See it, love it, gotta have it?
Carol works out of her studio in a small town with a very unique name, Fuquay-Varina (the only one in the world), just south of Raleigh, NC. She has been painting in oils for about 10 years and recently added resin to her toolkit after looking for a new way to create works of art that were loose and that she could create more quickly.
The Early Years
Her first thought of wanting to be an artist came while she was doing homework in Junior High. “The assignment was to do a pencil drawing of an object from life. My brother’s baseball glove was sitting on the table, so that made the decision easy. I recall the piece as if I drew it yesterday, and my teacher’s comment: ‘This looks like a photograph."
Carol grew up in Pittsford, NY, a suburb of Rochester, but stills considers State College, PA as home (“That’s where I started life in 1961 and spent my early years”). Spending her summers on her grandmother’s farm with her siblings and 13 cousins fostered her love of the mountains and small town America.
Carol’s father had painted for enjoyment and some of his pieces hung in their home. “I was also fortunate enough to inherit his voice and won a vocal music scholarship when I graduated high school. I was in every musical and theatrical production during school; art of all kinds runs in my blood.”
Her ambition was to become a famous actress, but her mother wouldn’t allow her to go to New York. “She never went to college and insisted all four of us have a college degree so we could make a living, so although I took art and music classes in college, I ended up studying accounting and got a job as a bookkeeper for a small machinery shop.”
One day, a mailing came across her desk from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) promoting their new computer graphic design degree. It didn’t take her but a few minutes to decide that was what she wanted, so she quit her job and went back to school and got a BFA in Computer Graphic Design. “If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve taken my diploma and gone off to LA; perhaps I would’ve ended up working at DreamWorks or another well-known movie company. Instead, I moved to North Carolina and worked for a couple of graphic design companies.”
Coming Full Circle
Move ahead many years and after having her own business and working other places, she’s come full circle back to art. “Art, in all its forms, always draws me back in.”
Aside from the classes she took in school, Carol is mostly a self-taught artist. She started working in pastels early on, but also dabbled in acrylics and gouache. Then she switched mediums and has been working in oils for many years. As with that baseball glove drawing, her painting tendency has always been to work as realistically as possible.
Then, enter a trip to Roanoke, VA. “Although I love oil painting, I wanted to teach myself to loosen up and paint more quickly.” While driving through Roanoke and stopping for dinner in the City Market area, she peered into a gallery window and spotted a painting that was made in a manner she’d never seen before. “I was mesmerized; however, the shop was closed and there was no signage about the artist or what the medium was.” Upon returning home, she researched the shop and found a link to view more of Stephen St. Claire’s work and quickly learned that part of his technique is using resin to give his paintings the high-gloss finish that captivated her in Roanoke.
As she searched the internet for more information on using resin, she stumbled across a video of an Australian artist who paints using epoxy resin. “The floral she painted was beautiful. It was also loose and finished in about an hour. Perfect! That covered what I wanted to teach myself.”
However, Carol discovered a very important bit of information. “Painting with resin can be very frustrating for someone who loves realism like I do. Once you think you’re done, the resin has other ideas! Due to the fluid nature of resin, it’s still moving even after you think you’ve finished. You have to let go of ALL preconceived notions of how a painting will look once you’re done working with it, because it’ll look different once it cures. Sometimes I like it better before it cures, and several times I’ve ended up with something I like a whole lot better after it’s cured.”
Carol’s first inspirations came from watching videos from artists who use liquid acrylics - pouring them on the canvas and tilting them to make the colors run all over. Then she saw a TV commercial for a new iPad which the actress was pointing at the sky. That commercial became the inspiration for her first series, ‘Jupiter’. After the first few paintings, she realized that totally abstract art is still a little too foreign to her. “There are several abstract artists whose work I admire, North Carolina artist Jonas Gerard, for one. Jonas gave me some good advice, so I’ll take that advice and continue making abstracts until they feel ‘right’ to me.”
Carol is currently working on a floral and sunset series. “I’ve always loved sunsets (what artist doesn’t love all those colors?) and I started the florals not just because of the YouTube video I saw, but because I’ve always been a gardener and love flowers. These two series are a little more structured and satisfy my need to have an end result that speaks to me.”
Carol is currently a member of the Fuquay-Varina Arts Council, having served as the Treasurer and currently as the Vice-President. It gives her an opportunity to work with other artists and to have her work viewed by the community at local functions. She is also a member of the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club – the oldest civic club in town.
Carol received First and Second Place awards for her oil paintings in the North Carolina chapter of the General Federation of Woman’s Club’s Annual Art Festival, and her entries in the local Fuquay-Varina En Plein Air Paint-Offs garnered very respectable sales prices.
Aside from painting, she and her boyfriend enjoy spending time working on the ‘weekend, country estate’ where she lives and photographing the local 'residents' which include a neighborhood duck family and hawk. She also enjoys spending time with her family and also helping out at her brother’s antique and salvage warehouse sales. “More great art!”
Carol’s mission is to bring a smile to the face of her customers with art that they will enjoy for years to come. “Since I was so mesmerized by how beautiful [the resin piece] looked, I think other people might be, as well.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, her favorite color is - all of them, depending on what the art needs. It was trick question.