Monday, November 4, 2013

Sneak Preview, Equine Sculpture

Here is a first preview of a sculpture (equine ecorche) in the planning stages. It's been a long time coming, but finally the timing is right. I've worked out the skeletal system, cervical region. I've studied the muscles, origins and insertions as well as the proper bend at the poll. Yes, this is going to be the "This is how your horse should look" sculpture, the first in a series comparing correct versus incorrect riding. It is very exciting to finally have arrived here, and I've got a sample of the porcelain I'll think I'll be working in.

At the moment, the other side of the head and neck will be aesthetically realistic. I'm thinking this will be the size of a bookend, and can be used as a teaching tool and/or as art. Cannot wait to get sculpting!

Friday, October 11, 2013

"In The Master's Hand" Oil on Canvas

In Hand Dressage With The Young Horse
In The Master's Hand
Been working diligently on this commissioned piece, and starting to get it to the stage where I'm satisfied. The light has been a challenge but I'm starting to like the warmest color on the horse's hind end, as well as the tail highlights. I've also emphasized the little "flip" at the bottom of the tail that emphasizes the cadence of this dressage movement.

I love the attempts by this young warmblood gelding to piaffe by lifting his left hind as high as his right front foot. That, and the fact that the trainer patiently waits for the response to his aids. There is nothing quick and easy about dressage, but patience certainly helps and this image shows that.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dreaming Beyond Cancer

Watercolor by Catherine Twomey
Dreaming Ocean

I had to get out the paints this morning to get down a dream vision. What a contrast my dreams have been lately to those before September 18, when kidney cancer was still a part of my husband's body. From dark and unsettling to calm, beautiful, light and well, dreamy - I much prefer the most recent dreams.

This is a watercolor on Arches watercolor paper. The swelling wave behind the breaking one brings an anticipatory tension to the seascape. It's difficult to describe the sense of relief we carry today, and how previously "critical" problems have been minimized.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Piaffe in Hand

Catherine Twomey Original Art
Piaffe in Hand
Since late August, my family has been in unexpected, unwanted yet very instructive crisis. My husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer while being checked for a minor intestinal upset. That led to surgery, which was unbelievably successful, and now a peaceful recovery.

In the meantime, I have been working on this commission of a master German dressage teacher in the initial stages of teaching a gorgeous warmblood to piaffe. I love the intimacy between the two as well as the light cast over the hard working pair. This work was a wonderful distraction during a very difficult time.

I am slowly coming to some conclusions and insights about what we just went thru, but that will make a later blog post. For now, I hope you enjoy this painting and the mysterious connection between humans and animals.

Making It Thru Kidney Cancer

Cleveland Clinic
Post Surgical Recovery Floor 9, Cleveland Clinic
This was the infamous day of September 18, 2013, followed by recovery and the trip home.

My husband was admitted for surgery at 6:30 a.m. at the Cleveland Clinic. Surgery with the Director of Oncology, Dr. Andrew Stephenson, began at 9:27 a.m. Here is a synopsis of that day as it unfolded:

12:20 p.m.: "At the Cleveland Clinic, surgery is about to end and all has gone well. Will talk to the Dr. soon. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, mantras, etc.; this has already been a very long day but we're encouraged. Listening to a beautiful violinist next to a waterfall helps soothe the soul."

1:45 p.m.: "Dr. able to save over 90% of the kidney. Clean margins all around, a very good thing. Rick is sleeping & I can see him soon. 

Joyful! Cannot thank everyone enough for pulling for him!"

September 19, 11:00 a.m.: "Rick is doing great! Rick is now in a regular room and has walked a couple of times today. 

The now-removed tumor on the kidney had been pushed up very close against the inferior medial lung/pleura, and when they removed it the very bottom tip of the lung was "pin-pricked" causing a 10% collapse of the lung, called a pneumothorax. They didn't even know it had happened until after surgery & an x-ray. He was breathing just fine, but was put on oxygen just in case.

