HerBusiness mentoree, Catherine Abel, was recently named a finalist for the Sir John Sulman Prize, a highly-esteemed art prize awarded to the best subject painting, genre painting, or mural project by an Australian artist.
Out of 600 entries, only 24 are named finalists for the Sulman Prize, awarded by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Catherine was honoured to be considered one of these talented finalists for her oil painting, After the Opera.
Catherine has been an artist for as long as she can remember — so long that she started drawing before she started walking.
Her passion for art has led her to being an Archibald Prize finalist in 2006, another prestigious award given by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Catherine’s art has also given her the opportunity to travel across the world. Her art has taken her to Switzerland, Paris, California, and back home to Australia.
Catherine credits the past century’s greatest artists, writers and poets as her greatest influences, and has a great appreciation for history that shows through in her work.
Her art is also what led her to settle in her current home in regional Victoria. She’s found the serenity of the countryside a perfect quiet setting to work on her detailed oil paintings.
Even as an artist, Catherine does also consider herself a businesswoman — she opened her own gallery two years ago and is the sole representer of her own art. Though her art itself has been the main vehicle to her success, she’s achieved more success handling her own art and the business that comes with it herself, rather than letting an outside gallery do the work.
In recent years, she’s taken advantage of social media as a method of exposure for her artwork. Not only has it led to exposure outside of her rural home, but it’s become a free platform on which she can display her work and tell a story of what goes into each piece.
Still, Catherine’s admitted that being in business can be challenging. She’s recently joined the HerBusiness mentoring program, which she has found is already paying off. She says her mentor is asking the hard questions that she hasn’t taken the time to ask herself, and is making her realise her vision for the longterm.
So what’s next for Catherine? She says in the upcoming months she has two commissions in Canada. But what she’s most looking forward to is an opportunity to take an intensive six-week art and painting course at the Florence Academy of Art next March, where she’ll learn techniques of the masters and learn more about traditional and classical realism.