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Cathy McMurray vintage loom portrait

Her blog bio says: “Artist, mom, native Portlander, half-Korean, nature lover, food snob, and preacher’s wife. That about sums it up.”

Meet Portland based artist Cathy McMurray: a self-confessed “city girl who loves living near the mountains and the sea.”


Inspired by her travels throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, the great mountains and the open sea represent a constant in her life and work. Cathy works in multiple art disciplines, particularly drawing, painting, photography, and weaving.

She is also conscientious about using materials that are easy on the environment. Her art prints are custom printed in her home studio using premium bamboo paper, reclaimed yarn and fabric remnants are used in her handwoven wall hangings.


Cathy McMurray Autumn Sun 2012

>> Autumn Sun <<


“My husband says he can see my brain thinking as I work on a project. I’m particularly focused and driven at the beginning of a new work, when a whirlwind of ideas and possibilities in my head are funneled into that first action of a paintbrush or weaving stick. And, since I normally start a weaving or painting without a sketch or even a finished idea in mind, I’m constantly configuring and problem-solving in the moment.”


Cathy McMurray recycled yarn weaving


As a mixed media artist, Cathy likes to experiment with different materials like acrylic paint, wood, paper and fabric. She also owns various (vintage) looms.


Cathy McMurray portrait


My intrigue with fiber arts goes back 30 years. When I was ten, I learned how to knit from my aunt- thereby making the longest scarf known to mankind. At this time, I also enrolled in a weaving class and a family friend introduced me to hand quilting.

“As an adult, I’ve had to relearn some of these skills. And it wasn’t until I purchased a vintage loom in 2012 that I picked up weaving again. Like quilting or knitting, weaving is very meditative. It’s a great balance to my painting process because it’s repetitive and much more tactile. I love working with texture and color, and weaving has become for me another outlet for creative experimentation and discovery.”


Cathy McMurray Mt Hood photography

>> Mt. Hood, photographed by Cathy Mc Murray <<


Finding balance between two worlds – family and work – is probably the greatest challenge for a working mom/wife. Add the home as the workplace, and the lines get blurred even more. I pride myself on being an effective multi-tasker, but even then, there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. So dishes pile up in the sink, a shower is skipped, and time at my art desk is captured in wee hours of the night. It’s not the ideal situation, but I am grateful for it.”


Cathy McMurray Hood

>> Hood <<


“This piece had been hanging in Portland’s popular ice cream shop, Salt and Straw, for the month of September, so it should smell like yummy dairy goodness. (I may be a little lactose intolerant, but I’ll never admit it when it comes to gourmet ice cream.) The painting is of Mt. Hood, a favorite subject of mine. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the little dots in the sky are gold, like thousands of twinkling stars.”


Cathy McMurray Paintings on wood

>> On the left: Alpine Reverie <<


Find out more over on her website:
Cathy’s blog Habit of Art and Instagram are perfect for peeks behind the scenes.

Images and quote text © Cathy McMurray. Used with permission.
Thanks again, Cathy!