Deriving inspiration from the nature and beauty of the Cayman Islands, Carolyn Whitney’s colourful and vibrant oil canvases can be found at Camana Bay’s Farmers & Artisans Market every Wednesday and at Sandon Feat Gallery on North Church Street.
CBT: How do you keep your creative juices flowing at your North Side home and studio?
CW: I want my work to look like it’s made spontaneously, so I try to avoid making the painting process a chore. The way I do that is to paint just every other day. On my days off, I stay out of the studio and either research ideas for the next project, spend time in the gallery or just take a walk on the beach.
CBT: How long does it take to complete a typical painting?
CW: Regardless of the size of an oil painting, it normally takes a month of fairly solid painting from start to finish.
CBT: Why is oil your preferred medium?
CW: It’s maybe the tradition of it that I love. Oil paintings last a long time, providing the method of application is right. I also find its colours are truer than acrylic. My artwork is contemporary. When painting in oil I now usually apply the paint with a brush and use less of the palette knife than I used to in the application. I’m also primarily concerned with colour and composition, whereas previously I think my paintings were more subject-oriented.
CBT: Since you are a gallery owner and an artist, how do you prevent the “business side” from defining your “artistic side,” and vice versa?
CW: That used to worry me a lot. I thought too much about what customers were looking for and that just didn’t work for me — it tended to stop me from painting. Now I paint what I’m inspired to paint. I do try to challenge myself though by accepting commissions, painting on unusual substrates, painting compositions that are new to me or testing new materials or applications. I also source interesting handicrafts for the gallery. I love doing that — it often means travelling — and I think that helps inspire my painting.
CBT: Do you ever get “artist’s block” similar to “writer’s block”?
CW: Yes. I used to suffer from artist’s block, but now I seem to suffer from having too many things to paint!