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She grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, so the fact that Carol grew up loving wildlife so much is a mystery to some. "From an early age I loved animals, and that has stayed with me and given me direction in my career as an artist."

Although Carol drew as a child, she had little to no formal training in art until she went to college. There, a whole new world opened for her when she found out that she could possibly earn a living from something she loved. Majoring in illustration gave her a solid background in drawing, painting, composition, and rendering, which are the perfect tools for creating her wildlife images.

Carol worked for several years as a freelance illustrator, but her joy has always been in the painting, and when illustration started moving towards the computer, she made the decision to start over again in the fine art world. The transition has been a success, and Carol's paintings and reproductions are in private collections throughout the world.


Field research

"In painting any subject, I was always taught to learn about it and know it backwards and forwards before I paint. I find this especially true with wildlife painting. In order to create a believable image, I need to know how my subject looks from all angles, how it moves, what it would look like in different seasons of the year, what would be a natural habitat (or what more unusual place might one find this subject), and what behaviors are special to the subject. This means that a great part of my work starts with research."

Carol spends a great amount of time photographing her subjects (according to some family members, an annoying amount of time!). "Although I will never be considered a great photographer by any means, I generally get good enough shots to work with most of the time. The photographs I take are not the end result you see in my paintings, they are simply reference, or starting off points for my work, so the pictures dont have to be perfect, but "in focus" is always nice, and sometimes I surprise myself by getting some beautiful images.

Then, as a painter, I can create the situation that I want, and that's the joy. As to where I go for my imagery, well, anywhere I travel I make sure I take plenty of scenery shots in addition to the animals because I just never know when they will come in handy. References of rocks, grasses, wildflowers, butterflies, trees, streams ... all of these are every bit as important as that the wolf that may end up as the focus of the painting.

As for the animals, sometimes nature gives me exactly what I need (For instance, if I want to paint bison or elk, I have my trips to Yellowstone Park on which I can rely. If I want to paint shorebirds, I go to the wetlands near my home.), but if I know I want to work with a certain animal and I know a sanctuary or some other facility that has that animal, I will go to that source. This is especially helpful when working with large animals that you shouldn't approach in the wild. In a more controlled environment, I can get great reference on bears, big cats, wolves, even foxes, which can be quite elusive in the wild."

Painting Technique

Carol works in the same way the Old Masters worked. After doing research and field work, she composes her image and begins to paint. Working on masonite or Claybord, she starts with monochromatic, sepia glazes and works until the image pops from the board and has full dimension. Then she starts in with delicate glazes of color, working more and more opaque until the image is complete. This is basically the "lean to fat" method of oil painting, but she has made some adjustments in working with acrylics. "Acrylics don't blend and they dry quickly. I can't change this, so I work with it, not against it. I use the glazes to acheive volume, and lots of gel medium so that my acrylics have the appearance of an oil painting. The result is that I get huge amounts of depth and volume, and my paintings have a very life like quality."

In her work, Carol aims to capture the character and spirit of her animal subjects. She is well known for the expression she portrays in her subjects faces, especially in their eyes. "I know that when someone feels that they know what my animals are thinking about, I have been successful. I believe this is why people enjoy having my work in their homes. Every time you see the piece of art, you can feel the emotion, and that keeps the work fresh and enjoyable for all time."



Carol Heiman-Greene
Orange, CA 92865 - (714) 974-2579


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