CABOT — Carrie Waller creates her art at the kitchen table, referring to photos she has taken and posted on her iPad. She often paints during the day when her two young sons are at school or in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep. Her 125-pound bull mastiff, Moose, is usually nearby.
No matter the method or circumstances, Waller, 37, has received many awards during the past few years for her watercolors. She is a Purchase Award winner in the 2014 Small Works on Paper touring exhibit, sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council.
Now in its 27th year, Small Work on Paper showcases artwork not larger than 24 by 24 inches by Arkansas artists who are members of the Arkansas Artist Registry, an online art gallery coordinated by the Arts Council.
Juror Mary Kennedy, CEO of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, chose Waller’s watercolor Emerald City as one of 40 works for the show, selected from more than 300 submissions. The touring exhibit will be at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville on Monday through Feb. 25. An opening reception will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday. There is no admission charge, and the public is invited.
The exhibit will be on display at the Batesville Area Arts Council from June 3-27. Details on that opening reception will be forthcoming.
“I am very happy that I got into the show and am ecstatic that I got a Purchase Award,” Waller said. “It’s very nice. You never know when you enter something; it’s all subjective. I’m always honored to be accepted.”
Waller’s prize-winning watercolor depicts green bottles.
“They reminded me of the skyline in The Wizard of Oz, so I titled it Emerald City,” she said.
“I like to paint glass,” Waller said, adding that she takes bottles she has collected outside to her patio, arranges them, photographs them and sketches them before she paints them with watercolors.
Waller didn’t start out as a watercolorist. She has a degree in interior design from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Her husband, Brian, is a major in the Air Force and is currently assigned to the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville. It was while the couple were in Germany that Waller took up watercolor painting.
“I needed to figure out what I was going to do while we were in Germany,” she said, adding that they were there from 2001 to 2004. “I went to the library and checked out all the books on watercolor. I ended up teaching classes to kids and adults.
“I had just left school and wanted to have some sort of job. I ended up painting murals for a youth program for the Army.”
The Wallers moved to Charleston, S.C., and she did some murals there.
“Then we started having kids,” she said, “so I didn’t do anything for a while.
“We moved to Alabama four years ago with a new baby, and I wanted some kind of job again. I had watched the movie Julie & Julia, and that prompted me to start a blog. And I started to paint again.”
Waller is now a co-host and contributor to the Artists Helping Artists blog radio show. She is a signature member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society with paintings in collections around the world. She will present a two-day workshop, The Art of Painting Glass, on Friday and Saturday for the Louisiana Watercolor Society in Covington, La.
Waller will demonstrate her painting techniques at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 as part of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists’ monthly meeting at the Arkansas Arts Center, Ninth and Commerce streets in downtown Little Rock. The demonstration is free and open to the public.
She also has two pieces of her work in the 44th annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists’ Juried Exhibition, which will be on display Feb. 14 through April 6 at the Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock. Awards will be announced at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. There is no charge for the reception, and the public is invited. Call (501) 324-9351 for more information.
Waller’s goal is “to paint every day,” she said.
The Wallers have lived in Cabot for almost two years. They will be moving with their sons, Steven, 7, and Sam, 4, to Japan this summer.
“We are excited about going,” she said. “We will be stationed there for two years.
“Another one of my goals is to get my name out there in different locations around the world. I’ve done things in Germany and around the United States. I’ve had my work published in the French art magazine Pratique des Arts, and now I have the opportunity to introduce my work to Japan. I am really excited.”
For more information on Small Works on Paper, visit www.arkansasarts.org or call (501) 325-9767.