Born in the urban shadow of New York City, I was always looking for any scrap of wild land I could find between high-rises, housing developments, malls, manicured gardens reeking of pesticides. I loved to dream and play around the trunks of trees, making up stories, reliving the rich legends and fairy tales my European mother would tell me. When I discovered photos of the Pacific Northwest, I knew instantly that I belonged among its ancient forests. It took me another decade of growing old enough to support myself and my trip to the West, before I actually arrived. Until then, I coped with life by swimming in my inner visions and dreams...I read, wrote, played flute and painted a lot, and knew that painting and writing were my calling. I always knew that there was something wrong with my childhood environment...that something was not only missing, but tragically damaged and sterile... something few people acknowledged, but was present nonetheless. The wilds of the coastline and the forests as well as the wilds of my inner worlds are the only places where I've ever felt at home.
I've had many dreams in which I've seen finished books that I've made, others in which I stare at finished pieces of art created with new, untried media. I paint from these dreams as well as flashes and visions that shout at me throughout the day. My writings are often songs that burst out of me, like gushing rivers I cannot hold back. I feel that all of these are gifts, that the creator is something more vast and powerful than myself, and that I am merely a vessel. I've explored many mediums: printmaking, pastels, oils, acrylics, but my favorite is watercolor. I love its endless possibilities: its vivid, lush colors and the textural fluidity that I attempt to harness in my work.
I've lived in many cities across North America, and spent two years traveling across Canada and the U.S., living out of my four-door hatchback and a one-person pup tent with my 6'2" boyfriend. I've worked at everything, from waitressing to harvesting vegetables to modeling to playing flute on the streets for a little change.
Mark tried to take some photos of me without me seeing him while we were staying outside of Valdez, Alaska in the summer of 1999. This explains my cheshire cat smile, because I had just caught his lens focused on me. I was sitting in one of the most beautiful spots in the world - they rebuilt the highway around Valdez some years ago, and it didn't always coincide with the old highway, so Mark and I would find various parts of the old highway tucked away & rotting, taken over by the immense greenery. We camped for a few days at a piece of this old highway that was nestled away like a grove. There was a gushing stream and hanging vines & pink, red and orange columbines hanging from the wet, black face of rock that the creek cut through. Green was everywhere, and in this photo, I am sitting on a soft patch of moss. This was one of those times that I felt I was literally living in a heaven on earth.
I've spent several years in Madison, Wisconsin, Olympia, Washington and Victoria, British Columbia, and San Diego, California before moving to Arcata, a beautiful town in northern California, snug between giant redwoods and the Pacific Ocean.Throughout my varied experiences, I've never forgotten my roots, my past, or the wisdom of my childhood. I've been writing and painting throughout all the chaos and upheaval; perhaps that is why I've never let go of my belief in the magical. I am currently working on more paintings, illustrations for a children's book and a memoir of my travels.
- Katharina Woodworth, June 2000