Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I was Featured on Alisa Steady's BLOG!!! Read on..

I was featured on a Alisa Steady's Blog today.... I will share it with you!  It was so much fun!

The Soaring Artist's Voice - An Interview with Artist Joan Carver

Interview with Joan Carver

Joan Carver's paintings are nothing short of mesmerizing -ranging from large acrylic and oil canvases depicting water and beach scenes, to portraits of animals that capture the characteristics so well, the viewer almost feels as if they might know the subject, too! She also paints on silk, creating the most beautiful mouthwatering pieces, as if you're wearing a gem colored canvas around you neck. Please join me in discovering what makes Joan Carver soar...

How long have you been painting? Could you share with us some of your background, and how it’s lead you to being the prolific artist you are today?
Joan Carver
I have been painting since I could hold a paintbrush! Seriously, I was one of those creating, coloring, cutting, gluing & painting, even in kindergarten! I was fortunate to take an oil painting class from a local woman who was a professional artist at the age of 11 or 12 years old. It was an evening class of adults, so I felt “special” when she allowed me to join the weekly class.
I majored in commercial art at first, because I had no intentions on teaching…. Little did I know that is what would become my passion – teaching art. I taught art in public, Montessori and private schools. Gathering knowledge, experience, and it happened to be the “right time” in my life - I opened my own art school! The Wizard of Art in Concord (Charlotte), North Carolina! I loved every single minute of teaching and inspiring so many kids, teens and adults! I had that wonderful art school for 18 years!
Painted Birds, Acrylic on Panel
When my husband came to me to tell me about a job transfer, I was devastated! Everything I worked for, to build and to promote …I had a wonderful, successful business and we’re MOVING?!? Yep ..It was like a “death” or losing a family member. Once, in Jacksonville, Florida, I decided that it wasn’t an end to my life, it could be just the beginning of a “new chapter”! Trust me there were tears, but you know, new things aren’t all bad. I could start over, build an art school here,..I did it before, I can do it again. As the weeks and “unpacking” unfolded, I decided to promote my own art this time, rather than my art school & art students. Now, it meant overcoming my fear of going into a gallery and asking them if they would look at a few of my paintings and if they would be interested in including my artwork in their gallery. They loved my work… and within a month, I was in three of the most prestigious galleries in the Jacksonville, FL area!!!! The next hoop to jump through was now proving to them that the work would sell! Again, as luck would have it, I sold my first painting. Another gallery I submitted art to, (further away),in Hilton Head, South Carolina, had been watching me and my successes, without my knowledge. A year later, I wrote them again, saying that I had submitted work a year earlier and wanted to send a few of my new paintings…that was when they said YES! And they explained to me that they had been watching what I was painting and selling during the span of that year, and wanted my work in their gallery. My work is still there today in Camillia Art Gallery on Hilton Head Island and she sells more of my paintings than anyone.

A Brush With The Sea, Oil On Panel, 48 x 48 x 2
Who are some of the artists that inspired you throughout your artistic journey?
Even at a younger age, I always did admire Claude Monet’s painting “Waterlilies” and the story of how he created his colorful gardens , bridge & water surrounding his home in Giverney. Also, the painting of the Japanese Bridge was a favorite. It may have been the water..or the water reflections..but I related to him.
Another artist that inspired me:
I took a workshop from an artist that traveled across the country teaching her techniques…it was an “experimental water media” workshop, taught by Mary Alice Braukman , while I was still living in Charlotte, NC. She demonstrated how to do a “pouring”. I had never seen or heard of this technique before! She had small plastic cups all lined up containing her mixtures of watered down acrylic paint and white ink. Mary Alice picked up her pre-mixed solutions one at a time and controllably poured her liquid paints onto her prepared surface. The results were so thrilling for me to see & experience. I knew this technique was for me. She continued to pour creating a flow of colors – a wave, a river. I don’t do these, as often, today, but I do paint “water”….it is still my love!!! 
Treasures of the Sea, Acrylic on Canvas, 30 x 24 x 1/2

What does a typical day of painting look like for you? What does that process look like for Joan Carver?
I love to get my morning coffee, walk a few paces into my art studio and plan an idea for a new painting. It could be an idea I had sketched in my journal, a photo I had taken, or maybe just stand-back and study the painting in-progress perched on the easel, started the day before. I enjoy the quietness of the morning, and a chance to plan what I will do that day. Once I get started painting, it’s difficult to get me to stop. That’s probably why my creativity is “messed-up” when I have an appointment or something else planned that day. That’s is my excuse for not exercising or working-out! HA HA. Also, I love to paint to music, it makes me happy. Mostly, it is rock, sometimes latin music…lately, it’s been country…whatever mood I’m in.
I do have a process that I will share, because with this idea, I never have an artist’s “block’. It is unusual to see me without my camera. I take tons of photos. Once I look over the photographs I have taken, I choose my favorites – ones that will make great paintings - I put them in an album or binder. Whenever I am ready to create a new painting, I just leaf through that binder and usually end up choosing several!  

Hidden Messages in Water, Acrylic, 60 x 48
What are some of your favorite supplies and mediums you employ in your artwork? 
My favorite supplies are my oil paints, my 12x 16” Strathmore pad of Palette Paper (disposable!!!), some old favorite brushes I always seem to grab. Some paintings I may want to add texture - so the very first layer may be of gesso or joint compound applied with a trowel, then I add markings, writings, hidden messages, or other designs with tools, bubble wrap, or found objects to make an impression in that layer.

