I am Cathy Summar Flynn, and I am a self-taught writer and illustrator. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, I was born on February 16 , 1952. My mother said the day I was born it was raining, storming and snowing all at the same time! That should have been the first clue.
I am the ever- proud mother/grandmother/Grand Mop of two children and two grandchildren. I am learning the art of widowhood, and now reside in the Upper Cumberland area of Tennessee. The most positive thing my life-change has afforded me is the time to pursue my life-long dream full-time.
As a child, I was addicted to my shoebox full of crayons and my priceless treasure of children’s books. I had an insatiable desire to read. The familiar classic storybook characters were my ever present companions. I never thought it odd to have NO desire whatsoever to live in a normal house, but instead in a tree house on a deserted island furnished with unlimited art supplies, Nancy Drew books, and possibly a bountiful supply of cherries and grapes!
I believed it was my life mission to rescue every broken and seemingly useless crayon and discarded piece of paper. I naturally assumed that every blank canvas, and *giggle* wall was awaiting my masterpiece, which would one day become famous. Art and reading was never a hobby – it was my lifeline to peace. I am not aware of anyone in my family who has an interest in art. Art school, for me was out of the question. Where my artistic ability came from is still a mystery.
Over the years I drifted in and out of my art world in lieu of working what others termed a real job - all the while making notes, writing stories, creating sketches, and storing dreams away in the safe deposit of my heart. My vast collection of Mary Engelbreit illustrations has been my number one inspiration. My filing cabinets, notebooks, and bookcases are bulging at the seams with twenty- two years worth of dreams that include: big stories and little stories - both funny and sad. I want to introduce you to a vast array of multi-cultural Illustrations, coloring pages, doodles, sketches, caricatures and greeting cards, along with my first ever apps and e-books.
In the last year, I stumbled across one of the greatest illustrator of children’s books ever - Will Terry. He has become my long- distance mentor. While reading his initial Blogs, I wept as I related to his personal journey toward his successful career as teacher/illustrator. His transparency and truths compelled me to face my artistic hoarding head on and unpack!
While my storybook style has evolved through the years, I still love the familiarity of paper and pencil for my initial sketches. When those are done, I trace the final images in layers on my light box, scan and paint digitally. VOILA!
During my brief season of painting portraits, I was taught that in every painting there is a self-portrait .It is from this perspective that my children’s stories and illustrations come.
In conclusion, I have always thought that a mirror image of me can be found in the beloved children’s classic
by Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who. - “I am just a speck in Who-Ville who has a large voice/heart with something to say”.
I have been practicing all my life for this very moment.