The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Friday, 13 January 2012

An interview with Carrie Waller...

For the second in my series of interviews, I would like you to meet Carrie Waller (oh, and that's her son, Steven, also a budding Artist!)...

"I am a Mommy/Military Wife/Artist trying to keep her creative side intact in a world full of diapers, spit-up, and toddler conversations."

I have admired Carrie's incredible artwork since I stumbled across her blog a couple of years ago. She is a master of her chosen medium, watercolour and her blog is well worth a visit. You can see it here.

 1.       First of all, when did you first realise that you could draw?
 When I was in the 3rd grade my art teacher entered a collage I did into the Texas State Rodeo and I won 1st place, that was the first time that I had any idea that I might be good in art. I took art as often as I could after that. I guess in Jr. High and High School I realized I could draw.

My own personal favorite of Carrie's paintings

2.     Did you have any formal training?
I majored in Graphic Design at the University of Illinois for 1 yr, I did really well in the program but realized I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I switched majors and schools. I ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at Southern Illinois University.

3.     What made you settle on watercolour? Have you tried other mediums? 
I had always enjoyed watercolours in high school. I dabbled with ink washes in college. When I decided to start painting after college I wanted something that was easy to get out and not as messy as oils, I wanted as few deterrents between me and painting (if I had to change clothes and worry about ventilation I knew I wouldn’t paint as often). I also read that watercolour is the most difficult medium to master and I’m super competitive so I took it as a personal challenge.

4.     How do you manage to juggle painting with other things such as entertaining your two little boys and keeping a home? Take me through an average day in the life of Carrie Waller…
 Ha Ha Ha, as I’m answering this I’m typing with one hand because I have a squirmy 2 yr old in my lap :0) It’s not always easy, I have to take lots of breaks to do normal life activities, get snacks and drinks for my 5 yr old and 2 yr old, transform a transformer, play with Lego's, break up a brotherly fight, it can be a challenge. But I love to enter competitions, I need deadlines, so if I have my blog and competitions to hold me accountable I soldier through the daily grind:) I also try to get my boys into the action by letting them paint and color anytime they want to .

 5.     I am a very messy painter! Luckily, my Husband converted the summer house at the end of the garden in to an art studio. Where do you paint and how do you manage to keep tiny fingers away?
I paint in my dining room. I’m in the center of the house where I can watch everyone and everything. I have trained my kids to be mindful of Mommy’s art. They know not to draw or paint on my paintings. Sometimes I will let my 5 yr old (Steven) paint a little area on my paintings. He takes great pride in helping Mommy :0) I’m not sure I trust my 2 yr old (Sam) to do this yet, but sometime in the future!

6.     Do you ever have days where you simply don’t feel in the right frame of mind to paint? If so, do you give in to that feeling? Or do you make yourself paint regardless…
Depends on how strong that feeling is. Some days I know I’m just not in the mood and I do other things that day, other days I will force myself to sit down for at least an hour, if I’m still not feeling it after an hour I start fresh a different day. When I am on deadline, however, I will force myself paint.

7.     If I am not in the right frame of mind to paint but paint anyway, I am often unhappy with the end result. Is this the same for you too?
Not really, sometimes I feel like I’m not even part of the painting, it’s kind of an out of body situation. My hands seem to know what to do even if I’m in a not so creative frame of mind (Now you're just showing off, lol!) In fact I really try to zone out by watching a movie or listening to blog radio shows. (Blog radio shows? I never knew they even existed!)

8.     My Mum is very artistic and my Dad, as an ex-photographer has a keen eye for colour and composition. Where do you think your Artistic gift came from and are any other members of your family Artistic?
 My Dad is also a photographer; I think I definitely think in compositions and paintings when I’m out and about. I rely on photographic references and I am always out to capture the perfect photo.
My Mom was always doing something creative as I grew up, she entered a lot of craft fairs—she was the inspiration for the name of my blog Carrie’s Creations, while I was growing up all of her craft tags were Krafty Klassics. Every since I was a little girl I wanted to use Carrie’s Creations for my works. My Mom’s dad was also had his own business and did art work and custom paint jobs on cars and trucks.

9.     I often ask my 15 year old Son Charlie for his view on a finished piece of artwork, because he seems to have a good eye and though always tactful, he is very honest. I think that we all need someone like that! Who is your most honest critic - who do you turn to for an opinion on your art if you are feeling unsure? 

Steven, my 5 yr old. He is super honest and really has a good eye. And he gives his opinion whether it’s asked for or not :0) The longer I have painted the more secure I am and that need to gain approval or another person’s opinion has diminished some. I pretty much have a clear vision now and stick with it.

10.  My husband always says that he can’t even draw a straight line. My answer to that is always, ‘Well, there is nothing at all interesting about a straight line!’ Has Mr. Waller ever tried his hand at drawing?
 My husband has a degree in Graphic Design and Architecture. We met in college in design classes. He will tell you though; his strong suite is in the functionality of a building or object and not the design. After college he commissioned into the Air Force and he is in Aircraft Maintenance so he doesn’t get the opportunity to draw or paint anymore but he is a fabulous photographer. I have used his photos for most of my European scenes, he has a really good eye! He’s also 6’3”+ so he has a different perspective than me at 5’ 3”. It can be interesting to see how differently we view the World.

 11.   What first gave you the idea of starting your own blog? 
The movie “Julie and Julia”. (Love that film!) After I watched that movie 2yrs ago I thought what could I start a blog about and thought oh, yeah, I used to do this watercolour painting thing, I guess I could pick that back up:0) Before that it had been years since I had painted. (Wow - Really? I am genuinely surprised at this answer!)
 12.  What do you think has been the best part of having a blog?
 Definitely the people I have met. What an awesome support system. Keeps me accountable, makes me strive to get better at my craft and keeps me sane as a military wife that moves around all of the time. I have a group of friends and mentors that move with me wherever I am.

