Following our last interview, Documenting a Chaotic Mind: The Art of Gareth Jones, we continue to delve into the artists of WordPress with a look at Catherine Martzloff’s site, Rendered Impressions. Catherine has loved painting her entire life, and in the last few years has taken her passion full-time to create vivid landscapes and still lifes. As an established artist, her WordPress.com site is a fundamental part of her business.
What inspires your art?
My art is as much about my experience as it is an exploration into what’s around me; it is a form of communication for me.
Color is one of the driving forces behind my painting and there is something exciting about mixing colors. I think a core drive though is simply the opportunity to express myself in a way that goes beyond words. There’s no language barrier — it’s all visual and I’m a very visual person. Time disappears when I paint.
Do you always work in oil?
When I returned to painting about eight years ago I started with acrylics, and they were a wonderful medium to use, but there was always something about the oil paint’s consistency and flow that appealed to me. I suppose there’s an element of tradition in oil painting and I have an affinity for tradition in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s part of my “old soul” or a past life.
What is one of your favorite pieces?
I have two, which are not actually on the website. One is an interior landscape capturing a part of my dining room area. It has a lot of sentimental value to me in terms of the things in the room I chose to depict. Many of them link back to my family of origin. The table and chairs are from my mother’s side. The sideboard from my dad’s. I like the blend of both, particularly after my mother died and my father remarried.
The other piece is more current and features my dog Chloe who passed away two years ago. She’s sitting with my daughter who is not fully visible in the piece but has a presence and I know it’s her. It makes me smile.
When did you first start your WordPress.com site?
I started working on my WordPress.com site around 2012. Prior to that, I had been sharing work online via a website I built myself. I had taken a certification program in web design, where I learned to work in Adobe Dreamweaver. I’ve always liked computers and this was great because it combined art and technology — although I realized I didn’t want to be spending all my time doing the web building. I started to hear more about WYSIWYG platforms and when I came across WordPress.com it seemed like an easier way to go.
Why did you want a website?
Mainly because of the reach it provides. At this point, having a website is a necessary part of my art business. It’s an easy thing to reference if someone wants to learn more about my work, and it has helped a lot in terms of securing shows in local venues, as well as connecting me with online art venues that aren’t based in the US. The online presence has helped connect me with collectors from around the globe — the possibilities are limitless.
What features helped you to set up your website?
I liked the range of templates I could select from. I felt they were well designed, clean, and relatively easy to work with. I wanted something simple and with WordPress.com I have been able to create something nice with basic tools. The steps to get myself going seemed pretty clear and I could find information to help me out if I had a question. Being able to integrate social media links and a gallery page was also important to me. I continue to see new things I can integrate, so I can improve my site as my needs change.
Has having a website let more people get to know your art?
Without a doubt. I can see that in my stats on WordPress .com (a great tool). It’s also been important to be able to see how my site translates across various devices. A lot of people access my site via their phone so a strong presentation and ease of use help with making those connections. I’ve had clients contact me through Rendered Impressions and purchase art directly from me as a result. Being able to add a link to my Etsy shop has also been useful in developing my business.
What feedback have you received?
I have a number of collectors that have come back and purchased additional pieces which is such a good feeling. In that exchange I know I have connected with the other person in a unique way through my art — that’s a deeper motivation for doing this work.
I receive a lot of positive feedback overall, however, recently I was told that some people thought the colors were too bright. I thought to myself, that’s true, they are bright, and welcomed their reaction, knowing it’s not going to be for everyone. That’s why we need many artists! 🙂
Is there any area you would like to develop more in the future?
I want to continue to progress as a painter and in my ability to share my work through a variety of venues. I have repeatedly considered adding a cart to my WordPress.com site but haven’t sorted out how I envision that exactly. I suspect in time that will come. I also envision upgrading my plan so that I have access to more options and plugins.