Catherine Watters' Story Behind the Art

American Persimmon
How did you go about selecting a subject for the Bartram exhibition? 
I love painting fruit, so I carefully reviewed the long list of plants to find a fruit tree.
Why did you choose this specific subject to portray?  
I decided on the American Persimmon because it is a beautiful tree.  I especially like the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves and when they fall off the fruit glows like bright orange decorations. 
What (if anything) do you know about this subject as it relates to the Bartrams?
In William Bartram's book Travels, 1773, he writes that the Indians ate persimmons because they were a wholesome and nourishing food.  He also mentions seeing the crown bird, Ampelis garrulus, feasting on persimmmons.  I found a lovely painting of a persimmon by William Bartram, using brown ink and watercolor.
How would you describe the artwork so that someone who hasn't seen it could visualize it?
Looking up at the tree in the fall, you see a branch with three ripe persimmons and a couple of weathered leaves.   On the right branch there is a dried calyx still hanging on the tree from the previous year.  
Is there anything you'd like to comment on about the color, composition, media or technique you used in the work?
In planning the composition, I wanted the branch of persimmons to come down into the page as if you were tilting your head and looking up into the tree.  I love painting on vellum because of the richness of color  and luminous quality that you can achieve.
What would you hope people would notice or appreciate when they view this work?
I hope that they take a close look at the little details like the bloom on the fruit, the bug bite on the upper leaf and the dried calyx which I found particularly interesting. I enjoy collecting and painting the afterlife of a plant - seed pods, dried leaves, etc.  My studio is filled with things I pick up when I go on walks!
How does this piece relate to your body of work?
I have painted fruit for many years so it fits right in.
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  • (C) Catherine Watters