Artist Interview: Pamela Carroll

posted on January 14, 2017 by

Thank you to Pamela Carroll for her wonderful interview! Pamela is a phenomenally talented and award-winning realist painter, who has graciously lead several workshops at YAC and is a regular participant at LiveART. We're so lucky to have her, and are excited for her to return and lead another painting workshop this year! Find more of Pamela's gorgeous work online at or in person at the Carmel Art Association or the Winfield Gallery in Carmel.

Tell us about the subject matter/content of your work.
I am a realist painter who paints still life compositions. Mainly my subject matter varies from classical compositions with fruit and florals to compositions using antique toys.

Tell us about how you work/your process.
I start with setting up my compositions about two feet away from my easel so I can see and study what I'm painting and get as close to the objects as possible. It usually takes me a hour to maybe a whole day to be satisfied with my composition before I begin painting. I then draw my composition out on my white gessoed panel and paint in the background and foreground. I usually wait till overnight to start in on the objects when the background and foreground are dry. I use a glazing technique where I continue to add color and highlights until I've reached the quality of realism I desire.

What medium(s) do you work with?
I only paint in oils and use panels that are gessoed very smooth. The smoothness of the panels help blend the colors with fan brushes that I use especially for the backgrounds and foregrounds.
About how many hours/day/week do you work?
I work almost everyday so I don't forget my mistakes! I work about 4 hours a day. If I work too long I have a tendency to overwork my paintings.

How do you navigate the art world?
I am constantly looking at art books, art magazines and visiting museums. I am very lucky to be in two wonderful galleries right in Carmel. One being one of the oldest art associations in the country, The Carmel Art Association and the other is The Winfield Gallery which in my view one of the best on the West Coast. These galleries are both on Dolores Street downtown Carmel.

What is your definition of success?
My definition of success.....well that one is a hard question for me because my work is such a process and to quote Thomas Buechner “Art is a moving target” I'm never quite sure if I've gotten it right. I continue to paint and be challenged by the process and hope to grow on this journey of creating art.

What inspires you? What do you read, listen to, look at, watch, eat, smell…?
I read biographies and autobiographies mostly. I am so very interested in people and feel such a connection to people and their struggles and adversity in navigating this journey of ours. I love nature and taking walks to enjoy the beauty that is at our doorsteps right here on the Monterey Peninsula. I watch PBS mostly. I love Masterpiece Theater, Nova, Nature and so many other interesting shows they have to offer. I eat pretty healthy eating lots of fruits and vegetable plus chicken and fish. I do indulge in dark chocolate way too much though being my weakness. I love smelling the sea which gives me such joy and a feeling of freedom.

What else would you do if you weren’t an artist (or what do you do when you aren’t making art)?
When I'm not painting I'm usually knitting a sweater or making some kind of craft. I love working with my hands in a variety of ways.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on a small painting for the Carmel Art Association February show titled “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” It's a toy windup seal sitting on some old letters.

Best advice you ever got?
Work hard. That 10,000 hours is true unless you are a genius.

Any feed back on the value of YAC?
YAC is amazing! The encouragement for young artists to work in a loving and supportive environment is key to the creative process. We all need to feel valued and appreciated in our artistic expressions and YAC is just the haven that gives our young people that venue.
Thank you Meg and Marcia for your amazing gift of YAC and it's contribution to our artist young community.

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