Cat Brantley


Berkeley County, SC


  • Visual Art

Geographical Availability

  • Low Country


Artist Bio

Cat Brantley is an artist, visual arts teacher, and mindfulness teacher living in Charleston, SC. With 15+ years of teaching art and outdoor education, Cat has developed a passion for teaching creative problem solving and mindfulness through art making. Her mediums of choice are colored pencil, watercolor and acrylic, pen and ink illustration, and batik fabric dyeing.

Cat’s first accomplishment as an art teacher was being accepted into the UGA study abroad program in Cortona, Italy, where she taught 2nd grade Italian students weekly art lessons, in the Italian language. She gained confidence in her teaching techniques and ability to connect with students, and solidified her passion for teaching art. Cat graduated in ’08 with a degree in Art Ed, moved to Colorado, and became the Ed Coordinator for a non-profit mountain ecology center. Here she designed programs including a Science Art Connections program for middle schoolers and lead programs in the natural world. In 2014, Cat moved to Charleston, worked to design candle workshops for a local candle company, started her art workshops business, and taught at the Green Heart Project, designing the first middle school curriculum for the school garden program.

Cat now teaches as a visiting artist at schools throughout the Charleston area, independently and through Engaging Creative Minds. Cat and her sister, Dot, own a creative workshop business, Sister Moon Studio, offering art workshops to adults and creating handmade batik and shibori items. Cat is also creating an online mindful art resource, Mindful Art Creative.

Artist Statement

Something that surprises me every time I teach art to adults is the general fear around putting brush to canvas or pencil to paper. “Oh no, I’m not an artist. I don’t want to mess it up.” I like to respond “Well, when was the last time you made art?” We are so naturally critical of ourselves, and art is a perfect medium for working with that self-judgment.

Art, in my mind, has two purposes: one, to express an idea on a universal level that many can connect with, and two, to provide a practice for the artist to explore their ideas, express their emotions, solve problems, work with self-doubt and fear, and connect with the present moment. Being an artist takes courage, as does being a human in general. Humans are naturally creative, so making art of some kind, to me, is an essential part of a healthy, well-lived life. I seek to guide, explore, and open up the world to this concept in my work and teaching.

In my teaching and my own art making, I am very curious about the process of making something, of solving a problem using outside the box thinking, more so than necessarily creating something to be universally understood. I always loved drawing as a kid, mostly animals and nature scenes, and in high school, I took an independent painting class and began exploring abstract art. Art became my way of expressing my emotions and communicating my goals and intentions, especially when I could not find the right words to portray them. When making art, I am most inspired by nature and the human spirit, by art history and traditions around art making, and by colorful, abstract, expressive art. Through studying and practicing mindfulness, I found my love for mandala art and continue to find the process extremely healing and regulating for my nervous system. My landscape art and animal illustration is my way of celebrating the magic and awe I find in nature, from tiny spirals on a luna moth’s wings to vast mosaics of unexpected color at dusk. When I paint with wax on fabric to create batik resist art, I flow into the present moment and let go of any total control over the final outcome.

Children, in general, have an open-hearted excitement about art making. At about 3rd or 4th grade, fear and comparison have crept in, and students have often already defined themselves as artists or non-artists layered with a constant fear of doing it “wrong”. I teach art to introduce the practice of getting an idea onto paper, without judgment, rather than making something in order to define it as “good” or “bad” or “wrong” or “right”. This is what I examine in my personal art process and this is the heart of my teaching philosophy: the creative process can be a powerful tool for self-discovery, leading to greater self-confidence, personal growth, and an innate ability to solve problems in new ways across all subject matters.