When I arrived today the oxygen was removed and Rick was alert and conversational. The lung should quickly heal by itself. He's only in pain when trying to get up, but that's to be expected. Rebuilding the core muscles will take some time, but he's on his way already.

We're heading in again tonight to see him. Had a good cry of relief last night, and a long nap this afternoon. No word yet on when Rick can go home, but possibly Saturday or Sunday. Rick is promising not to over-do it, and at the moment I'm personally controlling his electronics. That is, unless you've already received an e-mail from him from yet another new thingy he'd hidden under the gurney!

Thanks again for your thoughtful and delightful notes; it's hard to describe how much they mean to us."

September 21, 5:00 p.m.: "I'm on my way to pick him up and bring him home. All systems are go, and the Dr. has now given him a 95% cure rate. I have nothing but great things to say about the professionalism, thoughtfulness and service we've gotten from the clinic since Wednesday.

I know Rick is feeling much better because he's now starting to ask for his electronic devices (music & earbuds first), which he'd banned from his sight until he could handle them. I bet he'll be commandeering the TV for football when he gets home, and that (for once) will be music to my ears.

Thank you all for your well wishes, flowers, upbeat messages and positive vibes. You've helped enormously and we will never forget it. Hug the ones you love and tell them that. You never know."

Monday, September 16, 2013

And then the bomb dropped....

Baseball Flying

Football Flying

Well it's been a while since I've been able (or wanted to) post. I spent the start to middle of the summer working on a long-awaited project: a horse sculpture project that I will eventually launch on a crowd funding site. I've also been taking a ceramics class. Then, another unexpected bomb dropped.

Three weeks ago my husband called from where he's working in Ohio, starting out with: "I've had a really bad day." That was the understatement of a very up and down year. He'd experienced some intestinal pain, and needed to see a doctor. Not yet having a GP in Ohio, he was sent to an ER. That happenstance probably saved his life.

A CT scan revealed a minor intestinal infection. It also showed a 4 cm probably malignant tumor on his right kidney.

Fortunately, I have friends in Cleveland with deep medical backgrounds. They referred us to the Director of Oncology/Nephrology at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. If my husband was going to have to have cancer, this was the best place to be: they perform over 4,000 of such surgeries a year, and it was caught early. A very unlucky event just became manageable.

We are now two days out from surgery. When I arrived here in Ohio with the dogs, I was not only in shock, but uncertain about what to do with the three weeks we had to wait until surgery. Rick lives in what I fondly refer to as a man-cave, so to cheer us both up I painted the above baseball and football now proudly hanging in his otherwise nondescript house. My brother arrives tomorrow and from there, the rest is anyone's guess. Oh, yes - there's a well-armed friend staying at the house until this is over. And a hungry mama bear in the neighborhood as well, just for added security.

A 90% cure rate isn't a bad deal, however, so I'm pulling for this all to be just a rough, vivid, past memory that jolted us to the reality that no one lives forever. Please think good thoughts. We have no other choice.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kathleen Carroll at the UN Security Council

Kathleen Carroll (my sister-in-law) briefed the United Nations Security Council on the protection of journalists yesterday. I have seen and been very moved by the AP Wall of Honor which shows those who have given their lives while on assignment, often being ambushed, tortured and shot. Written with some editing help from my brother Steve Twomey:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Goodbye, Mr. Killian

Thoroughbred thoroughly thru and thruKillian's Red, the best thoroughbred in the world

Killian's PortraitKillian's gallup

Goodbye, Mr. Killian. Thank you for bringing such joy into so many lives, especially Lizzie's. Thanks for patiently letting me learn how to ride, and to finally learn a soft hand and quiet mind. You were the best horse in the entire world, and you are already sorely missed. I will remember us best cantering thru the fields of wheat without a worry in the world, free and as one. And I'm really glad I didn't name you Fabio: for you were always a Killian's Red, a true Irish thoroughbred.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Out of Africa

on safari by Catherine Twomey
Zebra, Sabi Sands Game Reserve Safari
Back from weeks in Cape Town and two safaris in Sabi Sands and Timbavati game reserves near Kruger National Park. Just starting to get my rhythm back, and still somewhat jet lagged. What an experience.

