As a small girl Caroline was aware of her mother’s creativity. Her parents had a small jewelry store with a bridal gift area. It seemed that her mother always paid attention to detail where it was using a creative flare to set the dinning room table, or the extra love she put into creating meal, or how she tended to the garden. Caroline’s mom always put a little extra into everything she did. As a child she recalls watching her mom doodle and create sketches on a tablet of paper. Her mother would downplay it as just something to pass the time. It was not until after her mother passed that Caroline learned her mother had won an art contest in the 8th grade but the family couldn’t afford to send her on to the next level of competition.
Having grown up in Kennett Missouri Caroline remembers dreaming of becoming an abstract oil painter in the 9th grade. She let self-doubt and lack of knowing what it would take to become an oil painter sidetrack her. Caroline put her energy and focus into the health field. Over the years she has served as a director of hospital and university foundations. She also spent time at the Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City which included a Burn, Ear, Cancer, Heart and Neonatal Centers.
As she moved on with life, she found herself in Boulder Colorado for twenty-three years and this is where her personal journey into the world of art began. In 1999 a friend, Kathryn Abernathy suggested they bid on art classes that were being auctioned off at a fund raiser. They won the bid which consisted of four weeks of watercolor classes. By the time Caroline walked out of the very first class she decided she would never live without art again. It took her from 1959 to 1999 to get on the path she was meant to be on. Within two weeks of that first-class Caroline had a studio set up in her home and she started creating art seven days a week. Professionally she has been creating and selling her art since 2002. Her friend Kathryn now lives in Ashville, North Carolina where she also makes her life as a professional artist.
When asked about what she enjoys the most about creating art, Caroline responded, “What I love most about creating my art is how it satisfies my inner being more than any other thing I do.” Other things that Caroline enjoys doing are working around her home, creating a nice living space, cooking, entertaining, and gardening…. but it is painting that speaks to her spirit and nourishes her soul. She stated that, “I do not finish a painting until I’ve reached that pinnacle. I’ve wiped a canvas clean many times and started over.” Caroline has been known to take a piece from her wall that she has had hanging for years and make changes that she feels are needed.
After spending twenty-three years in Colorado, Caroline and her husband George moved to Franklin Tennessee to be closer to family, and more recently they settled back in Missouri where they now live in Cape Girardeau. Caroline has once again set up a home studio where she paints, teaches classes and participates in the First Friday Art Walks/Studio Tours. Her gallery is located at 59 North Lake Drive and is open 4:00-7:00 on the First Fridays May-July and September-November. Other hours are available by appointment. During the First Friday Art Walks Caroline invites a couple area artists to set up at her studio, providing space so several artists can be seen during one stop. Since Caroline is an avid cook, you can be guaranteed that the food served for First Friday’s will be culinary delight to be enjoyed as you feast your eyes on amazing art.
Just how did Caroline become involved with the Best of Missouri Hands? She was introduced to our organization through a fellow artist, Marti Hartle, who recently moved her glass mosaic studio to Jackson, MO. Marti encouraged Caroline to join the group to make connections with fellow Missouri artists. Caroline did exactly so and made many connections this spring while participating in one of our Spring Series workshops which was held at the Art Council of Southeast Missouri’s gallery where Caroline is now a resident artist. She is also a member of the Greater St. Louis Art Association, the Visual Arts Co-op Gallery and the Sainte Genevieve Artists Guild. She has been pleasantly surprised by the art scene and opportunities available to artists in the Cape area. As part of the Arts Council's annual public series, Caroline will present a workshop for the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri in February, entitled “Paint Your Heart Out.”
Having started in watercolor, Caroline was seeking something more intense, so she switched to acrylics. One day two gallery owners visited her studio in search of a few pieces. They were talking about her work and asked if she would mind a suggestion, the suggestion was that she should try working in oil. That was a monumental time and Caroline has never looked back. She loves to work with strong colors and unusual combinations. Playing with texture is very apparent in her work and she loves to paint big. Currently she has two 40x68 canvas on her easels. Typically, she creates pieces that are 24x24, 30x30, or 36x36, but sometimes a larger piece is just necessary. Some of her works are created as diptychs or triptychs to add character. Her husband George feels that abstract artists are often underestimated for their creativity. Not having a picture or plan to work from, gives Caroline the freedom to just let the piece develop as she goes along. Often, she doesn’t even know what colors she is going to use but has a passion for hot pink, neon orange, lime green and is finding an interest in black and white which is driving her happy crazy. Her newest works you will also find a combination of warm greys used with lots of color, it’s a new twist that Carolina is enjoying exploring.
When asked what advice she might share with someone just starting out in the arts, Caroline reflected on a recent event where she visited with a young man who wanted so badly to paint. Her advice is to make time to create, even it it’s only 15 minutes a day. You must commit or it’s not going to happen. When Caroline first started painting, she made a point to paint seven days a week. She also recommends that you paint for yourself, never for anyone else. Don’t let the negative feedback or negative thoughts hold you back, push through till you get to the other side.
In addition to being a very successful artists, Caroline is also a published author of “Caroline’s No Nightshade Kitchen – Arthritis Diet”. It’s available on Amazon and documents her journey to find a cure from severe arthritis that was crippling her career as an artist. You can follow Caroline on Facebook as Caroline Thompson Studio and Gallery, or on Instagram as Caroline_Thompson_Studio
For more information about Caroline and her beautiful oil paintings, please visit her website at www.CarolineThompsonStudio.com