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Artist of the Month Carol May Britton

By Michelle Strubeck Meet Artist of the Month, Carol May Britton. Carol began painting when she was in high school. She took an art class as an elective and started painting with acrylics. Later on she learned how to paint with oils from her mom. Her mediums of choice are oil and watercolor. She prefers oil and watercolor over acrylics because acrylics dry too fast and they can be difficult to blend. She developed an interest in watercolor after receiving a watercolor calendar from her sister and from that point Carol became self taught in the use of watercolors. When Carol was in college she majored in horticulture, but she took enough art classes as electives that she received a minor in art.

     In the 1980’s Carol really developed her interest in painting and she painted such things as animals, flowers, butterflies and landscapes. She said she is inspired by many things in nature and she enjoys the challenge of putting those images on canvas and seeing the finished product. When asked about her method, Carol responded by saying she has referred to books or tutorials and she just keeps learning, because like everything else, you get better with practice and age.

     When Carol lived in Florida she spent some time teaching step by step painting classes with oil and watercolor. She said it is amazing how people can paint the same image and have it turn out so differently. She gave the example of how her students were painting Melaleuca trees and the white bark was peeling off the trees, yet some of the students painted the trees with brown bark because that is the image most people have of trees and once an image is stuck in our minds, it is hard to change. Carol went on to say she doesn’t do custom work because it is too difficult to paint what is in someone else’s mind.

     While living in Florida Carol would exhibit her work at various festivals and now that she lives in Ava some of her work is on display at the Ava Art Guild. When she relocated to Ava in 2015 she downsized and got rid of her display tent.  After moving to Ava she gave some of her larger paintings to her sister-in-law where they were sold at a church auction. Now Carol enjoys painting smaller works of art; 8×10, 11×14 or 16×20, although she recently developed a hankering to start painting on larger canvas’ again. When asked how long it takes her to create a painting she stated she isn’t like Bob Ross where she can paint an image within a matter of hours. It usually takes a few days to a month in order for her to complete a painting.

     There are multiple factors that go into good composition when painting, such as arranging the elements in a manner that will pull the viewer into the painting. The goal is to make the viewer feel comfortable, find pleasure and feel comfortable. Composition describes the visual arrangement of elements in painting or other works of art. The elements are unity, balance, movement, rhythm, focus, contrast, pattern and proportion. When done successfully, good composition draws the viewer in and moves the viewers eye across the whole painting so that everything is taken in, finally settling on the main subject of the painting.

     Art, like many things starts out as a hobby for some people and they develop a passion for it, turning it into a side business or a fulltime career. Everyone has the ability to create beautiful things, you just have to find your passion.