Today I'd like to feature an amazing and awesome artist on my blog: Carrie Waller. I first met Carrie through blogging early last year and I've been consistently impressed not only with her beautiful and sensitive work, but also with her dedication to her craft and her warm personality that is always looking for ways to help and uplift others. I'm honored to have her as a friend. :)
Carrie says, "I am a Mommy/Military Wife/Artist trying to keep her creative side intact in a world full of diapers, spit-up, and toddler conversations. I am an artist with a background in Interior Design on a mission to refine my skills and create beauty with my watercolors."
To see more of Carrie's work visit her blog here: carriewaller.blogspot.com
and her website here: carriewallerfineart.com
Now, on to the interview!
Anticipation by Carrie Waller
watercolor on paper 23.5" x 32"
Tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today.
It all started in 3rd grade. My art teacher entered a collage I did in school into the Texas State Rodeo and I won 1st place. Before that I wasn’t really interested in art. Since then I’ve always enjoyed making things and the creative process. I got a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and briefly worked for an Architectural firm as a Designer, before getting married and moving to Germany with my military hubby.
In Germany I really had to create a job for myself. I couldn’t use my degree so I decided at that point if I was going to follow my husband around I would always have a creative job. I decided to start teaching art. I taught art to kids through the Boys and Girls Clubs, I became the art teacher for the home school group in the area and I began teaching adult watercolor classes. The funny thing is I had no formal training in watercolor, I just remembered enjoying watercolors in high school. So I picked up a How To book did a few paintings and started teaching. I ended up meeting a ton of great friends and teaching the entire 3 years we lived there. I’m still friends and in contact with several of these lovely people.
After that I did a brief stint painting murals—in Germany I had been commissioned to paint murals throughout the Child Youth Services bldg in Landstuhl—when we moved to Charleston, SC I started working with a lady doing faux finishing, and custom murals. I’ve also worked in a custom framing shop and had 2 little boys along the way.
About 2 years ago we moved to Alabama and I started to paint in watercolor again. I watched the movie “Julie and Julia” where Julie blogs about her journey cooking Julia Child recipes and I thought what I could write a blog about. So I started my blog January of 2010 with the idea that I would complete a painting a week. For the most part I have done that, I got my nerve up to enter some shows and won 1st place in my first exhibit, so I decided to keep on plugging away. Since then I’ve won several more awards, and started a website, and selling my art-online and in a few other venues.
Illuminated Pumpkins by Carrie Waller
watercolor on paper 20" x 24"
What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
Still life paintings are my favorites so far. I had a light bulb moment when I painted my first still life with glass in it; I fell in love with painting glass. I’ll admit when I saw paintings in the past with glass, chrome and other shiny stuff, I thought the artist was just showing off :). But after my first painting with glass in it I was hooked. For me it’s the challenge of it, the puzzle to making it look like glass, and there are so many abstract moments in glass and chrome that I just love it!
Which of your paintings was the most enjoyable to paint? Which was the most difficult?
I’ve found joy in almost each painting. I think they are all jumping off points for the next creation. I think the most fun for me has been the journey. I’m really enjoying the inspirations for the paintings and the prospect of where that will take me. I’m not sure that any one has been more difficult than another. A few I have wished I could finish faster, I get a little bored with receptive detail, such as the petals in hydrangea blooms. I’d say the paintings with the hydrangea blooms I was thrilled to complete.
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
I think those moments where I question my talent. You get a few rejection letters in the mail from exhibits and you start to wonder “Why am I doing this again”. But then you have some great things happen and it all balances out.
How do you maintain a good balance between family time and creative time?
I try to incorporate my boys in my painting time. I want them to love painting as much as I do. I also end up burning the midnight oil painting while my boys are sleeping. Fortunately that’s my most creative time of the day. My oldest son started school this year and that has put a whole new dynamic into my life so I’m still trying to balance it all out. My husband is also deploying to Afghanistan soon so that will be another challenge to get through. I try to roll with the punches and sit down as often as I can to paint. I will say that I have my painting area set up in the dining room. It is centrally located in my house I can see everyone and what they are doing, so this enables me to sit down and catch an hour of painting here and there.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I’m not sure that I have a biggest inspiration. I think I find inspiration everywhere with everything. I do marvel at the beauty of our World and I think that God is an amazing artist. I really think about that a lot especially when I see clouds and the ocean and so many beautiful colors everywhere. It is really amazing!
Carrie's creative space. Where she creates her amazing watercolors. :)
Do you ever get artist’s block? And what do you do to overcome it?
Of course, I think we all do. Sometimes I take a break and do something else. Do an art project or craft with my boys. Other times I force myself to show up and paint. Sometimes you just have to paint through it until you get your mojo going again.
Do you have any funny painting habits or quirks that we should know about?
I paint from right to left, not sure why. I also will completely finish one area of a painting before moving from that spot. I never really thought it was different than how anyone else painted until I was in a workshop with James Toogood and he pointed it out to me. He told me he knew another watercolor artist that painted that way, but I don’t remember who it was.
What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?
Beauty and maybe have it conjure up a happy memory for them. I’ve been painting objects from my childhood memories lately and I love when the resonate with someone else
What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years?
This is a loaded question :) I did a goal sheet last year and I’m pretty sure I’ve reached all my goals this year but some were not the way I expected. I found that interesting.
I would love to be:
Accepted works in to AWS, TWSA, and NWS
Really painting pieces that have deep meaning to me
Have a financially viable art career
Shabby Chic by Carrie Waller
6" x 6" watercolor on paper
What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
I feel like I’m just getting started. But what I know so far is that you need to paint everyday or as often as possible, it’s easy to find reasons not to paint but you really have to show up and paint and paint and paint, it’s the only way to evolve and get better. Make your life easy and set up your painting area in a location that makes it easy to grab half an hour any time you can. Listening to Artists Helping Artists is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. They have the best free information about marketing, it is invaluable!!
What five things can you NOT paint without?
My Daniel Smith Quinacridone paints
My kolinsky sable brushes
My Schmincke pans and the metal palettes they’re in
Artists’s Helping Artists blog radio show on my Ipod—seriously, not sure I’ve painted a painting without listening to Leslie and Dreama.
My digital camera and printer
And now just for the fun of randomness we have a SPEED ROUND!
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? Sunny beach
Book or movie? Both
Romance or comedy? Romantic Comedy
Pirates or Ninjas? Probably Ninjas
Night owl or morning person? Definite night owl!
Cake or Cupcakes? Is there a wrong answer :) Cake in any form please!
Thank you Carrie! You are an inspiration and your work is stunning! :)))