ARTIST EXPOSE: Carol Kent, The Artistic Environmental Warrior
Carol Kent, Canadian Wildlife Artist’s inspiration is clear immediately when you look at her work. This self-taught New Brunswick Artist’s love and adoration she has for nature and wildlife radiates onto her canvas.
Carol is the newest addition to The Art Hive family. Here is a little more about her from her own words.
Who are you and what do you do?
Carol Kent from Bloomfield, Kings County in New Brunswick – I am a pastel artist specializing in animal portraits both wild and domestic. I identify myself as an emerging artist as I have only been painting full time for about 15 months.
Why do you do what you do?
I feel that I am finally doing what I have wanting to do my whole life. Every day, I am so excited to see what will be created on my easel.
How do you work?
A typical day for me is heading up to my studio in the upper level of my home. I work from a reference photo, usually found on one of my free artist reference photo groups or my local photography group. Usually, I will sketch out the photo then transfer it onto my pastelmat by coloring the back with pastel and tracing it onto my pastelmat page. I work on a tabletop easel with a magnifying lamp. I use pastel pencils as my medium, they provide beautiful detail and are very easy to blend and layer for the effects I strive for.
What’s your background?
I am a self-taught artist. I have always been creative. Honestly, I don’t remember a time when I was young when I wasn’t drawing animals. When I was a teenager, I had some of my bird drawings published in the Nova Scotia Bird Society magazine. I had a teddy bear making business for quite a few years using my own pattern and recycled fur coats. I have dabbled in painting with acrylics, needle felting, and sculpting with clay, but once I found pastel pencils, I have not wanted to work with anything else.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Inspiration. I get my inspiration from nature. I look for images that invoke an emotional response. The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I was in High School, I was chosen with a few of my classmates to go on a field trip to Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. We were on a guided tour along the beach and the guide told us that particular area was a spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs. He told us that if you put your head on the sand, you could hear the baby turtles digging their way out. Of course, I dove to the ground with my ear to the sand then heard the guide say, “umm, there aren’t any now, its October.” Sigh.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
My first job was working in a greenhouse that grew millions of baby trees, I spent hours planting and transplanting seedlings. I worked with the Canadian Wildlife Service banding shorebirds and doing field research in local marshes. I was involved in marketing and directed a Waterfowl Festival for 3 years and finally just retired from being an activity director in a Senior Care Facility.
What is your artistic outlook on life?
My outlook is to make the best of each day. Sometimes, health or family issues seem to take control of things, but if I can accomplish bringing into the world a little bit of beauty for others to enjoy then that makes it all worthwhile. Certainly, I am also committed to increasing awareness of our native wildlife and the perils of climate change.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I really have been overwhelmed with the responses I have received from my work. Some have been critical, which I love because it helps me to grow and develop new skills. But I think one of the most memorable was “I love seeing miracles happen like this” when referring to one of my pieces. That blew me away!
Is the artistic life lonely?
What do you do to counteract it? I don’t find the artist life lonely. I am a bit of an introvert anyway, so I prefer being locked away in my studio for hours on end. It makes me happy.
What makes you angry?
Complete disregard for the environment.
What is your dream project?
Have the walls of a gallery filled with my work for everyone to see.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I have two artists that I look up to and who I would love to be compared to someday. Robert Bateman and Alex Colville.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Best advice ever given to me was Don’t Give Up! If something isn’t working the way you want then step away for a bit then come back with fresh eyes. You tend to see things that you missed before and will be able to rework it until you are happy with it. I have only given up on one piece of work so far. I’m pretty proud of that!
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To become rich and famous of course! But seriously, if I can become successful enough to pay off some dept and become self-sufficient with my art then I will be achieving my desired goal in life.
What wouldn’t you do without?
My family, access to nature and my pastel pencils.