Carolyn lives in the hills of Oakland, California but grew up in rural southern Indiana. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at Southern Illinois University and Master’s from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She worked in the field of mental health for many years before beginning a career in Organization Development Consulting. After continuing the study and practice of her art for many years after formal education, she now paints full time.
"The Natural World has been for me a source of wonder and awe, sensory input, and beauty. As much as the beauty, however, I have increasingly become fascinated with the elegant systems of the natural world and the interconnectedness of things.
There was no thought of pursuing art in college--Great Depression-surviving family stressed security, so I studied psychology and sociology, learning about human motivation and behavior.
My father always said there was some Cherokee in his ancestry. I do not know if this is true and have no documentation and do not need any. I am clearly NOT Native American. But being raised with this information and my father’s love of the culture, has also influenced my life and art—from reading, to studying petroglyphs and rock art, to choosing my last name.
Knowledge of psychology, the natural world, and Native American writings that reflect a deep connection between the two, has led me to explore Spirit and the relationship of nature and human consciousness in my work. I started by painting what I saw as I learned the basics. But I was not satisfied.
I now paint what I remember, or think about, or feel, or just what comes off my hands to the brush to the canvas. My process involves asking over and over again, “What would happen if I….”, then experimenting to find the answer. I love texture and use a wide range of materials on my canvas before painting: Venetian Plaster, Spackle, sand, coffee grounds, torn paper, redwood shavings to name a few. After texturing, I choose my palette—leaning toward warm colors in fluid acrylics. Next comes a series of decisions about compositional structure and design details. And then I paint until it feels finished and I am satisfied with the result. The last step is to turn it in each direction, “seeing” what it is and naming it to reflect, but not restrict, the perception of others."