Catherine Vaughn flowed through an evening of conversations during her solo exhibit at ANF Architects. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

If you were in a gallery accented with Catherine Vaughn’s paintings, you likely would feel the energy that jumps off her canvasses.

It’s the same type of energy that penetrates those encountering her in person – no matter if it is the first time or the upteenth point of contact.

“Art Conversations” – an exhibit of Vaughn’s paintings – is now showing at ANF Architects at 1500 Union. The opening reception was held last Friday (Aug. 3), with the show extending through September 6.

It’s the first solo show for Vaughn, who has been part of two shows with DeltaARTS.

“Everything is a conversation,” said Vaughn, amplifying on the exhibits theme. People have something to say. I have something to say.”

Before painting, Vaughn found artistic expression in music, specifically playing the clarinet and french horn. 

“In the 10th grade, I took art classes for the first time while attending Marion High School and absolutely loved them. I came to the realization that God had other plans for me.”

Most of Vaughn’s life has been lived in Clarkedale, Ark. She relates to Crittenden County and the tri-state area. 

“Looking at the farmers’ fields as the crops and seasons change is just majestic to me. Just watching the clouds pass over the fields all around me is absolutely beautiful and I hope to convey these emotions in my work.” 

She took that desire with her to Memphis College of Art, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Art/Graphic Design degree. 

“During my time there, painting was put on the back burner, as I studied 2-d and 3-d design, illustration, printmaking, papermaking, etc. Several years after I graduated, I was drawn back to my first love of painting and I have never felt so strong and renewed.”

For a while, Vaughn worked in hotels.

“Time would go buy and I would paint a picture here or there, ones that I’d like. A friend of mine, Michelle, said, ‘Why are you doing that? Why are you working in hotels when you have this talent?’ …

“I started getting into it and people started coming to me asking ‘Why don’t you start painting, doing shows?’ So now I just feeled honored.”

Vaughn’s mother, Josephine, bought her several cameras.

 “I started taking pictures and changing images to what I liked. Studying and drawing from another artist’s work was not for me anymore. I do only original work and that is so important to me I love to see people take another look, because they may have missed something the first time around when looking at my artwork.”

A close-knit family wrapped Vaughn in encouragement.

“I’m proud of her, I’m proud of all of my children,” said Josephine Vaughn, whose business is alterations. “I’m proud of other people’s children who are doing good.”

Patience is a key virtue on the path to “doing good,” Catherine Vaughn says, reflecting on advice she would give to aspiring artists.

“I would tell them that good things come to those that wait and keep God first. It might be reverse order; you’ve got to keep God first and stay humble.”

Putting art into her context, Vaughn said, “Everything I see, there is beauty in it; and art is beauty to me. People say, ‘I know you put in long hours.’ But if you love to do something, it’s not work.”

The show runs through September 6th. Gallery space open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For additional information, visit www.anfa.com or www.theartofcatherinevaughn.com or email Eli Cloud atelicloud@anfa.com.)