It's Wednesday we are half-way through this week and heading straight into a holiday weekend, what better time than now, than to introduce the latest artist to joint the Well + Wonder team - Caroline Gray! Caroline likely needs no introduction but for those of you who may have just discovered her through our little corner of the internet allow us wax on all about this talented lady. Caroline is a Birmingham artist who studied art at Vanderbilt and then received her MFA from the New York Academy of Fine Arts. You may recognize Caroline's still life subjects and landscapes - they are bright and bold but yet feminine. Her work is geometrically abstract with patches of color that create a realist, still life image. In her work, Caroline seeks to examine where abstract becomes representational and vice versa. We are so thrilled to share her latest series of watercolor Iris blooms that will be available on Well + Wonder TOMORROW! But before we get ahead of ourselves... please join us in welcoming Caroline by reading all about her in our this classic new-artist feature - Pardon Me, Caroline Gray?
What’s currently on your night stand?
Face moisturizer, a journal, and lots of books. I’m kind of a skincare junkie so a few face products are definitely on my night stand. I always have some type of paper and pen near me so I can jot down a to do list or new ideas for a painting/series. I try to read before going to bed - I seem to sleep best if I do.
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
That’s really hard to say. I pull influence from a lot of different artists. My love for oil painting and still life came from my first oil painting professor at the NYAA - Amy Weiskopf - she is an unbelievable artist, teacher, and mentor.
I’m constantly discovering current and past artists that spark some inspiration in me. Early on as an art student, I drew a lot of inspiration from Euan Uglow and Wayne Thiebaud and I still do. Recently, I have been looking at Cedric Morris and Mark Dunford. Cedric Morris’ iris painting specifically inspired the series of watercolor irises for Well and Wonder.
Tell us about your childhood. What was the most memorable moment as a young person?
I had a wonderful childhood. One of my favorite memories is when my mom would buy this large roll of white butcher paper and she would roll it out real long in the driveway. She would give me and my siblings all types of markers, crayons, and paints so we could just go wild on this roll of craft paper. It was so much fun and it would occupy us for hours.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
It would have to be oil paint. I create works in lots of different mediums, but oil paint was my first love. Oil paint creates such a rich image and that’s probably why I gravitate to it so much.
What is your favorite room in your house?
Is it a cop out if I say my studio? There is a ton of natural light and when it’s not too hot outside I open all the windows so I can be a part of the natural elements as much as possible. Also there is a comfy sofa in my studio where I can sit and look at my paintings and decide what to do next or take a nice studio nap.
What is your biggest score online?
I recently purchased some tickets to the Newport Folk Festival and I’m so excited to hear live music again. .
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend to those that are new to buying original art?
Buying through a collective makes the buying process a lot easier. Also it exposes you to so many different artists that would have been hard to discover on your own. To someone who is new to buying original art, I recommend buying something that you absolutely love, buy something that you want to look at every day and something that sparks some emotion in you.
If you have an entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
I would have to say the MET museum. The collection is huge and they are constantly rotating out their exhibitions. One of my favorite memories of art school was taking a Copying at the METclass, where I went once a week to recreate a painting of my choice. It was a magical experience to paint in such a world renowned museum with all of the great artist’s work surrounding you.
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
If I wear lipstick, it’s usually red because I think if you are going to make the effort you might as well make a statement.
I can never get on a plane without...
Water and snacks - not a fan of airplane food.
How did you get into the art world?
Ever since I was little I have been painting, drawing etc. I never considered it as a career until college when I minored in studio art and took my first oil painting class. After college graduation and my plan A didn’t pan out I decided I would either go to art school or cooking school. I obviously chose art school, where I learned the ins and outs of painting - the rigorous training gave me enough confidence to believe I could make a living as an artist.
What do you do to relax?
I take baths. Probably too many, but there is nothing better than a hot bath after a long day.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
I go through waves of inspiration, but when it strikes I really try to take advantage of it. With this series for Well and Wonder - I was painting the irises non stop. I become a little bit obsessed when I’m exploring something new and creative. When I have an idea for a series I always write it down because I never know when I will want to explore it.
Predict the color of 2022?
Maybe my favorite color - olive green?
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Probably dinner and a movie and leave enough room for lots of popcorn because I can’t watch a movie without popcorn. But if I’m going out with my friends, definitely dancing all night.
Tell us about your favorite painting you have created?
This is a funny question to me because when I’m creating something I’m inspired and I’m loving the process.. When I look back at old paintings I’ve done - I can’t help but find something wrong with them or ask myself what were you thinking? There is one painting that I do still love that I created at the beginning of quarantine in April of 2020. It was an extremely strange and scary time and I relied on painting a lot to keep my mental sanity. Anyways, I created this large, colorful still life of poppies in a vase and it brought me so much joy. It also sparked a whole series that I’m still exploring today.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
Again, buy something that you can’t live without. Listen to your gut. Also connect with the artist who made the piece - learn what inspired the work - it may bring a deeper connection for you to the work.