Carolyn Utigard Thomas is a contemporary artist working primary in watercolor. Her paintings are adventures of the spirit and landscapes of the mind.
Carolyn was born in Chicago, grew up in St. Paul and Indianapolis and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education degrees.
Music and meditation are key to the making of my art.I paint more easily if my favorite music is playing. It sets my energy level. For the angels, I love hearing harp and my Sedona friend, Barbie Edwards, (www.therapyharps.com) is one of my favorite sources. She is using some of my art on her CDs. I also listen while going to sleep.
I also love many other kinds of music from jazz to classical, usually instrumental. Mozart is one of my favorite composers. They all keep me in the flow.
I have practiced meditation for many years. My wish is that the feelings of deep peace, love and bliss experienced there become imbued in my art and that you will feel some of this energy when viewing it.
A peak moment in my career happened a very long time ago on a road trip from Indianapolis, where my husband and I lived then, to Chicago to see a retrospective exhibition of Henri Matisse.
I had been doing commercial art at the time and was feeling uninspired and at an emotional standstill. We had been looking at many paintings, but when we turned from a long hall into the next room the sight of the painting there struck me like a bolt if lightening. I was awestruck by one of Matisse's large, boldly patterned interior figure paintings. At that particular moment, looking at that piece, something touched me and opened my heart. I was reenergized and felt like life was worth living again. I saw that art could truly be important and inspiring.
Up until then I felt that perhaps my chosen career, while fun, was frivolous and of no particular use to the world. I thought, wow, if my art could ever affect someone that way my life would be meaningful. I learned that day that art could be important and inspiring.
Now I know that all of the arts present a beautiful balance and depth to what else is important to making a life for ourselves. At the very least, the arts provide a wonderful respite from our busy lives and may allow us to see beauty once more.
My Life Changing Moment
Her varied career has taken her from designing for Hallmark in Kansas City to working for Astroworld in Houston, designing and painting everything from posters and murals to stage sets. Carolyn then had a commercial art business, creating logos, advertising illustrations and wall graphics.
In 1978, she began painting full-time in watercolors. She has won many awards for her work, which is displayed in public and private collections throughout the world.
In most of her work, one is led into the paintings by soft colors overlaid by geometric veils. A dreamy feeling of fluctuating space is created. Whatever subject explored, from angels, human and plant forms to pure design, Carolyn attributes much of her inspiration to feelings obtained during meditation, which she has practiced for many years. Physical and spiritual worlds imaginatively merge in her art of mystery, fantasy and vision.