The Barnstable Patriot

October 19, 2012

Where she works
Where she works

Second time in two years

Pastels lend themselves to being used to make luscious paintings full of deep layers of colors and haunting light but in the hands of certain artists they can create exquisite and expressive interpretations of moments not only experienced and imagined by the viewer as well as the artist, but felt as well.

Carole Chisholm Garvey of Osterville is one on those artists and once you have seen one of her paintings you will always be able to pick her work out of a wall full of paintings. She recently was awarded the prestigious President’s Award from the Pastel Society of America for her painting, “Sundown,” an honor that brings a monetary award but also includes being exhibited in New York City with other PSA award winners before the exhibit travels for several months. This is the second time in two years Garvey has won an award from the PSA.
Garvey has been a resident of Osterville for the last 25 years, having lived in Wayland before that. She studied design at the Mass. College of Art and Design (BFA) and worked as a commercial artist in advertising and illustration while her children were growing up. She marks the transition from commercial artist to fine artist as one of the more difficult challenges she has faced as an artist but as one looks at her work one can see that she seems to have overcome it long ago.

She has a strong sense of classical composition which she puts to good use in every piece and her use of color is nothing less than spectacular in most cases, at least to this viewer’s eyes. Her work is at once contemporary and classic, bold and subtle, expressive and intuitive. Color seems to flow like music from her fingertips onto the paper and the result is a symphony for the eyes.

"Sundown," winner of the Pastel Society of America’s 2012 President’s Award
“Sundown,” winner of the Pastel Society of America’s 2012 President’s Award

Garvey herself is unassuming and modest with a lovely twinkle in her eye and she loves sharing her knowledge. She has taught workshops at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, The Cahoon Museum of American Art, The Copley Society in Boston and the Pastel Society of Cape Cod. In addition to her affiliation with the Pastel Society of America she is also a designated Copley Artist, a Distinguished Artist at the Concord Art Association and a signature member of the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, the latter being a group she also helped found about 20 years ago.

Talking with Garvey is like talking to an old friend. She is frank, funny and thoughtful, all qualities that no doubt have helped her as a teacher, docent and volunteer at the many organizations she is associated with. She is working closely with the people working hard to keep the Cape Cod Museum of Art open and thriving. She believes this new path they have embarked on is a positive one.

“I believe this is a solid, professional new beginning for the museum,” Garvey said. “The art community on the Cape needs this museum. We all need it.”

A tour of the studio shows many works in progress and like many artists, Garvey works on several pieces at a time. Her studio is neat and orderly but don’t expect to find only sunny skies here. Garvey paints a lot from memory and observation.

“The best ones are from memory,” she said. “The longer they sit in my head the better they get. They fall out nicely when they are ready.”
She is especially fond of landscapes in bad weather, particularly in foggy and rainy days. Her work is moody and expressive but even the darkest days have a bit of light shining through and so do her paintings.

“I feel blessed to have this fun,” she says with a little smile and as one looks about at her paintings one knows that is true.

Original story published in The Barnstable Patriot.