Friday, June 22, 2012

The Best of Friday Features: Carol Carter

Friday Feature: Carol Carter

"Self" 2011 original watercolor by Carol Carter
Hello Everyone,

This Summer I'm re-running some of my favorite Friday Features.  Carol Carter is definitely in this category.  Not only am I in love with her work, but since doing this interview I've had the opportunity to meet her and she is the real deal.  This lady is amazing and a one of a kind.
Today I'm featuring Carol Carter.  I can not tell you how excited I was when Carol agreed to an interview.  When I decided to start my blog 2 yrs ago and start painting seriously I really had been out of the art world for a long time and did not know any of the artists out there today.  When I did searches for watercolor artists Carol Carter was one of first to absolutely make me drop my jaw.  Her work is bold, colorful and fresh.  I fell in love immediately and have been following her career since.  She has been in many magazines and has gained international acclaim.  Not only is she a phenomenal artist but so kind and generous.  Any time I have reached out with a question she has always enthusiastically answered. 

To check out more of her work visit her website and blog.
How did you get your start?

I began painting as a child. It was the only way I would get approval or acceptance. It was a way
for me to feel gratified.
"Burst" 30 x 40 original watercolor by Carol Carter
What’s your artist journey so far?

I went to college to earn a BA with a major in painting. After I graduated -- I just expected that I
would be an artist. It was in the late 70’s... and everything seemed possible! Of course, it was
harder to do this than expected.
I went back to school and earned an MFA from Washington University. There I learned how to
manage an art career, as well as how to think about art on a different level. It was an expanding
experience for me.
After graduate school-- I became a more serious artist -- having exhibitions and doing commissions
and earning a living in various degrees of success.
Motherhood became part of my experience in my 30’s. I felt it was more important to be ‘a good
mom’ than successful artist... so I relegated my art to a secondary career.
Now that my son is grown -- I have way more time to invest in my career. I have made a
commitment to grow my career and exposure via the internet and social media.
I have also made a bigger commitment to do more workshops to bring in income.
I feel that I have the artistic credibility of a mid career artist now.
I am teaching workshops nationally and internationally, published in magazines, and beginning to
share my work outside of the United States on a regular basis.

Where were you born?

Sumter South Carolina

"Italy 61" original acrylic by Carol Carter
"Italy 55" original acrylic by Carol Carter

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I would probably live in Europe- because it feels so accepting of the arts. I love it there. I enjoyed
France and Italy immensely.

"Feel the Heat" 40 x 30 original watercolor by Carol Carter
What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

I love painting the swimmer and pool because it is a metaphor for life and the human condition. I
love figurative work. I also love the floral.

Could you talk about your painting techniques? I know you paint on the floor and like humid

I paint watercolor on the floor-- flat- so the paint can puddle and blossom. I use the organic
watermarks or blossoms to be an important element in my work. The humidity in the air is
important -- because it allows the larger washes of watercolor to dry slowly and carefully -- with
brilliance and color. The longer the paint stays moist -- the more time one has to manipulate it.
I also love to paint acrylic-- and do that vertically on the wall. I paint using glazes and varnishes.
People frequently can’t tell that the paintings are acrylic-- and often confuse them with my

"Slough" original watercolor by Carol Carter
Do you mostly work wet into wet?

I work wet into wet- but only in a controlled area of the paper. I work sectionally-- only wetting the
area which I will manipulate that moment. I never wet the whole paper at once.
I love the blooms and gorgeous color combinations; you really seem to love to play with your paint,
how did you arrive at your current style?
I don’t know when this current style of painting began-- but it seemed to appear after graduate
school. I suppose this working method ‘found me’ after two years of intense work in content,
criticism, and art history. I became the watercolorist that I am today-- shortly after graduation.

Do you have a favorite artist?

I love Eric Fischl and Joseph Raffael. Also Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Pendergast...
Van Gogh... so many!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My son. Motherhood has taught me so much about life, love, art, humanity. I often said when he
was little... “ Evan took away my time to paint....but gave me my reason to paint.” He has been my
biggest source of inspiration ever.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an

Contact with the people who enjoy my work -- either in person, at a show, in the studio, in the
classroom, or via the web.
I wouldn’t like to paint very much-- unless I could relate to my audience. I love hearing/talking
with other’s about art.
Good light - day light --north light.
Good music in studio.
Time to work.
Good and plentiful art supplies.
Harmony in the home.

"State Fair Pig" original watercolor by Carol Carter
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Watercolor: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Turquoise, Aureolin
Acrylic: Titanium White, Baltic Blue, Naples Yellow, Quinacridone Gold.

How do you balance your teaching life with your art career?

It used to be hard -- but not it is easy -- because my son is grown.
However, when he was small -- I used to paint ONLY during the school day -- and not beyond. I
would spend more time with him and his needs than on my art. I would say it is a challenge to have
a family AND an art career... but it is possible!
For the last two years I taught watercolor/painting at a local university. It seemed like I had NO
time to manage my career in the studio. I loved teaching this intensely ... but it didn’t leave me
enough time to paint.
Now I only teach workshops -- and I am trying to teach one a month -- so that it allows for studio
time. So far.... it is working.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

Travel/teach in Italy.
Travel/teach in India.
Trip to China to see the Silk Road and develop a show on this imagery.
A museum exhibition.
An exhibition in NYC.

"Glads" 22 x 30 original watercolor by Carol Carter
"Lanterns" 30 x 40 original watercolor by Carol Carter
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Paint as much as you can.

Paint only what you want to paint-- don’t paint for an audience.
Learn everything about art-- framing, marketing, business, photography.
You will have to do it ALL in your career-- so learn everything it takes.
Show everywhere. No show is too small. There are no “small shows”.... only “small artists.”
You never know what the exposure will bring to you -- when your work is outside the studio.
Paint everyday.
"Afternoon Shadows" 11 x15 original watercolor by Carol Carter
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Show up to the studio 6 days a week to work and paint. On Sunday -- go to the studio to look at
your work.
Paint every day.
Your work doesn’t improve from painting-to-painting... it grows from year-to-year.


Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? Beach!

Book or movie? Movie!

Favorite author? David Sideris

Favorite movie? Titanic

Romance or comedy? Romance!

Favorite ice cream flavor? Butter Pecan!

Night owl or morning person? Morning!

Cake or Cupcakes? Cupcakes!

Thank you so much Carol!!  That was a phenomenal interview and I can't wait to meet you in the future:)



  1. Nice interview, Carrie......I'm one of those who can't tell her acrylics from her watercolors. Hmmmm, posting at 4 a.m. You are off to an early start. Enjoy your day!

  2. I remember this interview the first time around and I am equally in awe this time too! Beautiful work :0)

  3. Very inspiring. The advice about not painting for an audience and no 'small shows'... is so true. There's nothing like seeing a complete stranger buy your work.

    Thank you, Carrie, thank you, Carol.

  4. Carol is a pure inspiration! I have been admiring her work for a long time now and every time I see something new I am blown away by the intense color and unique combinations. I'm convinced that she sees the world through different eyes...extraordinary and amazing eyes!

    Carrie, you and Carol are both outstanding artists! I'm so happy to have found you both - great interview. Thank you!