In 1941, Carolyn was born in Lindsay, Oklahoma, a landscape of quiet austerity. Her art interest started early by winning an agriculture art competition in the sixth grade. Not until 1960 did she leave Oklahoma and move to Dallas, Texas, after she married the, love of her life, and husband of fifty-seven years, Leslie Farris.
Carolyn was an accomplished self-taught representational artist before ever receiving any formal education. She was teaching art in community centers and her western and wildlife work were already being collected throughout the southwest. After her children were older, she began her formal college education at Oklahoma City Community College and ending it after receiving her MFA degree from the University of Oklahoma. In 1987, she started 25 year rewarding teaching career, at OCCC. She continued to study with nationally recognized artist that included the likes of Nathan Goldstein, and Dr. Betty Edwards.
During her time at the university and being immersed in Art History and exposed to contemporary feminist art by attending the, “The Dinner Party”, a conceptual art installation conceived and executed by artist, Judy Chicago, Carolyn’s art work went in many directions as she attempted to satisfy her creative spirit. Her most financially successful work, were encaustic (hot wax) paintings she sold in a Santa Fe, NM gallery. The paintings she is creating today incorporate a multitude of working techniques, including translucent and opaque layering, collage, fine and rough carving, constructing and destructing, spontaneity and chance. The accidents of play are an important part of her creative process that allows her to work more intuitively. She permits the conscious and the unconscious to fully manifest itself and says it is absolutely liberating and her work is no longer predictable. The reflective quality of the metallic paint and the interference (color shifting) pigments layered and manipulated on a heavily textured canvas create a luminescent lushness to her paintings, which she refers to as her, “Jewels of Nature” and they have an Abstract Expressionists character to them.
Carolyn has been notably recognized throughout her career, with numerous art competition awards, including the Letzeriser Award of Scholarship and Leadership, the T.J. Mays Purchase Award at Fred Jones Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Community College’s prestigious President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2008 and she was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame. She has graciously served of many community boards and committees. She is also an eagerly sought after Juror for high school, college, community, and university art competitions.
For over four decades, she has continually been exhibiting her work, individually and in group shows. Her work can be found nationally and internationally with many of her paintings in outstanding institutions, museums, corporation, and private collections including the J. L. Kraft Foods. One of her proudest accomplishment was working with Professor Mary Ann Moore and creating a Oklahoma State Centennial 600 thousand handmade mosaic tesserae mural, “Devon Centennial Mosaic”, that can be seen at the west end of Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Canal.
Artist Statement -
"As an OKLAHOMA ARTIST, wife, mother, grandmother, MFA art professor with an extensive exhibition record I am continually searching for new ways to transform my acute visual observation and compulsive determination into unique works of art. My response to the dynamic, often turbulent, weather and the unbelievably humbling beauty that exists in the most minute and often unobserved elements in nature are a major influence on me. Burning memories from my early childhood days of building hideouts in the wild, wind-swept Oklahoma landscape of tall grasses, weeds, and flowers, along with the lingering scent of the earth, mingle with my daily connection to the gardens and fields around my home. The bull nettles and thistles that pop up their beautiful heads, along with the elusive insects and creatures hidden deeply in the flora, stir me to recreate those same feelings and beauty from my memories into my work. Time and the area between the perceived and the imagined, the accidents of play, and the element of discovery are an important part of my creativity process. Working intuitively allows for the duality of the conscious and the unconscious to manifest itself fully, which keeps the work fresh and unpredictable. I incorporate a multitude of working techniques including translucent and opaque layering, fine and rough carving, constructing, and destructing a variety of acrylic paint materials on canvas and cradled hardwood panels. By working this way, I attempt to embrace nature’s overwhelming, ever-changing complexity and magnificence. Hopefully this will keep me working, working, working, until I die." - Caroline Farris