Thursday, April 3, 2014

Try Things for Fun - Artist Carol Grace Anderson

In the past few weeks I've had lots of fun getting some of my artwork printed on fabrics through Spoonflower. My watercolors from the collection, Natural Wonders ~ Fiori di Campo, are a new style that I will add to my existing collections to show at Surtex in May.

Some of my colorful patterns are now available through my online shop for fabrics, wallpaper, gift wraps and decals!

Since we are on the subject of textures, florals and watercolors, I thought to also introduce today artist Carol Grace Anderson as my guest. She tells a compelling story about her life and career in the arts and entertainment business which I am going to share with all of you.

Carol's story: "After a career as a teacher, backup singer for Johnny Cash and Roy Clark, a professional speaker, and an author of five books, I realized that my true creative passion was art!

Artist Carol Grace Anderson
During some of my favorite childhood years, we lived in a small village in Upstate New York. That's where I fell in love with rivers, mountains, wild flowers, and trees - all that woodsy stuff that's now reflected in my artwork.

After high school, I went on to college and graduate school to pursue teaching and counseling. I landed a job teaching English and Life Skills in a New York correctional facility. All my students were male felons. It was an interesting job to say the least!

During this time, my sister Mary Beth and I formed an "all-girl" band called Ladysmith and played clubs on weekends while I was still teaching. We started to create our own songs and got a great offer to write songs for a large publishing company in Nashville. We jumped at the opportunity and moved South soon after.

© Carol Grace Anderson
Living in Music City, we were invited to sing back up on several recording projects with Johnny Cash and others. We then landed a touring gig with the legendary guitarist Roy Clark. He was also the host of the long-running variety TV show Hee Haw. That led to shows all over the USA, Russia, and three appearances on THE TONIGHT SHOW with host Johnny Carson. That was a busy and fun ten years!

Along the way, I was invited to speak at a conference. The meeting planner knew about my counseling and teaching background and asked me to do a keynote on staying motivated. It went over well and led to many more speaking engagements and my first book: Get Fired Up Without Burning Out.

To relax after long travel days, I would play with some old paints and dried out brushes. I wished I could take it further but didn't know where to start.

My sister, Mary Beth, had followed her love of art and studied at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film. She became a wonderful and successful artist! She primarily worked in watercolor but later did some amazing pieces in colored pencil also. She inspired me to take my art to a new level. For a special birthday gift, my family gave me a more grown-up paint set. Wow! I was off and running! Along the way, I studied at Plaza Arts Studio in Nashville with Jan Batts, Edie Manning, and Ron Olson.

© Mary Beth Anderson
Sadly, my sister and sweet inspiration became my angel when breast cancer took over. She made her way back to heaven and now inspires me from the other side.

My artwork has a vintage feel with a contemporary twist. It's a blend of textures, images, and natural elements - a refreshing, warm style in today's fast-paced, high-tech world. Can you relate? I like to keep it simple in designing greeting cards and home d├ęcor products. Some have described my work as 'charming and fresh,' 'fun and earthy,' 'warm,' and 'bold yet natural.'

My advice for other artists is to try things for fun. Add elements and different colors here and there and it will help expand your style. But be true to what's right for you. Then ask yourself what art pieces in your collection you are most drawn to. That will help you formulate your individual style that defines you!

© Carol Grace Anderson
Alex also gave me some helpful suggestions. One was to study different articles and blogs about art licensing. In fact, her own blogs have lots of useful info on many, varied topics.

Presently my artwork hangs in residences in New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Connecticut, Oklahoma and the Tennessee Art League Gallery. Last year, I was honored to be the featured artist on the cover of the Arts Section of The Tennessean. My current goal is to have my work licensed, giving me time to keep growing, evolving and creating!"

Find out more about Carol's work here:

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