Introduction: Carolyn Hancock resides in the great State of Texas. Here is a snippet of her bio on Flootie.com. “My paintings are about people, and that magic time when emotion, mood and gesture reveal an elusive moment. A story and a little mystery lie in that moment, and I hope to translate that feeling onto paper so that the viewer participates.”
Here is Carolyn’s story:
My hometown, Mobile, Alabama, is a part of the country where we do things slowly. We say yes ma’am and do y’all need any he-elp now. “Please pass the butter” may take 10 syllables. So, keeping pace with slow down, it follows that I would start my art journey at a later age.
What prompted me to peek in a YMCA art class in 1971? Who was the instructor? Two mysteries that needed to be solved. We drew and painted from a live model, and I practiced at home from magazine photos. My work looked okay to me, but nobody said that’s pretty good, you ought to pursue it. So I didn’t.
Twenty years later Absolut Vodka selected an artist from each state to incorporate their logo bottle into a painting, George Rodrigue representing Louisiana. I loved his Cajun paintings, so I looked forward to seeing his interpretation. When USA TODAY unfolded to a full page reproduction of Rodrique’s Blue Dog/Absolut painting, I blurted out, “I can do that.” When you make a blatant statement like that to your husband, well, you pretty much have to do it. A couple of weeks later my husband praised my awful version of Blue Dog, framed it and hung it in his office. His actions said, “That’s pretty good, you ought to pursue it.” But I didn’t.
A year later we left for Los Angeles, anticipating a year there before moving out of the country. “What am I going to do with my time when we get to the Middle East? I can’t work there. Coffee mornings and meetings aren’t for me—how can I plan for my time?” Thinking of that one art class so long ago, I decided to compact as much art instruction as possible into that one year. My husband and my teachers said my work was pretty good. Pursue it? This time I did.
Los Angeles was followed by two years in Japan, with no English speaking art teachers or classes available. Hard to pursue it! The books of Daniel Greene, Albert Handell, Alan Flattman, and Doug Dawson became my teachers, along with Greene’s videos. The easel held my attention for many hours while my friends took interesting trips into Tokyo. Painting problem? Oh, which book did I see that in?
My first work was probably dreadful, but my Japanese and American friends were free with their praise and encouragement. My husband was always there with just the right, gentle critique. (Except for the one, “Honey, what have you done to her?” when he saw a first layer of color on an otherwise good drawing!) Even though there were no other artists to compare my work to, I was hearing, “That’s pretty good, you ought to pursue it.”
Now, years later, when someone says, “I like your work, it’s really good,” the voices of my husband and friends are what I really hear. They spoke the words that every beginning artist NEEDS to hear.