Of course, I start with a horse's close relative, the zebra, and I met lots of them. And lions, leopards, hyenas, warthogs, elephants, Cape buffalo, wild dogs, baboons, and on and on. Never got to meet so many animals, in their world, with no barriers between us and them.

I tried to paint in the field, but that proved to be too challenging most of the time. Have tons of reference photos, however, so much more to come.

I've already started on a clay sculpture of a giraffe, and hope to continue in the sculptural vein for a while.

Catherine Twomey
Baby Camouflaged Giraffe

Thrilled for the chance to go, but SO MUCH more appreciative of what I have and what the USA is.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Africa Here I Come

Heading to Africa tomorrow, visiting Cape Town, Arathusa and Kings Camp Lodge(Kruger National Park) for a trip I've been waiting for my entire life - a definite bucket list item. Watercolors & cameras coming too. Oh, & the home turf is being guarded by a huge Vietnam vet, just in case; along with two highly trained attack dogs. Just sayin.

Monday, May 13, 2013

TV Alert: AP Executive Editor on Morning Joe Tuesday

TV ALERT! My sister in law, Kathleen Carroll: The Executive Editor of the Associated Press will appear on "Morning Joe" tomorrow to discuss today's revelation that your government secretly obtained the phone records of the AP ( in what will surely go down as one of the most chilling, anti-First Amendment acts in the history of the republic.

The time? Well, we're not sure. She could be on at 6 a.m. She could be on at 8 a.m. I'm setting up to record no matter what time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Red Barn Star

Barn in Free Union, VA by Catherine Twomey
Red Barn Star by Twomey
I am very excited to release this painting that was commissioned by a patron in the Earlysville area. It's hard to describe how picturesque these acres are, and the barn epitomized all there was to see. Morgan horses are kept in this barn, which is an original "antique" although it's been restored and is in perfect condition.

Coming from the Midwest, it's still hard for me to believe how beautiful the Blue Ridge mountains are. Throw in the history here and I get all carried away. 

This is an 8 X 10" oil on linen board.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Huckstep's Garage Redux And Beyond

Catherine Twomey Huckstep's Garage

Just finished this latest rendition of Huckstep's Garage in Free Union, VA. This was commissioned by the person whose father actually made the "Huckstep's Garage" sign on the right. This iconic set of buildings just sold, and I'm hoping beyond hope they won't be razed, but rehabbed instead.

This almost brings to an end a large number of commissions I've been working on since October. There's a sea change coming as well. Meaning, I'm feeling an overwhelming need to paint in a vastly new way.

Representational is good. But of late, however, it's not been enough. Having "done" representational and accurate forever, I need to dig deeper and see what's there. There's this unavoidable need to move beyond and into a previously untapped expressiveness. That, I think, will be the next step, and as per usual, I'm gung ho to get going. Look out! No promises being made, but a deluge of energy pouring forth.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scenes From The Julia Sweeney Michael Blum Wedding

Sequence of Rick Freeman (note Men's Warehouse tux!) and me at Julia Sweeney's fabulous wedding. During the reception the lobby was set up with a photo booth and thru the night guest's souls were captured for all eternity. So here we are, from dignified to not-so. Just a tiny glass of wine and all hell broke loose. Really wish I had some shots of me dancing with Kim Dickens! — with Julia Sweeney and Rick Freeman at Hollywood, California.

Photo Booth Capturing Our Souls

In the Lobby Photo Booth

Julie Sweeney on the Today Show IN A FEW MINUTES!

