Carolyn Jo Peterson – bio

Art Open House at NMCC, June 18, 2017

Carolyn spent her life with New Mexico’s deserts and skies and hiking the Jemez high valleys, celebrating their beauties. Sharing the rich excitement of these joys is part of her goal as an artist. She works in acrylics to move and master paint for very abstract, colorful, paintings.

She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, a member of the New Mexico Art League and Rio Grande Art Association, and has studied Chinese watercolor and splash art with Ming Franz and watercolor with Carol Carpenter. She has been a featured artist at the Blue Lily Atelier, a Nob Hill Gallery and had paintings hung in Albuquerque juried art shows.

Her acrylic style on canvas follows Po Mo, the art of splashing pigment and water on paper, and dates to China’s Tang Dynasty. Today she adds vibrant colors to this abstract genre resulting in often emotional images of endless fascination.

A former teacher, she always had professional pictures hanging in her classroom, and incorporated art into every part of language, literature, and humanity studies. She has designed, gardened, sketched and created all of her life. She has hiked and fished the Kenai Wilderness and Denali Park in Alaska, where the wild, beautiful landscapes can inspire more celebration. She says “I believe a people’s arts reflect their hopes and dreams, and that can be a window into understanding our world.”

Artist Statement – Joys of Splash

It was all an accident.
An accident that splash ever began.
An accident that it happened to me.

In the glorious years of the ancient Chinese Tang Dynasty, (618-907), arts, invention, commerce, growth, and dynamic leadership held sway. Monasteries throughout the country took in children and trained them in everything from creating fine porcelain to martial arts. One child, helping clean up a painting studio after his master had finished, accidentally spilled black ink on the beautiful painting that was drying. He tried to clean it up and only made it worse. So he hid. The next day the master came and was horrified - at first. Then he saw the creative movements the ink had brought to his painting, and called out to his apprentice. They began again, and splash, first and today also traditionally in black and white, had been found.

When I first took Ming Franz’s painting class I planned it as a new way to paint watercolor washes. Then she taught the black ink splashing. Then she added color to her class, and suddenly liquid brilliantly colored acrylics were moving on paper, canvas, and board. It was an exciting, fun revelation. It brought a joy to painting that I had never felt before. In fact, one student argued that this was not a “real painting class.” It was too much fun. People didn’t agonize over lines and shapes and try to get their colors exactly right. It was just too much fun, and painters should have a hard struggle to paint anything. We just laughed. And splashed.

So now splash painting with acrylic on canvas is my choice of art. I can choose colors, but I have to be very open as to what happens with that color as I move it on the canvas. In fact, if one plans too much the painting will take over and make something completely different . . .and often more exciting. Of course, this means that maybe one of five paintings will be successful and have a sparkle I accept. That’s ok. I’m doing something by accident that has been a surprise addition to my life as a painter.