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I'm not sure if I know what imagination really is – I'm not sure that I know what reality is for that matter. But, somewhere beyond the mind there is a place that holds wonderous not-yet-somethings and if you can empty the mind for long enough, interesting and curious things fall into it. 

If you think back to a time when you used to stare at the clouds and find funny animals and characters in their midst then you have an understanding of how I work. How shadows on blank paper and imagination work together to create image and story.


Ancient woodlands, deep gloomy valleys and the soft murmur of rippling streams hold an enchantment all their own. These are the places where my inspiration lies; the clock forgets to measure time and the soul is set free.

The drawings and watercolours explore this faery-tale realm, this in-between world inhabited by the strange and peculiar. In each picture there is a tale for the telling. Both curious and intriguing, they are invitations to delve into the imagination. Creating pictures for me is much the same as gradually opening the shutters, or drawing the curtains to peer through an open window into the realm of Untold Stories. Staring into blank paper, images begin to appear in the whiteness. Then gently, softly, pencil and paint explore the landscape and embrace its creatures and its people. For a brief moment I am honoured to be present in a land both familiar and fantastic.


Commissions and illustrations are done in the same way; after listening to the wishes and hopings for the piece, I go away and allow it all to turn itself into a soup of images and then sit down to draw.....


I use mainly water colour and ink though I also love gouache and oils and plain old graphite. 


All manner of stories and films and artists inspire me but I have a preference for things that connect me with the vastness and the power of nature and the stillness and peace comes from that reunion.


I have four stories of my own on the 'go' and they are slowly coming to their own conclusions.


Copyright © 2008 onwards Cathy van Hoppe All Rights Reserved.

From Imagination to Reality

The Old Burrow

Work in progress for 'Troll Song'

a slow growing tale ...