“Art can convey many different emotions- I want my paintings to evoke inspiration and please the senses. I hope they are something that the owner always looks at and brings a smile to start the day” – Carole K. Boyd.
WAS THERE A PIVOTAL MOMENT WHEN YOU DECIDED TO FOLLOW YOUR PATH AS AN ARTIST?
About 20 years ago, I was exploring the programs on my old computer while waiting on hold for a fellow attorney. Their offices seem notorious for forever leaving a person on hold with the comment, “Just a minute, please.” So, I found Microsoft Paint, and as I had never attempted to paint anything although involved in other forms of art, I picked up my mouse and drew a couple of lines representing mountains, sky, and foreground and clicked on some stock colors. I loved the instant gratification of creating a miniature painting in short order without knowing what I was doing.
The rest is history- I went from primitive paintings, sketches, and line drawings, making funny ecards to send to friends, to gradually realizing that this program could be used to paint in a more sophisticated fashion. I was hooked!
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK FOR US?
I have a favorite subject matter, of course, but I also like to try just about any idea that comes to mind in different techniques, styles, and color palettes. I’m a big supporter of trying to save and protect the environment and its creatures. I love animals and wildlife in their infinite beauty, and I try to capture that essence in my paintings. I also am fond of painting landscapes that are emotionally captivating to me.
Finally, I enjoy painting portraits, both of human and animal subjects. Each type of subject matter has its own challenges using the Microsoft Paint program, as there are no filters or blending tools, and diagonal lines are a challenging achievement, given the nature of a pixel! However, over the years, I have found some ways to conquer those challenges and still only paint on my computer using Microsoft Paint.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK AIM TO SAY?
My work aims to have a collector want to see it on their wall and wake up in the morning thinking, “I’m glad you’re here.” It aims to please, comfort, inspire, and be a thing of beauty. Plenty of things about today’s world are tragic, dark, and downright scary. I want this antithesis in my work, seeking a balance to the other extreme.
“Hummer” Digital Painting by Carole K. Boyd.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR WORK FITS WITHIN SOCIETY IN OUR PRESENT TIME?
As I mentioned, I believe there is a balance needed in present times when stress takes over normalcy, disease is ever present, and violence abounds. And that offset is what I offer in my art- an experience that will bring a smile, a chuckle sometimes, and admiration not only for the painting itself but its subject matter. A time when art may be enjoyed and loved for itself and for what it stands for.
WHEN LOOKING BACK, WHAT ARTWORKS COME TO MIND THAT MOST RELATE TO YOUR LIFE STORY?
I would have to say the diverse nature of my art. Throughout my life, I have had many careers and many experiences as a musician, dancer, pilot, horse trainer and rider, athlete, attorney, and caretaker for my various former and present properties. I love the land, the trees, the water, the critters who come with the ground, and all things nature has allowed me to experience.
Likewise, my art is diverse in style, subject matter, form, and colors. I do not have a constant format for painting- it is just whatever seems right for the inspiration I have at the time. It can be impressionistic, realistic, and, lately, even abstract.
Yet, the sum of my work is still recognizable as being mine. It would be stifling to only paint landscapes, for instance, or use a particular style or color palette. I thoroughly enjoy the freedom to paint whatever I please, however, I please.
In general, I like to paint what I consider the important part of the painting in a more realistic style and the rest rather than impressionistically. That way, the viewer can focus on what I believe to be most critical and can fill in the details of the rest in their minds.
“Got My Ball” Digital Painting by Carole K. Boyd.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
My biggest influences are nature and the great photographers who capture it. In addition, I love to look at incredible photographs from artists worldwide, inspiring me to embark on another journey with Microsoft Paint. Sometimes I ask if I may use their photo as a reference for a painting (almost always permitted), and sometimes a photograph gives me an idea to try.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Microsoft Paint is a very simple program allegedly designed for children. It is capable of more than simple graphics, though. Starting with a blank screen, similar to a canvas, and using my mouse like a paintbrush, I first decide on a size and try to make the screen that size in miniature, as I do not have a giant monitor. Then I save the blank screen, give it a working title, and open it with another program that will change the Dots Per Inch (DPI) to 300, allowing for a printable painting once it is done. Paint only has a 72 or 96 (if the screen is large) DPI. This is good for note cards or emails but insufficient for printing anything more extensive than 4×6″.
Occasionally I will do the background first if it seems complicated and overpaint the subject into the background. Usually, though, I am excited to begin on the subject, so that plan goes by the wayside! I understand artists sketch the painting first and then paint it portion by portion. I might do a basic outline of what I intend to paint, but more often than not, I just begin painting. Usually, I don’t do any detail on the first go-round, but I try to get the proportions and placement right first. Then, once there is a rough draft of the subject, I go back and make it more detailed, trying to blend the colors using spray and a partially opaque brush.
The nice thing about Paint is that you can select portions of the painting that you want to move or adjust in size without having to erase anything. Also, if you make a mistake or do something that you want to undo, you can simply go back, and it is undone. On the other hand, filling in the background is often the most tedious part. Finally, a magnifying glass allows you to blow up any portion of the screen; if you get it large enough, it is possible to make a diagonal line look smooth. Pixels, however, are not dots by squares, so a line can appear very jagged on the diagonal or any angle other than vertical or horizontal. In the end, once magnified, the edges of things need correcting, pixel by pixel. However, it is satisfying to see a painting take shape. The fantastic thing I have observed is that the painting takes on a life of its own, and I often wonder how I did what I did! It’s like magic when it comes together, creating something you are not sure how it happened.
WHAT VISUAL REFERENCES DO YOU DRAW UPON IN YOUR WORK?
When wanting to paint something I am not familiar with or have never actually seen in real life, I use a reference photo either taken by me or by a photographer who allows me to use the photo in this manner. When I first started, I thought it was cheating to use a photo and that anyone could copy it. One day I was at a print shop getting some cards made, and the proprietor was a sculptor. She was looking at a horse painting I had done and said it was very good-did. I took the photograph? I said no- I didn’t have a photograph, but I know what they look like since I’ve had horses all my life. She said but what if you wanted to paint a tiger? Wouldn’t you need a photograph? I advanced the cheating theory, and she laughed. She told me that was how details were achieved, and every artist uses reference photos. It was not cheating but creating a more realistic painting. After that, I took that thought to heart, and my work became more realistic. Obviously, with abstract art, no reference photos are required, and even with my landscapes, I use reference photos only sometimes. But with animals and people- and especially with commissioned works, a good picture is a must.
I like to take the photos myself as quite regularly, people who want a commissioned portrait give me photos that do not suffice. I get enough details from the photos, though, to be able to do a good painting although perhaps in a different position or scene.
ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS?
I have paintings presently in the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts for an exhibition and sale during May-June. I also have some paintings juried into an online show with The Colors of Humanity, starting May 1. With a tiny budget for participating in competitions, I still try to do so once in a while when something comes along that is relevant to my work.