Julia Sweeney appearing on The Today Show (ttps:// this morning - any moment now! - here's a photo of Julia and her new husband Michael I took at their wedding in Hollywood a few years ago. The BEST and MOST FUN WEDDING ever, officiated by Father Guido Sarducci ( with appearances by Jill Sobule ( and other glamorous luminaries who already get enough publicity. OK, back to reality, headed to the dentist so I'm finished plugging Julia Sweeney for the moment, thank your lucky stars....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Julia Sweeney on the Today Show Wednesday 4/3/13

Julia Sweeney
Julia Sweeney will be on the Today Show tomorrow morning talking about her lovely new book, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother". She's the same wonderful, funny, smart, serious and genuine person that comes through in her prose. No, she's not paying me to say this, I'm just very pleased to know her and be able to read her great book. OK, I suck at the subtleties of PR. 

And if you need a great laugh, take a look & listen here.

Julia Sweeney on Morning Joe

Julia Sweeney "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" Book Promotion
Julia is on Morning Joe right at this moment to promote her new book, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother".

She sent me a copy yesterday. I'm in Chapter 23 "Hinky Dink is Sinking" along with our family's history. It's a wonderful, heartfelt read that at times was difficult to read without laughing and/or crying.

It's weird - I'm SO nervous for her, and this is what she does! And she's really good at it!

Knock 'em Dead, Julia. Love, Catherine

Friday, March 29, 2013

Red Horse Barn Snow Storm Virginia

Red Horse Barn Snow Storm Virginia
The recent spring snow storm brought great destruction and with great beauty. This lean-to barn is in my back yard. It only looked this way for a couple of hours until the heavy wet snow began to melt, but it was stunning until then.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Snow Storm Yellow Barn

Catherine Twomey, Wakefield Farm Plantation
Wakefield Farm Spring Snow Storm and the Yellow Barn
A heavy late winter storm in Earlysville, near Charlottesville, Virginia. This is a very old (1781) barn at Wakefield Farms. I loved the way I could see through the barn window to another very old structure. The trees were bending every which way, but by the end of the day most of it melted.

Interested in prints of this work? Please visit here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snowstorm Dappled Gray Horse

Went dog walking (leaping) through the snow yesterday. I'm lucky enough to have a horse farm in the back yard, and I came across this guy who just struck me as insanely beautiful against the snow heavy trees and pond. I loved how he just kept looking at me; I can never get horses to do that when I want them to....

To order prints of this and other work, please visit here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cousin Julia Sweeney's New Book Almost Released!

My cousin Julia has a new book!
Julia Sweeney on SNL as Pat - Early 90's
My fabulous cousin Julia Sweeney's new book, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" is being released April 1!

It can be ordered through Amazon, and not that I'm biased or anything, but I'm certain it's going to be wonderful, because that's Julia.

Have a wonderful day; I'm going to make certain I do.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Pat's!

Marion Donahue Ryan Sigler, 1969
St. Patrick's Day Chicago, 1969, Marion Donahue Ryan Sigler in the Parade

Here's my grandmother, Marion Donahue Ryan Sigler, happy as can be in the St. Patty's Day Parade, Chicago (State & Wacker) St. Pat's Day, 1969. That's the famous Marina Towers in the background (I think they'd just been built), along with thousands of her Irish-for-the-Day friends. Love the coat & green flowers! And yes, the Chicago River had been dyed a brilliant green, too..

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Barn Door Blue Bucket Photo

Catherine Twomey Manipulated Barn Door Blue Bucket Photo
Blue Bucket Barn Door
I took this photo last fall. It said everything about the farm where this was taken. The farm's owner takes meticulous care of the 400 acre property - it's just lovely. It's located in Free Union, VA which is a quaint, historic area north of Charlottesville made up of a wide mix of people.

This was a shot from the inside of the horse barn. The glowing blue bucket; the canoe; the light - were irresistible. There is no peace like that inside a horse barn. It's the opposite of sitting all day at a computer. Organic? You bet. In a very, very good way.

