Cathy Ferrell | Artist of the Week

In her lifetime as a sculptor and artist, Cathy Ferrell was encouraged to follow her passion for art in many mediums. Beginning in Palm Beach Day School and awards won at the Society of the  Four Arts and continuing on, the art adventure led her to the University of Michigan and Florida  Atlantic University for an undergraduate degree, then the University of Miami for a graduate degree in sculpture and fine art. be showing and selling her work in museum shows at the  Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Norton Museum and School of Art. 

She also worked as an apprentice for Luis Montoya, Montoya Studios International and the foundry skills gained were invaluable, as was working with a brilliant sculptor.  Continuing studies with Eugene Daub, Walter Matia, Sandy Scott, Tuck Langland, George  Lundeen, Fritz White, Rosalind Cook, Mary Garrish, Ken Backus and many more encouraged and inspired the work to come, and she is greatly indebted to each of them for the shared wisdom, knowledge and the many joyful days of work. 

The creative quest led her to Pietrasanta in 1983 with stone commissions for collectors in  Milan and Paris and architects in West Germany. Three tons of carving stone and tools followed her home to Florida. 

Cathy is intrigued by the possibilities found in many different materials and has worked in wood, stone, bronze, steel for large outdoor pieces, jewelry in precious metals, oils, pastels,  watercolors, batik, and assemblages of various kinds.

An Interview with Cathy Ferrell

How do you work?

I often start with an image idea, then sketch it. This usually leads to a maquette, or small model in clay or such, to capture the feeling, emotion, or purpose of the piece, and movement. There are probably a hundred of these about the studio, and some go on to become much larger pieces. Depending on the forms, the materials will follow, usually building up from an armature if going into bronze. This is an additive process, more akin to oil painting. 

Working directly, the stone process is a negative one, removing, as they say, everything that doesn’t look like your objective. Once removed, there is no putting it back, so the process is akin to watercolor, keeping the whites and light values, the stone’s outermost parts.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

I love the creative process and find great joy in seeing the ideas taking shape, keeping the work constantly evolving.

What artists inspire you?

Artists whose work inspired me are Brancusi, for his elegant forms and clean lines, Noguchi for his perfection in harmonizing all the elements of sculpture and his constantly evolving and still inspiring work, and the Italian carvers, Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini, who made stone flow.

What’s your favorite or most inspirational place?

here is inspiration everywhere, whether near home and studio or much further abroad in the many travels and adventures. Each morning brings a new and different day, with so many possibilities, and paying attention to even the very small bits of beauty makes me happy. A walk with my husband or with a friend can spark ideas and new directions.

The Art of Joy with Cathy Ferrell

“The beauty of the natural world has always been my inspiration, and creatures both domestic and wild, as well as people fascinate me. The spirit and gesture of the subject, and the feeling of implied movements are my goals. Travel and adventure allow me to study a wide arrray of creatures, and they appear in bronze or stone, in sizes ranging from small to monumental. I enjoy finding new ways to express the spirit and form of the subject. Working with collectors on commisions has been a joyful experience.

Cathy Ferrell
“The sculpture was done when a nest of Little Green Herons graced our dock area. The birds are fascinating, with their relatively short tails and agility. The bright blue of the eggs was striking, and the fuzzy hatchlings were quite unruly. They jostled and squabbled when the adults were away, and we enjoyed them very much. Unfortunately, the nest was a hurricane casualty, but we hope the birds were able to survive.”
“As captain of my own 36-foot Cheoy Lee sloop and a licensed captain delivering boats, I was able to spend time on the water and to experience new places. Always there was sea life: native dolphin and tarpon, wintering right whales, and all sorts of marvels. Diving allowed access to an underwater world, leading to ideas for many works of art.”

A Sculpture’s Story with Cathy Ferrell

“The doves, Noah’s Messengers, have a favorite story. When we were considering the purchase of the home and studio that we just sold, my dad, a wise and kind man, noticed the pair of doves perched on the porch railing overlooking the ocean and remarked, “This is a house of peace” and it was, full of tranquility and love. As we moved this month into our new house two miles south on the beach, again two doves appeared and stayed! I sculpted the doves from a pair that a friend kept in her studio and spent many happy hours with them. For me, the doves are a reminder that there is a higher purpose and plan, and that all will be well. There has always been a studio at home, at one time I had two, a painting studio and a stone carving studio. This has allowed me to blend the working parts of my life with family and friends seamlessly. I’ve been blessed to be an artist for a lifetime, a wife, a mother of some amazing people who bring great joy, and a grandmother as well, and am so very thankful and grateful.”

Cathy Ferrell on the Inspiration of “Doves, Noah’s Messengers”