Carolyn Jackson is an en plein air artist who revels in the style of the Impressionists. She has been painting outdoors since 1980 when she graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in Art History and realized that she loved studio art. Having tried her hand at sculpture and printmaking, she decided to stick to painting. Landscapes were her true calling.
She worked in various administrative positions both in the Federal Government and private sector while she painted in the evenings and weekends through courses and on her own for 38 years. When she retired, knowing to what she wanted to devote her time, painting became her primary activity.
"I am a true en plein air painter," said Jackson. "I enjoy working outdoors, capturing light and shadow in the late afternoon and particularly am enraptured by historic buildings of any kind."
Although she paints in oils, she sketches in watercolors. She likes meeting people on location and generally prefers to work from real life rather than photographs. Jackson visits a site before she is going to paint it, carefully planning out her composition. Then she returns to the site fully equipped to paint and renders out her chosen view.
"I mix my own colors. I learned the basics early on, and I have been applying them ever since. My favorite painters include the Impressionists Monet, Renoir, Manet, Cassatt and Caillebotte. When picking a site to paint I usually look for something dramatic. I look at lighting and contrast."
The local art scene is Jackson's haunt. She does not have a website and relies on local connections to display and promote her artwork. Her current show at Kentlands Mansion is called "Day Trippers," in reference to her single-day outings painting habit. A small acrylic rendering of Little Quarry Road in Kentlands is part of the exhibit. She has two upcoming shows, which, though not juried, are significant to the artist. They include a group show at the Women's Club of Chevy Chase and also one at the Montgomery Village Art and Photo Show.
Her recent painting jaunts include a trip to the Natural Bridge in Lexington, VA, the Chattanooga Battlefield in Georgia, the Smokey Mountains in Tenessee and a seascape in San Diego, CA. She also takes frequent trips to Maine where the outdoor painting scene is unbeatable, she says.
"I paint small because I travel with my work and I only have so much storage space at home," says Jackson.
Jackson belongs to the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in Frederick as well as Friends of the Yellow Barn and VisArts in Rockville. She is also listed on the Maryland State Artists Registry with Maryland Arts Place in Baltimore.
Several of Ms. Jackson’s works are in private collections—Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park, Emory Grove Methodist Church, Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D. C., and the Montgomery County Government.
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