By Chris Chagaris
Carol Boucher has been an artist since childhood. She told us: “I was fortunate to have had very good elementary, junior high and high school teachers in White Plains, New York, who encouraged me in my goal to be a professional fine artist. As a teenager, I learned how to photograph my art for jurying into shows. I developed my own film and printed photos, using the medium of photography as an art form for about five years. That taught me how to quickly compose an image. Such decision making helped me later on with composing paintings.”
When digital photography replaced film, she learned how to process digital images, which were needed for applications and promotion. She often prints out photos and refers to them as she creates her landscape paintings.
We asked Carol about her favorite medium to create paintings: acrylic, oil, other, or are all favorites.
“I have been using oil pastels since childhood, when I started with a set of 18 student grade Sakura Cray Pas. Now, I use Holbein Professional Artists Oil Pastels. I love oil pastels because they are beautiful and also convenient. There are about 200 colors, they are easy to set up and easy to clean up. Oil pastel is technically a drawing medium, but I call my work "painting" because I blend colors into masses rather than scribing lines as with pencils. My oil pastel paintings never dry, so they must be framed behind glass. I frame them with museum glass that screens out ultraviolet light and is anti-reflective. This allows the viewer to see the artwork with as little distortion/reflection as possible.”
“I love acrylics and oils because I can work faster to create large paintings than I could with oil pastel. When I paint with acrylics and oils, I often use rags or tools rather than brushes. Paint media allow the artist to create anything from a wash to thick impasto texture, which is different from just working with color, image and shape as I do with oil pastel.”
While I was in my early 20s, I learned the art of custom picture framing so I could properly frame my own work. It was so much fun, I kept my job at a gallery and picture framing shop while I began showing my artwork at local events. Gradually, I began showing in juried shows and also at outdoor art festivals. I remember attending the White Plains Outdoor Art Festival as a child, and as an adult, I exhibited in that show years later. Now, I travel to Minneapolis, MN; Kansas City, MO; Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, etc.
You mentioned in your bio on your site that you prefer showing at arts festivals rather than galleries in order to connect with people who appreciate your art, and give them background on the art itself. Does this showing at festivals still resonate with you after many years of creating art?
“At the shows, I enjoy meeting the people who respond to my artwork and who choose to purchase it. I am represented by Devon House Stonington in Stonington, CT, and in Vermont by Burlington City Arts. It's good to have irons in the fire, but I don't like to have too many galleries because I want to be sure I can give them my best work. I also need to have my best work at the shows, so it's a balancing act.”
“Doing outdoor art shows is physically challenging, so it's not for everyone. I have had minor injuries, and artists have to be adaptable. Unpredictable situations include tornadoes, van breakdowns and bad hotel rooms. But I get to see parts of our country I would never get to see otherwise. As a landscape painter, I'm always looking at the terrain and since I am on the road from dawn through the wee hours of the morning, I get to see lots of amazing skies that show up in my work.”
“My first time showing at the Bruce Museum was in 1993! It was my very first "real" juried art festival. My husband helps me at shows. We traveled to our first show in a station wagon and used homemade displays and a rented tent. We now drive an extended commercial van and I own a professional tent and weather resistant display walls. The Bruce Museum show is our favorite because it is well run, well juried, and the directors bring in a sophisticated crowd of art lovers who appreciate what we all do. Sue Brown Gordon and Anne von Stuelpnagel do such a great job year after year. I always feel lucky to jury into this show. “