CATHERINE MARIE CHARLTON
Throughout my life, I have used visual art, poetry, and nature as inspirations for creating piano music. My photography started as a tool to inspire music compositions. My album, I Dream About This World, began with a desire to know more about the iconic artist, Andrew Wyeth, whose beautiful and emotional paintings of timeless American scenes resonate deep within me. Wyeth lived and painted his entire life in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Brandywine Valley where I reside.
As I dove into Andrew Wyeth’s background, I became fascinated with his father, renowned illustrator N. C. Wyeth (1882 – 1945) and how the family patriarch encouraged his five children to discover their own paths to creativity. I am now raising young children in the Brandywine Valley where generations of Wyeth’s have lived. Wanting to foster creativity in my own children, I am astounded by the significant numbers of N. C.’s children and grandchildren who have pursued creative lives – in art, music, filmmaking, and invention. I was drawn to the stories of this family who shared classical music, literature, art and nature on a daily basis, with a father who took his young family for long walks in the countryside. The children continued this tradition of walks throughout their lives. Composer Ann Wyeth McCoy enjoyed the quiet of her daily walks which attuned her to the music of singing birds or the crunch of snow under her boots. Her brother Andrew Wyeth walked tens of thousands of times on the same Pennsylvania ridge behind his house and studio.
One year into the creation of I Dream About This World, I realized that my research up to that point had been mostly academic — reading books, visiting galleries, conducting interviews. I wanted to experience and better understand the Wyeth family’s creative process by following in their footsteps, and began daily walks of my own in their beloved Brandywine Valley and have since blogged/photographed four hundred walks, which opened my senses to textures, glints of light, and surprises where I least expected them.
With my music and “Wyeth Walk” photography, I seek to continue the Wyeths’ Brandywine Tradition, which has a spiritual component that began with a group of 19th century landscape painters and photographers who believed in the power of nature for healing and renewal. As you experience my art, I wish you peace, renewal, and the space to breathe and expand in this “busy bustling life,” as N. C. Wyeth called it 100 years ago.
– Catherine Marie Charlton
Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, March 2017
Exhibitions & Awards
- 2016 Contrast in Delaware County: Media Arts Council, Media PA
- 2015 UUSMC Sanctuary, Pike Creek, DE, two month solo show
- 2011 Best Cover Art: ZMR Awards
- 1999 Bank One Corporation Calendar – March image