Meet the artists: Caroline Walsh-Waring

In the run-up to the Frome Virtual Open Art Trail 2020 we talk to artist Caroline Walsh-Waring about her work, the impact of Covid-19 and her hopes for the future.

After 10 years living outside the UK, I moved to Frome nearly 12 years ago with my husband and two children, mainly because we found a house we liked and it was near my husband’s parents, I was pleasantly surprised when I found Frome was so full of other artists.

I ran the Frome Art Trail for 7 years and have run the Frome Artists Café for 10.  I trained in Textiles at Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design, due to lack of direction I worked for many years in administration via Bristol and then London.  Missing art, I took classes and courses in London and abroad and realised I wanted to create full time.

I have always been attracted to more surreal images and am a strongly influenced by artists such as Dali, Bosch, Magritte and Chagall but with my own unique style.  I am constantly inspired by natural forms, I find nature is its own surreal artist, I will see a landscape or view and always see the surreal side of it.  I want to create beautiful images, that make people dream and think, something to take them onto a different plane in life and make them feel uplifted.  This sometimes means I will touch on thoughts and feelings that people find uncomfortable but it often helps them to know that they are not alone in their thoughts.  If my work creates thoughts and discussion I am somewhere to reaching my aim.

With all physical exhibitions cancelled for the foreseeable future my main income stream has effectively been cut off.  Although local exhibitions never stimulate much income the steady sale of smaller items usually covers my overheads, such as equipment and travel.  The sale of a larger painting is a bonus.

Local art trails are also a great way to advertise your work, not everyone looks at the internet and they are a way to reach many in the older generation who have some disposable income and like to buy hand produced items.  To counter this I have spent a great deal more time on social media, placing my work on to new platforms, reading up on the right way to use these tools.  Whilst as yet I haven’t seen any sales from this I have greatly increased my contacts across the globe which can’t be a bad thing.

The Covid-19 situation in a way has been strangely freeing with regards to my creativity.  With all my events cancelled I haven’t felt the need to produce new work so fast, so I have been able to reassess what I am doing, experiment with new ideas and not care so much about whether I produce a perfect saleable image, exploring some of the more bizarre ideas I have.  Usually there is always the pressure to sell, cover costs and hope for a profit.  One huge benefit was a contact working from home because of the pandemic realising that their walls were lacking in pictures, they contacted me and bought three, which was brilliant news.

I’ve done a couple of pieces influenced by the pandemic but really I have wanted to create pieces for the future, reminding us of the good things in life and hopefully their return.

I want to continue to create, continue to improve and eventually find an audience that appreciates the training and practice I have gone through and who are willing to pay a decent price for it, if you like to gain recognition.  I think as artists we have all met the buyer that asks for a discount, which when you take into account the amount of training, time and effort that goes into a piece can be incredibly insulting.

I have an exhibition which was planned for late June/early July which we have postponed until September/October in the hopes that we can exhibit again.  My Frome Art Trail Group are hoping to hire our usual venue The Bennett Centre for a long weekend around November time and I am planning ahead for events next year.

You can follow Caroline on Instagram: @carolineww_art or visit her website.

Find out more about Frome Open Virtual Art Trail or visit their website.