Announcement I am painting and creating new pieces all the time and will be adding them often. I also sell many of my originals and framed print versions. To see more of my work online or to inquire about a original painting please visit www.chriscarrwatercolors.com.
I am painting and creating new pieces all the time and will be adding them often. I also sell many of my originals and framed print versions. To see more of my work online or to inquire about a original painting please visit www.chriscarrwatercolors.com.
Sarah Huber on Dec 10, 2016
It's beautifully done. The perfect gift for my farm boy. Very well packaged and fast shipping. Thank you so much!
PRESERVATION IN PAINT
IT TURNS OUT YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN. WHEN THE ECONOMY TOOK A NOSEDIVE, CHRIS CARR LOST HIS JOB AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. Like so many Americans, unemployment meant Carr had to consider all his options. He eventually decided to return home to Frederick.
Yet initially, the employment picture in the Frederick area looked as dim as it did in South Carolina. As the days turned into weeks of fruitless and discouraging searches for employment, Carr’s wife made a life-altering suggestion. “Why don’t you paint?” Shawn Lees-Carr asked, hoping it would counter her husband’s ever-increasing crankiness and redirect his energies and frustrations creatively.
Although he had learned watercolor techniques as a teenager at Thomas Johnson High School under the tutelage of renowned Frederick watercolorist, the late Barry Richardson, Carr had not so much as picked up a paintbrush in 20 years. “I didn’t even want to start; I didn’t have the confidence at first,” he says, “but by doing more and seeing my art develop, I gained more confidence.” And of course, his wife supported and encouraged him along the way.
Eventually, Carr landed a full-time consultant job for a local advertising agency. But he takes advantage of his flexible work schedule to spend Tuesdays in his Myersville studio, where he continues to refine his watercolor skills and his signature style, which can best be described
as photorealism. One day, he hopes to be able to pursue art full-time. In the meantime, he works on one painting at a time, in two- to three-hour stretches, completing each in about a month, capturing the essence of Frederick’s past as it appears in the present. He scours the county with his camera, finding inspiration in historic structures, old vehicles and farm equipment, dilapidated buildings and sleepy streets that seem almost frozen in time.
His series, “Weather Preserved,” which features antique, rust-worn vehicles, has been compared to photographer Marc Weinberg’s weathered truck images. Carr acknowledges shared similarities in style, but while Weinberg’s photos feature close-ups of details, Carr’s paintings pull the viewer back to see the vehicle in the context of a full setting, telling its story in a single scene. “I’m trying to capture the whole image: the house, the tractor and the land,” he says. Notwithstanding, Carr says he’s getting away from old vehicles as the focal point of his work and doing more landmarks. As he makes other transitions in his style, his original themes might remain, but only as a small part of the larger image. What won’t change, however, is the intentional nostalgic feel of his paintings that captures older things in the region, as do the works of his mentor Richardson and Richardson’s brother, Harry. “I like older vehicles and buildings,” Carr says, “but it’s getting harder to find subjects.” New development or disrepair and dilapidation have caused many to disappear.
Carr admits that other artists, including the Richardson brothers, have already featured some of the same subjects he has tackled in their work. But that doesn’t deter him from addressing the same subject. As he says, “I’m trying to give it my own take, to make it my own.” He does that by emphasizing the details with crispness and precision. In one work, he painted the individual stones of a nearly two-century-old chapel, rather than an overall impression of the stonework. Each painting begins with a sketch based on photographs from his subject-finding journeys. “That’s especially important for works that are perspective-heavy,” he says. As a detail-oriented person, he says he’s trying to further develop his technique to perfection, which to him means that maybe one day he will look at his paintings without finding anything to criticize. Of course, he could have gone into photography instead, but Carr strives for photo-real quality in his work because he likes the challenge. “It really feels good to see the end result,” he says. He realizes that his return to painting might have affected his other work. “It makes me want to push the envelope in graphic design more,” he says, adding that it has expanded his creativity. Carr is also considering new artistic challenges. He recalls seeing an episode of 60 Minutes which mentioned that post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh completed a painting a day. “But that’s not easy to do with detail work,” he says. “You need a looser style for that.
But for now, he’s focusing on refining and marketing his work and taking command of his entire art career. Carr says the process has been an eye-opener, as he’s learned a lot by trial and error, from buying the wrong supplies to doing his own framing and promotion.
Story by Naomi Pearson
Around the web
Focusing on images of days gone by, including historic buildings and structures, town scenes, churches, old cars, trucks and tractors, Chris’s realistic depictions draw attention at art festivals and craft shows all over the region.
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards