After a rewarding career as a horticulturist and California landscape contractor I switched the direction of my art from using the soil as my canvas and plants and flowers as my palette, picking up paint brushes and oil paints. I painted mostly plein air landscapes for 15 years in the strikingly beautiful landscape of Yellowstone and Teton National Parks where I lived with my husband. I showed my art in Jackson, Wyoming and The Jackson Hole Art Festival, (a juried festival held twice a year) and Idaho Paints Idaho, winning first place for the South East Division.
Upon moving back to California in 2013 I changed the direction of my art, finding a new freedom in water media. In addition to abstract painting and mixed media I am very interested in fiber art and combine fiber in many of my paintings. I enjoy making Sumi and walnut inks and experimenting with all kinds of different materials. I love working on paper and seek out beautiful handmade paper. I would say I’m an artist driven to experiment, to step away from the norm and find the new. My paintings may be finished with epoxy resin or be mounted on board and, often, mounted raised off the board with foam core for a shadow box effect. I may tear the paper or burn the edges, cut parts out or collage pieces onto paintings. I find a great deal of freedom in my art at this time in my career, not trying to paint pretty pictures of the landscape, rather, painting from a sense of curiosity that is nudged along by my love of experimentation and exploration.
I am currently enrolled in the Fiber Sculpture class taught by Carole Beadle at the College of Marin.
I enjoy life drawing as a way to express myself in different mediums and hone my artistic skills. I have been life drawing for at least 15 years.
I am also a sketchbook artist. I sketch from life almost every day, especially since the wild fires in Sonoma County. As a sketch reportage artist I have been out chronicling the recovery, a long-term project I am committed to. I hope that my sketchbook art will become part of the broader community conversation about the fires and the recovery.
I engage in art to satisfy something within myself, but that is only part of why I am an artist. As a sketchbook artist I have joined a robust international community, Urban Sketchers, communicating and sharing with artists around the world. And, like plein air painting, I stop and sketch in unlikely places in order to record what I see and feel. I believe my capacity for compassion has deepened as I sketch, surrounded by the stark reality of the fires and the impact on individuals and the greater community.
I am also an organic apple grower, cultivating around 160 trees, mostly Gravenstein, and can often be found on my tall ladder grafting my trees, another “art” form I enjoy.
I belong to: Surface Design Association, Urban Sketchers, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the De Young Museum, Slow Food (where I am a team leader at our community apple press), and Rare Fruit Growers.
Bio for Carole Flaherty
960 Ferguson Road, Sebastopol