Your animal portraits are amazing! You really capture the essence of your furry subjects. How do you go about distilling what those individual characteristics are with paint?
Sonny, Oil on Canvas
I am an animal lover, so for me those pet portraits are fun to create. I like to meet the animal, know it’s name, and get to see their unique personality. The animals on the canvas do seem to come alive as I paint them. I did one of an adorable Yorkie-Cairn Terrier, full of energy and so loveable, named Sonny. That one has a red background ( energy), and his face is ¾ of the way on the canvas to express his “hyper-movements” and excitability! What a cutie. Another one was of a huge, loveable, gentle-giant …a Saint Bernard, named Bentley. He was a beautiful, furry, calm I painted him just lying there looking at me, pondering & almost posing!!

Bentley, Oil on Canvas
I typically paint on smaller canvas (but I’m working my way up to larger!) – Could you describe your approach when painting on large canvas sizes like 48x48”? How do you overcome the “white canvas” syndrome?
I used to paint smaller, too. I moved to Florida and have these 14 ft. ceilings – they would dwarf the paintings that I painted. Paintings 16 x 20” are small for me. I mostly paint 36x48”, 48x48” and occasionally 48 x60”. I sold a painting titled “ Reflections of Koi” measuring 48x36” to a family that bought it for their family room. The wall was so large ( not necessarily high, but a long wall) , the family contacted me to possibly do another one the same size …or needed a solution. I suggested painting two smaller paintings ( 12x36”) to add to either side of the original one. The result was a gorgeous 3-piece “triptych” measuring 72”x36” … it added the WOW factor to that room!
Reflections of Koi, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 x 1.5
To overcome the new “white canvas” fear, apply color with a watered-down color – or if using oils, use turpentine to dilute the color, wipe off with a rag, just enough to “stain” the canvas. That helps overcome the “white canvas” problem. : )

Painting on silk strikes me as being complicated. What got you interested in painting on silk, and how long before it became a comfortable ‘canvas’ to work on?
Sea Turtle, Silk, 22 x 22
Painting on silk was something I wanted to try for a long time. I was actually afraid to try it. I attended an art league meeting where a woman displayed her silks and explained how she did them. I went up to her after her talk and told her that I loved her beautiful, colorful silks. I explained that I was afraid to try, because it looked difficult and intense. She said.. “Just try it!” As it turned out, it was so much fun, and relaxing, not difficult. Eventually, I taught my students as young as elementary school how to paint on silk! My teen students and adults really enjoyed getting creative with the painting process. I would compare it to painting with watercolors, because of the flowing colors, but you’re using silk instead of paper and the dyes instead of the paints. You can be comfortable with this process on the very first project…I would love to teach you!!

Your paintings have such ethereal, mesmerizing feel to them. Do you have a favorite ‘go to’ palette of colors for capturing that calming element to your paintings?
Scarlet Ibis, Oil, 33 x 48

I seem to stick to sea glass colors for my water paintings. Really, I don’t want all the paintings to be the same, so since I decorate with greens and browns in my home, I have used a lot of various greens, teals, browns, khakis, and some blues. Trying to bring mix it up a little bit and add some vibrance to the reflections , I may add yellows, limes and reds. The blues are beautiful, but because I’m in galleries, I see the trends are not so much the blues, right now, but more the greens & browns.

What is some of the worst advice you’ve been given about being an artist?
Summer Memories 2011, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 x 2
The worst advice I was given was from another artist. She asked me why I didn’t just choose a medium and stick with it. She tried to tell me that’s what you should do because your audience will want to be able to recognize your artwork. I explained to her, that she could be right about that…but, in my circumstance, I owned and operated an art school and needed to be able to demonstrate various mediums and techniques to all my students whether they be children, teens, or adults. The community needed to have a place to be able to explore, experiment and learn about different mediums and various interests , such as watercolors, oils, acrylics, pastels, pen& ink and painted silks. I stayed current with the newest trends & new products by taking workshops with well-known artists that offer their classes around the country , as well as, travel to and from Europe.
"Penny" The Pitbull, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 16 x 1
What is some of the best advice you’ve been given?
Two ideas came to mind for this question…
“When creating art, it’s okay to break the rules!!!!” …Great advice!
More great advice, I found extremely helpful: Keep a journal by your bedside. Every night write in your journal the “three best things” that happened to you that day! So, when wonderful things happen, they are documented. If it wasn’t such a fabulous day, you can actually go back a few pages and read about the best things that have been going on. It not only helps you to realize that good happened despite the bad, it’s a little easier to accept the not-so-terrific events, and go to sleep with the good thoughts because they are the last thing I remembered. Positive thoughts always bring good results for me.

Do you have some advice and/or wisdom to share with your fellow artists?
Joan's "assistants" - Matisse (Mattie) & Gucci (Bicons Frise pups)
Don’t ever try to be like someone else by copying someone’s artwork. Look at other artist’s art, take in their ideas as inspiration – then go make art, do what you love. Make art, have fun, …remind yourself to PLAY! You will find that it is there deep inside you, your style, your passion… your own creativity!

For more information about Joan Carver, and the galleries that display her artwork, please go here:


Please also visit Joan's blog and Etsy store:

As if this artist isn't talented enough, Joan also creates hand painted canvas clutch bags! Available in her Etsy store

My mouth is watering! Is Yours!?
One last delicious image of what's on Joan's Easel:

Skipping Stones, Oil on Wood Panel, 48 x 32

Thank you, Joan, for a FANTASTIC interview! And thank you dear reader for sharing time with us.

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