13.  And the most difficult part?
That would be when blogger ate my blog and I had to start all over from scratch, that was a bad couple of weeks. (That must have been a nightmare!)

14.  You paint still life’s more than any other subject. Why is that? Are you ever tempted to paint a landscape or portrait?
I have painted landscapes and portraits. I had an epiphany this year that the reason I enjoy still life paintings so much is that I love interiors and design (hence my degree) and I’m just not as interested in the exterior as I am the inside and the objects within. I love to set up little vignettes that I think are beautiful or make an ordinary object elegant. My favourite landscape that I’ve painted is “Venetian Canal” and I realized the other day that I like it so much because you get glimpses into the interior of this building.

15.  I tend to paint from life when the subject allows. Do you ever paint or draw from life, or do you find photo’s to be more useful?
 I paint from photos. I spend a lot of time getting the perfect photograph. I think it through for several days and end up taking around 300 photos of each still life or subject so that I capture the perfect light, composition, etc. (Thank goodness for digital camera's!)

16.  I tend to avoid painting landscapes because I find them uninspiring. Are there any particular subjects that you avoid painting? If so, why is that?
 I find portraits hard to wrap my brain around. I also think that I gravitate to works that lacking people, I’ve always been a fan of Hopper—I always feel like you’re looking in or not really part of the action. In fact if I have a photo of a landscape I will take out the people and cars because I find it to be visual clutter. It may be a glimpse into me as a person, I enjoy my friends but I also enjoy my alone time.

17.  Is there any subject that you haven’t attempted but you would like to try in the future? 

I would like to paint my boys, I’m so inspired by Carol Carter and her growth series. She painted a portrait of her son for every year of his life. I really want to do this for my boys. (I'd like to do a portrait of my Son too.)

18.  This is a difficult question. Which of your paintings is your favourite to date?
 I really feel like each painting builds off the other and the more I paint the more I start to find the style and paintings that really feel like me. “Nostalgia” really made me start to focus more on capturing a certain feeling that I wanted. I also feel with my painting “Anticipation” I really found an aesthetic I like. I want to have contemporary compositions with dramatic lighting and objects that resonate with people. More people have shared stories with me about their time canning with their Grandmothers and Mothers. I really love that it evokes good memories for them.



19.  I once read that you should never throw away a failed painting. What do you do with the paintings that you regard as unsuccessful, assuming you have any? 
 I really push through on my paintings, I rarely stop in the middle. I have maybe 2 or 3 that I didn’t finish. I paint from left to right and I completely finish a section before I move to the next section, I think this helps me eliminate that stage in the middle where things can get muddy and discouraging. 

  20.What are your three all time favourite paintings by any Artist, dead or alive?
 Wow this is a tough one: I’m constantly finding new art all the time by my fellow bloggy artists that I love. I’m trying to build up a collection.
I love a lot of Edward Hopper “Room by the Sea” is a favourite, appeals to my Interior Design roots, I love the simplicity and the light.
I came across Alvin Richard in the blog world. I would say his art has been the most influential for me so far. He puts so much research and thought behind his compositions. They tell a story and they’re so personal, can’t get enough of his work.
And while not a painting, I am obsessed with chairs and design and I love Charles and Ray Eames. Love this aesthetic it is a definite inspiration for me I want my art to be complimentary to their style. I love the vibe and I will own this chair one day :0)

Speed round!
  1. Early bird or night owl? - Definite Night Owl—Whooo Whoooo :0)
  1. Sweet or savoury? - Both
  1. Tea or coffee? -Tea, not a coffee drinker
  1. Romantic comedy or serious drama? - Romantic comedy
  1. Drive or walk? -Both
  1. Too warm or too cool? - We move all of the time, so I find it fun to live in the South for a while where you can wear shorts in the Winter and also live in the cooler climate where the kids get to enjoy the snow.. I do love my sunshine I don’t enjoy gray days.
  1. Friends for dinner or dinner at friends? Friends for dinner (but not in a Hannibal Lecter kind of way :0) (Hehehe)
  1. Autumn or Spring? Love all seasons
  1. Favourite colour? Really depends on what I’m using it for. When I’m painting I love to incorporate Turquoise somewhere in my painting. I love red (me too), I always have a red purse or red polish on my toes.
    10.  Ask the questions or answer the questions? - I think I learn both ways

Thank you so much Carrie! I really enjoyed reading your answers!

As for me... well don't go away, because between 'bear time' I am also working on something else which I hope to finish soon. So watch this space!


  1. What a post Sandra!! I love Carrie and her beautiful paintings...Sometimes, I visit her twice just to see if I missed a detail..! Love her answer for 7) friends for dinner or dinner at friends!!! Have a good day!

  2. Great interview with an extremely talented artist.. Sandra I loved your questions and it was so good to get to know about Carrie even more. And blogger ate up her blog.. Oh my what a nightmare that would have been..

  3. Great interview! These are great questions.

  4. Hi Sandra, Thanks for the interview, lady:)) I had a blast answering your questions:) And I like how you added your comments really made for a lively post! Can't wait to see your next post:)

  5. Hello Sandra,
    enriching the interview with Carrie. It is really an excellent watercolorist! These interviews are really nice.
    Much success to you, a hug.

  6. a wonderful interview sandra! carrie is one of my very favorite artists and an incredible person. thank you!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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