Artists ~ Cate McCauley ~ West Greenwich

Artist’s name: Cate McCauley
Shop name: Pyrography Illustrations: The Fine Art of Drawing with Fire

1. Tell us about your work:
Pyrography literally means to "draw with fire." My artwork is burned on watercolor paper using heated metal-tipped pens. Burning an image creates unique sepia-toned shading and crisp details unlike any other medium. Each piece is meticulously hand-drawn. They can take about 10 to 40-plus hours to complete, depending on size and complexity.

(For more about the tools and techniques, please visit:

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/designer?
My art career began almost four decades ago. I went from a teenage apprentice at Mark Three Studios in Providence to becoming president of my own ad agency. I was trained on the job to be an illustrator back in the days when everything was drawn by hand instead of computers. That experience has served me well working in this medium.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Nature mostly. We have many Barred Owls in our yard, which I've studied in great detail. Other times folks send me photos for inspiration, or I take my own. As a commercial illustrator, I can dream-up just about anything. I thrive on detailed realism.

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
A few years ago I switched from burning on wood to watercolor paper, a process that took over a year of experimentation. Now I can add color. Even if it's just a touch as with my logo art "White Tiger," or more color like "Iris Blooms," it opens a whole new world of possibilities.


5. What’s your best seller?
Because I sell matted reproductions, there have been a few over the years. It's always unpredictable. At the recent Wickford Art Festival (July 2013) it was "Baby Elephant."

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I am a proud life-long Rhode Islander. The last of four generations to grow-up on the now-famous Perkins Ave. in Cranston. My family then moved to Warwick, a few miles north of East Greenwich. Today my husband & I live in West Greenwich, our little slice of heaven.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
It's home. It's a beautiful and extraordinary place to live, whether you like the ocean or woods, history or nightlife. Although there are some Rhode Islanders who still pack a lunch to go from Apponaug to Hoxie, you really can get there from here in short-order compared to other states: How cool is that?

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me and this rare art form. My next big showing will be at the Scituate Art Festival on Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 12, 13 & 14). It's always such a pleasure meeting people and introducing them to this art form. So please come visit. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you're interested in any of the artworks or a commission.


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