| There is
a notation in Carol Thompson's high school yearbook that she enjoys sharing:
"Carol is an artist to her fingertips."
The Olympia oil painter has always had a love
for drawing and painting. That passion for art has served the Olympia
artist well, and since 1989 she has made her living at it. The scenes
that draw people to Thompson's work are her dramatic seascapes.
"In 1972 I painted my first seascape and it
became a life-long subject."
Thompson honed her skill by taking classes
from a variety of artists. "For four years I took lessons, then one
day it was easy; one day it just clicked. When I outgrew my
teachers, I went to the ocean -- the teacher itself."
However she didn't go to paint -- she went
to study the master. The wind and blowing sand weren't conducive
to a relaxed painting session, so Thompson spent the hours watching the
movement of the waves through binoculars. She studied why waves break
the way they do and she noted foam patterns. Back in her studio,
she would translate what she had leaned into brush strokes that produced
seascapes that glisten as if moist with sea water.
"I don't know why I can make the waves look
wet", Thompson said. "It's a gift that God gave me; that's
all I can say".
Thompson augments that gift by making frequent
trips to the ocean and by producing an abundance of paintings. She's
also willing to share her knowledge. Recently she demonstrated on
a work in progress at the monthly meeting of the Olympia Art League.
As she presented a short autobiography the large painting sat facing the
wall. When she swung the painting around, there was a unamimous gasp
from the audience. The waves crashing against rocks along the shore
reflected a stormy sky that was brilliant with the orange and yellow of
When the murmurs of other artists in the room
subsided, Thompson explained that
|she was going to show why you can't
be "married to a painting". Although she liked the sky, it needed
something more. With confident strokes of a large brush the artist
enlarged the cloud mass, breaking up the repeated pattern of sky.
The change made the crashing waves appear more prominent, the sunset more
"I try to get so much drama into the painting
that the light just smacks you", said Thompson as she clapped her hands
together for emphasis.
When someone in the audience asked how long
it takes her to complete a large painting, she grinned and said, "Twenty-five
years and two weeks".
Thompson paints on smooth, portrait-quality
canvas that her husband and manager, Ed, stretches. She prefers a
gallery wrap, which enables her to continue the painting on the sides of
"I started doing that before the high-end
galleries began doing it. It's a very acceptable way of displaying,
plus it keeps the cost down and keeps frames from being beat up".
The price of her gallery wrap paintings vary
from $5,000 for a 10-inch by 46-inch painting to $70,000 for ones that
are 8-foot by 6-foot. The price of the numbered prints depends on
the size and the gallery.
However, galleries aren't the only place Thompson
sells her paintings. The Internet has proven to be a fertile selling
arena for her. Her original paintings and numbered prints can be
seen on www.carolthompson.com, plus more than 100 prints are kept at bid
on the e-bay auction site.
The prolific painter doesn't stop with painting
on canvas. Drive by her home and you'll see a seascape that covers
the entire garage door. She also has rendered massive murals on exterior
walls, including the Fox Theatre and mural alley in Centralia. She
has a simple explanation for the hundreds of paintings she has done.
"I love to paint; I just love it.
I live to paint!"
Carol Thompson can be reached at email@example.com.
Hints from a pro
Carol Thompson used to pay a company to print
color copies of her paintings. Now she prints her own, thus saving
time, money and the occasional color errors.
"It is so satisfying because you have total
control of your own artwork. Sometimes I had to compromise on color
with the printer and I had to print 10,000 at a time. Now I can print
one or 10."
Thompson uses the following:
An HP 1120C printer.
Two scanners: Microtek and Scanmaker.
PC with a 20-inch monitor.
Sony digital camera.
Wacom Intous tablet with a stylus, so she doesn't have to use a mouse.
Adobe Photoshop software for color correction.
Showcase software for storing and managing her nearly 50,000 reference
Paper: 80# Curtis Brightwater bright white cover stock.
Here are a few things that Thompson shared
at a recent demonstration:
She paints with pure pigments with an occasional bit of odorless mineral
spirits. She uses no turpentine.
She never becomes so dedicated to a painting that she won't change it.
Once a painting is totally dry, she glazes it with paint thinned with mineral
She consistently uses the same brand of professional grade paint.
He palette normally consists of thalo blue, burnt sienna, burnt umber,
alizarin crimson, raw sienna, cadmium white and Grumbacher red.
Her painting palette is a piece of glass on top of a piece of white foam
core. Tape around the edges holds the two surfaces together.