Part 1 of an interview with the amazing artist Carolyn Palmer, if you’ve never seen her work then there will be news soon of an exhibition of her work. I will let you know as soon as I know the dates.
First of all, I’d like you all to get to know her a little better, this interview will be in two parts with a chance for you to see some of her work too.
Carolyn Palmer – Here’s a bit about ‘Ceebee’ (C. B. Palmer) from an interview given
for the Surrey Advertiser, for the 2017 Spring Exhibition.
How would you describe your style and your approach to your art? Describe your
painting style, or styles and most frequent subjects. What draws you to these
My work, (and most probably myself), are probably best described as slightly quirky! I have
a broad humorous streak, and this often finds its’ way into my work in paintings such as
‘Festival Daze’, featuring slightly dazed, and somewhat the worse for wear festival goers,
‘Jasper’s Dreaming’, featuring a cat dreaming of a mouse, who’s dreaming of a piece of
cheese, and ‘Mark, Charlie’s in the tree again!’, featuring one of our cats, who annually
climbs the Christmas tree and sits in the middle of it! But I do have a serious side, and this
too features in my work with some of the more mystical pieces, and also with the occasional piece which is in some sense a comment on aspects of society, or states of feeling
I have always thought of my artwork as somewhat ‘design’ orientated, being more of an
illustrative and graphic type artist, than anything else. I love pattern and design, which has
become something of a ‘trademark’ for me now, as much of my work features heavily
patterned or stylised borders, and I am obsessed with detail! People often ask me if I spend
hours and hours working on some of the intricate detail in my work, and the answer is quite simply, yes! My subjects vary quite a bit, although I would say that apart from purely design based pieces, my work is largely figurative, and all kinds of things call to me. I often paint animals or animal based pieces, but also period fashion pieces, mystical subjects, pop culture, pieces inspired by films, (such as my ‘Fiddler’ and ‘Love Story’ series), and pretty much anything that inspires me. Ideas pop into my head all the time, and many a night’s sleep has been lost with ideas or visions buzzing around in my head, and planning different pieces!
What stimulus encouraged you to take up painting?
I always loved to draw and paint as a child and teenager, and my primary headmistress had wanted to send me to a specialist art school, but as I grew older, I eventually followed an academic path.
In the early nineties, I became severely ill with M.E. (Now known as Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome). During the first year or two of my illness, I was so poorly, drained and withdrawn, that I quite literally lost the ability to communicate, and eventually lost the art of normal conversation altogether. The only thing I seemed to have any desire or energy to do, was to draw and create designs. When I was younger I used to often paint fairies and mystical or mythological subjects, and when I first began painting during my illness, I was drawn to designing spiritually inclined pieces, such as Ankhs, Celtic Crosses, Yoga and Chakra Symbols, Persian and Hindu inspired designs and more fairies! But as I went along, I found that I rediscovered my love and passion for art in general, and began to broaden my field more and more. By the mid nineties, I had regained my social skills, had changed careers, (I was now working in the library service), and never looked back as a painter/designer. To this day, I truly believe that going back to painting again was a prompt from the soul, and a life saver.