There may be a painting done of this in the near future. In the meantime, prints can be purchased here:

Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Page Added: Medical Illustration and Communications

Pediatric medical education for nurses in South Africa: Ocular Diseases, Astigmatism

If you have a moment, please feel free to take a look at samples of my medical illustration and communications work:


Monday, February 25, 2013

Yosemite Merced River Wild

Watercolor by Catherine Twomey • All Rights Reserved
Yosemite Merced River Wild
Plein air watercolor painting of the Merced River in Yosemite by Catherine Twomey, 2011. Sat almost too closely on the banks to paint this. The river's pounding torrent was deafening. The hiking path had actually been washed out. 

This was the year of overflow snow and subsequent water in Yosemite, when over 14 people lost their lives trying to cross the river and falls like this one. Bear was in the air.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wear Your Helmet USDF Illustration

Catherine Twomey, All Rights Reserved
Lateral Brain Structures and Skull ©2013 C. Twomey • All  Rights Reserved

Just finished this medical illustration of the lateral structures of the brain for the United States Dressage Federation Connections magazine to be published in an upcoming issue. The article will be about the critical need to wear a helmet at all times when riding. Fortunately, the USDF is changing their competition rules to accommodate helmet wearing at all levels.

Equestrian head/brain injuries are no joke. They can happen in an instant and change lives forever. So NOT worth the risk. Check it out.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Exhibition of Medical Illustration

Medical Illustration by Anita Impagliazzo

 A very talented medical illustrator friend, Anita Impagliazzo, is headlining a show of her wonderful illustration work at St. Catherine's school in Richmond VA. The Mullen Hall science building first floor is filled with Anita's fantastic work in the new state-of-the art science center for high school girls. I am honored to be represented in the exhibition (2nd floor atrium) along with my peers from MediVisuals (Richmond) as well as several other independent biocommunicators.

Medical Illustration by Catherine Twomey

Hucksteps Garage III

Huckstep's Garage III
Working on another Huckstep's Garage, the third one. This is the base layer. Subsequent steps will include color corrections, blending and greater detail, especially on the garage to the right. This building really strikes a chord with people.

The focus on this version is the sign on the garage to the right, above the door. The commissioner of this painting has an actual connection to the sign maker, his father, who created the iconic "Huckstep's Garage" sign in the 1960's.

I just love the emotional human connections that keep popping up as I work my way around, painting Albemarle County.

New rumor about old Free Union History: Huckstep's, Maupin's Store, etc., known as the "Free Union Mall (!)" have all recently been put on the market and sold within days for the asking price.

I really, really, hope whoever purchased these irreplaceable landmarks decide to rehab, not replace. There's a great winery just up north on Free Union Road, The Glass House Winery that combined with this historic group of buildings possibly offering touristy services would make a great day drive visit for visitors from around the world to this area.

Quintessential Virginia, indeed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

East Fall Blue Ridge Sale

Sold a nice print of this mural today:

This 12' X 24' mural on aluminum can be seen live on Barracks Road and Route 250 in Charlottesviille, VA.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sawmill Road Autumn Oil Painting

Just about to call this painting finished. A lovely walk along this gorgeous Vermont road wouldn't leave my mind, so out came the paints. There's a certain abstraction coming out in my work now that I'm finally allowing to remain. 8 X 10", NFS.

Catherine Twomey Oil Painting

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Latest Available Work

For Sale Oil Painting
Sedona October Afternoon Mountains
Just added this piece to "Available Work" page. This was done plein air, in the hot October sun and desert of Sedona, Arizona. Funny how none of that matters when you're in the Flow. The frame is a gorgeous gold crackle which greatly complements the mountains. Ready to hang.

Fall Farm Entrance and the Yellow Gate

Commissioned Oil Painting

Just finished this commission. What a joy it was to paint. You get the last vestiges of fall in the bright orange maple leaves and bare branches. I had to do the right hand background three times before I was happy with it. Another lesson in "Less is More."

It's hard to imagine living in a place so beautiful, so ready to pull you in. This is an 8" X 10" on linen panel in a floater frame. The recipient was "Touched and delighted." Thank you!