My work in watercolor, ink, and oils is largely inspired by the time I've spent in Jordan, living with one of the most engaging and hospitable tribes of the country. I have a depth of appreciation for the way that the Bedouins of the country fuse their past and their present, with the younger generations bridging the gap between a traditional nomadic lifestyle and the new lifeblood of sustainable tourism.
As an artist and historian, I think often of the experience and works of the masters who visited the region and captured images of these same tribes a mere century ago - Church, Sargent, and Roberts before them. The overwhelming number of images we've seen of the monuments of Petra causes us to give no pause when we see Church's painting of his first glimpse of the four-story- high Treasury, but the artist-interpreted images of the people of Petra and surrounding still evoke a sense of mystery, no matter the era.
Time here is measured in centuries, not months or years. For me, the juxtaposition of ancient tradition with the clothing, makeup, and technology of the 21st century is a contrast worth capturing. More than this, Jordanians are the friendliest people I have met in any of my travels, with warm smiles, affable senses of humor, and a willingness to share their stories, all of which I work to convey in my art.
Cathleen Richards (b.1987) is a fine artist in Allegheny West, the neighborhood of Pittsburgh that was home to great female artists and creators of the past, including Gertrude Stein, Martha Graham and Mary Cassatt. She grew up in New York's Hudson Valley before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from The State University of New York at Oswego (2009) and a Master of Arts from The George Washington University (2011). She is a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.
Cathleen once identified as an artist, but has not for twenty years. As a child, she was taught to paint in oils by a neighbor while the other children were on the playground. She forged a path that took her away from the creative arts to a successful career in the travel industry, using her creativity to curate immersive trips for travelers to 50+ countries. When the pandemic devastated tourism worldwide, she found herself at home with wings clipped, no longer with any excuses as to why she should not create.
During these past two years, Cathleen has begun the work of reclaiming her artistic roots and talent, while simultaneously witnessing an evolved identity emerge - a process which feels like a homecoming. This reconnection to self and source has manifested in a body of work where each piece evokes power and connection to something greater than its two-dimensional self.
- Out of Shape @ Ketchup City Creative, Spring 2022
- Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP) New Member Exhibition, Fall 2022
Born 1987 in Upstate New York
Lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
MA Education and Human Development, concentration in International Education
The George Washington University - Washington, DC
BA Summa Cum Laude Broadcasting & Mass Communication, Minor in Arts Management
The State University of New York at Oswego - Oswego, NY
2021 - Present
Vice Chair for Education, Board of Directors, Moonshot Museum - Pittsburgh, PA
2013 - Present
Member, Board of Directors, Oswego Alumni Association - Oswego, NY
Top 30 Under 30 Travel Agents in the United States
Travel Agent Magazine
New York State Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence
The State University of New York
Favorite Art Experiences
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA
The Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, France
Frederic Church's Olana, Hudson, New York, USA