Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview With Carole Garland

Carole Garland
LA Morning
oil on canvas
16 x 20"

In Carole Garland’s recent oils, an elevated perspective of LA. reveals the mirage - like layers that make up the city.

When did you first realize (or decide) that you were a painter?

While I was always drawing and received encouragement in gradeschool, it was observing a Chicago Art Institute  outdoor workshop in Saugatuck, Michigan, that moved me to think about becoming an artist.  I saw painters standing  at their easels and working from a model.  When I was 16 I started taking figure drawing classes at the Art Institute. After that, it was a long and bumpy road before I could become a full-time artist.  BUT...I painted as often as I could, sometimes weekends only.

Where do you your find inspiration for your works?

Unfortunately, I find inspiration everywhere, which makes me want to paint everything, which makes me scattered. In fact, I've spent years painting in the Santa Monica Mountains working in watercolor and oil during which time I was always drawn to the woods, canyons and mountains. Seascapes were of less interest. The angle of a tree, a shadow across a field... A landscape evoked a mood, a remembered feeling, a sense of awe, a place of peace.  I painted in one area of Solstice so often, it felt like my living room.  

 But in the last few years I've been drawn to the Los Angeles environment, which is incredible and diverse, geometric and architectural.  For instance, inspiration for this show LAyers came  from the walks I take at the top of Kenneth Hahn Park, with overviews of the city in every direction, from the beach to downtown,   but 90 percent of the time it's overcast and so what    you see is like a mirage. And that is what I attempted to capture.

 I also am terribly excited by abstract artists and their manipulation of paint.  Am currently reading a interesting biography of Joan Mitchell, whose work is exquisite.  Among artists I've loved and poured over their work are George Inness, Whistler's nocturnes, Sargeant, Matisse, Hopper, Diebancorn, Twombly, Howard Hodgkin and Gerhard Richter.

Carole Garland
oil on canvas
12 x 48"

Can you teach somebody to be an artist or is it an innate ability?

Some people have an innate ability to draw.  I definitely did to some degree and got pats on the back for it.  But there are many famous 20th century artists who couldn't draw and didn't do well in artschool.  But their drive and passion to express themselves in art carried them forward.  I have a friend who says he can't draw but his reverence for nature and his knowledge of California historic painters has propelled him into becoming an artist, and his love of art carries him forward.

How do you decide on your palette?

I started with a simple palette influenced by Frank Serrano's workshop in plein air painting. I continued to use that until in a class with Jove Wang, I was told to add some new colors to my palette, otherwise all my work would look the same.

I took that to heart and started adding cadmium red, viridian green, cadmium orange, etc.  I am no longer afraid of color. Although I still don't use enough of it.  

Does art serve a function beyond decorating walls? In your opinion, what is the purpose of art?

I just thought of a series "SOFA ART".In which, you would take orders for paintings to match the color of the sofa and living room decor. I do some work that is decorative and which I enjoy doing.  But the deepest motivation is probably close to spiritual, a divine sense of purpose to recreate the world of spirit, emotion, place, one painting at a time.

Carole Garland in the studo.

Carole Garland's exhibition begins October 4, 2011.

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