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Artist Statement

In my art I strive to stir within the viewer the same feelings I have for my subjects.  I see a profound elegance in things we encounter everyday but often do not take time to regard; a bird, a flower, even the effects of light itself. I am compelled to give them a place of honor, that their beauty would be recognized. To this end, I prefer to keep my compositions simple and uncluttered. My desire is that my art would elevate the spirit by providing a glimpse into the splendor of both Creation and things created by man, as both ultimately are from God. In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “An artwork can be a doxology in itself.”

Although I greatly enjoy the challenge of painting portraits and animals, most of my works are still life since these subjects are readily accessible.  In these I often include antiques, which I choose for their beautiful form and nostalgic quality. I am especially excited about capturing the character of flowers, which in life are so fleeting, as a way of preserving their loveliness to bring joy to others.

For me the delight of being an artist is that I get to spend hour after hour contemplating beauty.

Artist Biography

Cathleen Lawless is a contemporary realist artist who lives in Vienna, Virginia. A native of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, she grew up surrounded by her mother’s collection of antiques and developed an appreciation for the craftsmanship and beauty of old things. She spent a lot of time at the home of her grandparents, who led a simple life of hard work. Her grandmother taught her to knit, crochet and sew, instilling in Cathleen her passion to create.   

Cathleen’s love of drawing began in childhood. Despite her high school art teacher’s urging to go to art school, Cathleen studied medical technology and worked for most of her career in clinical microbiology. Her interest in creating art was rekindled when she was inspired to draw portraits of her two sons. This started her on a course of serious independent study, learning first from books and videos, and later taking classes and workshops to learn from contemporary masters. Over the years she has worked in a variety of media: graphite, charcoal, watercolor, and pastel.  She now works primarily in oil.

Cathleen’s paintings harken back to themes from her childhood. She often incorporates her mother’s antiques and other family heirlooms into her still life paintings, imparting a sense of nostalgia while showcasing the beauty of their shapes. Flowers are prominent in many of her works and most of these she grows in her garden. She also enjoys the challenge of painting portraits and animals, including the birds that she enjoys watching at feeders in her yard as her grandfather used to do.    

In addition to receiving awards in local and regional juried shows, Cathleen’s work has been exhibited in the Salmagundi Club (NYC), the Byrne Gallery in Middleburg, VA and in the annual show of the Virginia Watercolor Society. She is a member of Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America.

To see more of Cathleen’s work and to subscribe to her monthly e-newsletter visit







"White Geraniums", oil

"Still Life with Mandarin Oranges", oil

"Yellow Rumped Warbler", oil