Dan’s Cover Artist Cat Bachman Paints ‘Midnight in Montauk’

March 25, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Cat Bachman
March 25, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art (detail) by Cat Bachman

This week’s cover, “Midnight at Montauk,” was created by Cat Bachman, a Dan’s Papers favorite who always brings fun and fantastical art to the cover. Here, she discusses her inspiration for the piece, her muses and goals for 2022.

Cat Bachman
Cat Bachman

What inspired this week’s cover art, “Midnight At Montauk,” and what story does it tell?

My inspiration for the cover piece began with the charming lighthouse on the eastern tip of Long Island. Miles out to sea, Captain Phineas Fish keeps close watch through the ship’s porthole. Montauk Point is finally in sight. It is late and a fortnight has passed. Finishing touches on the model vessel can wait. It is time to return to the helm. Phineas must signal his arrival to Philip Foghorn, his dear friend and lighthouse keeper.

"Bog Ballet" by Cat Bachman
“Bog Ballet” by Cat Bachman

What did the process of turning this fantastical idea into a painting look like, and did it require any reference photos?

The painting began in a daydream. The cozy quarters of a sea captain felt like a good place to start. Naturally, the captain would be a fish. And he would need to have a hobby to occupy those long days adrift on the ocean. A ship in a bottle fit perfectly. I used reference photos of the porthole and desk, then loosely and whimsically interpreted them. The cover piece is an acrylic painting on panel.

How does your art process and sources of inspiration change between winter and spring?

My process usually begins by visiting a local scene. I imagine what my characters might do if they were there. I do a few rough sketches and take lots of photos. Although a pond might be frozen in the winter, I envision the summer waters and skies. In my mind, I keep the sunny days alive, despite the frigid weather. Each day I walk the beach with my husband and our gentle English Setter rescue. I find great inspiration in those walks, no matter the season. The beauty of this place is unmatched. The magic can be felt everywhere.

"The Nanny" by Cat Bachman
“The Nanny” by Cat Bachman

What is it about fish that inspires you and makes them work so effectively as one of your muses?

Fish are enchanting and mysterious creatures. They are the perfect muses, with their shimmering, iridescent scales in a rainbow of colors. Their funny little faces are expressionless but full of personality. I try to capture that in my paintings. I include all forms of marine life, such as seahorses, sharks, whales, turtles, dolphins, to name a few. I reimagine them living merrily on the East End, boating, partying, dancing, and doing whatever people do on this magnificent part of Long Island.

What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am most proud when people smile and say my paintings make them feel happy. There is nothing better than that. Being featured on several Dan’s Papers covers has been truly special in my life, too.

"Party Boat" by Cat Bachman
“Party Boat” by Cat Bachman

What is one artistic goal you hope to accomplish in 2022?

I hope to do some oil paintings. I am self taught and have always painted with acrylics. It would be fun to give oils a try. In addition, I would love to get working in my studio even earlier than I do now. Of course, I’ll need more coffee to do that.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts?

Peace, most of all.

March 25, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art by Cat Bachman
March 25, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art by Cat Bachman

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