- Tell us a bit about your background – what did you do before becoming an artist?
Ginny: Art was always what I wanted to do from the time I was 12. I started with pencil drawings but was terrified of color for years. My father wanted me to be political cartoonist but I was definitely not temperamentally suited for that career. I moved from the pencil drawings to watercolors, which I saw as a gentle medium and from which I could comfortably experiment with more color. Asian style painting, with its subtle colors and techniques, inspired me and led me to then transition to a more southwest American palate with somewhat muted colors. That finally got me comfortable with the whole range of colors and then I couldn’t get enough of saturated colors. After watercolors I moved to pastels and worked in that medium for many years. I started drawing again with pencils in 2006, after having taken a long break from my art to raise my children, and then I moved again to watercolors and then oils. Now I paint in both watercolors and oils and am definitely no longer afraid of color.
- How did you come to split your time between Miami and your property outside Boulder, Colorado?
Ginny: I always had family in Miami and I went to college at Denver University. While I was there I bought an old car and drove around the area west of Denver exploring the countryside. I fell in love with Colorado and decided that I wanted to live there when I “grew up”. I’d also always had companion animals and knew animals would always be a big part of my life so I wanted to live somewhere I would be able to spend a good chunk of time and, if I was going to split time between two places, they had to be close enough to drive between with the animals. So, when I was 25 years old I bought 40 acres – no mule – outside Boulder and then another 40 several years later. Now my husband and I have 102 wild acres in a canyon and just love it!
- What is your background in art?
Ginny: Art is my life-long passion and vocation. I started as a child, went to DU for its Bachelor of Fine Arts program and then life took me in a different direction before I was able to get back to my art on a full-time basis. I ended up leaving DU before I graduated and spent time painting for year in Denver. Then I married a Colombian man, moved to Cali, Colombia and spent time there painting. We lived there for 4 years but then had to transition out due to security concerns. We moved back to Miami from Colombia and I painted in Miami and even built a beautiful art studio in back of our house. I was in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival for several years and showed my pastels, both abstracts and American Indian paintings, for which I was relatively well-known. Then I had kids and got very involved volunteering at their schools. I also started buying, selling and training horses. I did this for 25 years and just quit the horse business 4 years ago. I’ve had 60 horses but I have only 1 left. So, I didn’t paint much from 1990 – 2006 and I missed it like crazy. The problem was, however, that with the kids, volunteering and the horses I never had a good chunk of time to set aside to draw and paint. Now I’m back and couldn’t be happier about that.
- What inspires you?
Ginny: I always drool over the juxtaposition of shapes and colors and that triggers a strong desire to try to represent that as art. The natural world, faces, visual stimulation from the world around me all send me running for my pencils and paints.
- Talk about your relationship to nature.
Ginny: Simply put, I must be in it or my spirit and soul will die. I have a visceral need to be close to nature, be it with animals or tramping around in the forest or out on the mountain. As much as I love people, I am not an urban person. I love my Coconut Grove green and my Boulder forests and mountains.
- What do you get from your relationship with your animals?
Ginny: There have been a lot of animals in my life and I can’t imagine living life without them. I’ve had 60 horse, 13 dogs, 16 cats, 3 snakes, 2 birds, 6 hamsters and multiple Koi. I need the pure animal energy around me for inspiration and to feel grounded and happy.
- Why paint dogs?
Ginny: I just started painting dogs a year ago. Even though I’ve had dogs my whole life, I never thought I’d do dog portraits because I didn’t see the point. However, once I did my first one, I realized that dog faces absolutely flipped my switch and I started to see a huge variety of expressiveness in the faces. Now they all call to me so I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Dogs’ faces light up a new room in my brain. I’ve also starting painting cats and have done 3 of them so far but am not yet getting the same stimulation from the cats as I do from the dogs.
- Why paint birds?
Ginny: I’ve always been fascinated with birds and have been painting them since I was 14 years old. Their fragility, colors and, in my mind, ties to Asian art appeal to me and make me want to represent them on my canvas.
- Do you have a philosophy of life?
Ginny: When I was between the ages of 10 and 23 I lost 11 people in my life and I grew up believing that life is incredibly fragile and fleeting. This ingrained in me the belief that we have to grab each day and be happy and if you’re not happy, fake it until you are.
- What advice would you give someone who wants to get started as an artist?
Ginny: That depends on whether want to make money from your art. If you can afford to do your art and not worry about selling it, do your art whenever and however you can. Make it part of your life. The bottom line is to just do it and if you can also make money from it, great, but that can’t be the impetus.
- What would you want the Onpets community to take away from this interview?
Ginny: Go home and hug your animals. Share your talents and gifts and focus on educating others about the beauty and value of nature and our companion animals.
To see Ginny’s artwork, please visit www.ginnycarr.com. Thank you, Ginny!
On Wednesday, May 11th, we’ll be launching our SECOND GIVEAWAY in a series of Onpets Giveaways. The prizes will include sets of beautiful, hand-painted dog cards done by Ginny herself! Be sure to check back this Wednesday so that you can enter to win!
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