never hesitates.
From her home base in Dundas, Canada, Catherine is able to travel to nearby cities of Toronto and Hamilton to create quick oil paintings of rainy urban scenes. When a storm is about to strike, Catherine grabs her camera and rain gear and heads out.
She refers to these pieces, which she paints directly on sections of hard “shower board,” as oil sketches—and the results she gets are stunning.
In the painting below, the air actually does seem misty and the wet. Catherine’s deliberately fuzzy details, subtle texture, and grayed-out colors are what lend that feeling of dampness to the air.
And, as you might expect, reflection is an important element in all of Catherine’s paintings. When city streets begin to reflects light, whether from headlights or street lamps, it truly reinforces a scene’s cold, damp atmosphere.
In such overcast weather, Catherine is also careful about color choices. In the scene below, bright yellow headlights stand out against the dark, stormy space around them. Their fiery reflection in the pavement is a main element of the painting’s composition.
In other paintings, Catherine uses colors to simply accentuate a focal point.
For instance, in the image below she placed several bits of red to draw our eyes to the people crossing the street. The people are also more crisp than their surroundings, which helps us to more easily focus on them.
With water being such a prominent feature, Catherine’s paintings are always delightfully unique. Perhaps nowhere else can you find paintings with so much water above, in the sky, as well as below on the ground.