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Catherine Lea Gallery

I have loved art for as long as I can remember. As a small child, I spend hours drawing. My father was a talented sketch artist and I enjoyed watching him. My favorite subject in school was art and I loved drawing with crayons on that wonderful thick manila paper. I took an art class in high school and was a cartoonist for the school paper. Others thought I had talent but I considered it just a hobby.


I took an art class in college as an elective; three dimensional art. I couldn’t get the drawing class I wanted. This class was pretty “out there” and I felt totally out of place. That was the end of my college arts education.

Once, when visiting my high school, a former teacher asked me if I was majoring in art at college. I found that idea ridiculous. What could I do with an art degree?


After graduation and subsequently marriage, art became something I promoted for others through my volunteer activities. I was on the board of the local arts council for nine years and chaired several art festivals. I became the company manager for Opera House Theatre Company and raised thousands of dollars supporting arts organizations, but I never considered myself an artist.  Art was something I admired in others, and my artistic abilities were limited to helping my son with his school projects. I did enjoy decorating and landscaping our home in the historic district.


Then, my 70 year old mother started taking painting classes.  She continually urged me to try it too, but I procrastinated. Sticking to her convictions, she signed me up for a plein aire painting trip to France, in late 2006, on the condition that I start taking lessons. I contacted Pam Toll, an artist friend and former board member of the Arts Council. She enthusiastically agreed to teach me and for the next 18 months, and we became good friends as well as student and teacher.


In 2008, my mother and I painted in Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. In 2010, we painted through the medieval villages of Umbra, Italy, including Assissi, Positano, Orvieto, Todi?


I have been lucky to participate in the No Boundaries Artist Colony on Bald Head Island, NC for three years.


Although I picked up a paint brush in middle age, art has always been in integral part of who I am, whether I was promoting others, or creating myself, or just enjoying it visually. I paint the things I love: nature, animals, the coast. I love color and texture. I feel as it is such a blessing to be able to create something from start to finish. My prayer is that others enjoy what I make, almost as much as I enjoy making it.




Catherine Lea


I provide commissioned artwork upon request.


Email me at


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