Artist Spotlight: Carrie Waller

I follow a lot of art blogs online but one of my favorite blogs belongs to artist, Carrie Waller.  I discovered Carrie's art after listening to a podcast on Artists Helping Artists.  She was doing an interview with another artist I admire, Crystal Cook.  I was awestruck by her paintings.  I had never seen compositions that looked so realistic  - and the way she captures light in glass just blew me away.

Fortunately, the said 'yes' when I asked her if she'd answer a few questions for my blog.  Check out her work - I think you'll fall in love just like I did!

Daily Paintworks

How did you get your start watercolor painting?

I graduated college; got married and moved to Germany all within a few months of each other (my hubby is in the Air Force).  I quickly realized that it was going to be difficult for me to find an Interior Design job in Germany so I taught myself how to paint in watercolor.  I checked out every watercolor book I could find at the library and experimented.  I eventually started teaching classes in watercolor.  I chose watercolor because we had cats at the time (now pets and kids) and I wanted something that would be safer around them.

How do you make time for your art with such a busy home life?

It’s a constant balancing act.  I make a concerted effort to get brush to paper every day.  It doesn’t always happen but I really make it a priority.  Once I made the decision that I was going to make this a career I treated it as a job.  With my little boys at home I paint at nights, on the weekends and miss sleep often.  My oldest is now in kindergarten so he has school hours.  My youngest is in preschool, he goes to school twice a week.  I’m still working with my new schedule.

How do you choose your subject matter? 

I’ve been working a lot recently with childhood memories.  I’ve taken objects that I remember from my Grandmother’s house and have set them up to bring out their beauty.  I’ve even acquired objects from her home, her old wash tub chair, a set of blue ball jars that I can’t wait to paint, crystal doorknobs, etc.  My most recent works are for an exhibit and the themes have come out of research for that exhibit. 

You do an exceptional job using light in your paintings. Are there any techniques that you use to help create the illusion of light?

Thank you.  I spend a lot of time focusing on my composition.  Having a degree in design really helps.  I want my still life subjects to be lit dramatically.  I only use natural light so I have to rely on a sun shiny day.  I follow the light around like a crazy lady some days.  It’s been fun observing the light from the sun at different times of the day and months of the year.  Sometimes I want cooler light and other times I want more golden light, I take these things into consideration.  I will warn you that one time I was using a crystal ball in my still life and I had it all set up waiting for the perfect light.  I kept checking periodically and at one point I noticed smoke rising from the set up.  The crystal ball acted like a magnifying glass and when the sun hit it just right it set the fabric it was setting on, on fire.  So be careful!

How would you classify your "style" and how did you find it?

 I don’t know if I really define my style.  I really don’t put much emphasis on a “style”.  When I first started painting there were so many artists that I would talk to obsessed with that, that I felt it was hindering their progression.  I just decided to paint what I wanted to and see what would come out of it.  We are all evolving as people why wouldn’t our styles just evolve right along with us.

What tips, websites, books, etc. do you recommend for improving techniques?

I read every watercolor magazine I can get my hands on.  I also love to read and look at art and design blogs, there is a ton of great information out there.  As far as improving techniques I would say take a workshop, you get so much out of them.  I’ve only taken a couple but I learned a lot not only from the instructor but also from the other artists in the class.  Also teaching has helped me learn things about myself and my own style.  You really have to analyze your own techniques to teach others.

Which artists inspire you most and why?  

I have so many favorites it would be a novel to list them all.  I would say that blogging and the artists I have met blogging has been one of the greatest inspirations.  I have met some fabulous people.  It’s such a great support system.

If you could give advice to a new artist, what would it be?

Paint every day.  You don’t have to complete a painting but make yourself sit down and put brush to paper/canvas.  Get in the habit; it will only make you a better artist.
Start a blog, can’t say enough about the positive things that come from this.

Do painting challenges if you lack inspiration, Daily Paintworks has a weekly challenge and start there.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite artists.  I have done this and become friends with some of the coolest people.

Carrie will be hosting Artists Helping Artists in October and I know it's going to be awesome.  I hope you willl all tune in.  You can learn more at

Thanks again, Carrie for taking the time to answer my are truly amazing!

Labels: ,