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Meet the (Founding) Member: Ingrid Carson

Get to know another fellow CCAL member. We are pleased to bring you a closer look at another of our members. We are proud to say that Ingrid is one of the founding members of the Crooked Creek Art League and is still an active part of the league. We had the chance recently to learn a bit more about Ingrid and just knew that we had to share it with you too!

Photo of artist: Ingrid Carson

Q: Where are you from and how does that affect your work? I was born in Germany after World War II. My family immigrated to the US when I was 5. We came through the port of New Orleans, lived in Arkansas for a year, and then moved to Massachusetts where I lived until my marriage to Marty. My early childhood experiences were quite different from most of my classmates’. My family life was also quite different – we spoke German at home and English in public. I remember many first time American experiences vividly; my first taste of bubble gum, my first ride on a bus, and my first compound English word - Watermelon. My parents were both very creative people. My father was a blacksmith and stone mason by trade, and my mother was an accomplished seamstress. She could sew, crochet, or knit most things by making her own patterns. My older brother could draw images of people and automobiles from memory. I was also encouraged to entertain myself while my parents worked. The first day of first grade I was handed my first box of crayons. My life as an artist began then.

Q: Who are your biggest artistic influences? I have always been drawn to the images, colors, and brush strokes of the Impressionist artists of the late 19th century. Ilona Royce Smithkin was a huge influence in teaching me how to emulate Monet and Renoir. For 10 years Ilona came to Chapin and stayed with me twice a year while she taught workshops. She was probably the biggest influence in the way I paint and teach. I have also enjoyed taking numerous workshops in abstract water media. Collage with Carrie Burns Brown and Gerald Brommer added to strengthen my design and color theory.

Oil Painting: "Pot Full of Hydrangeas" by Ingrid Carson
"Pot Full of Hydrangeas" by Ingrid Carson

Q: What is your favorite medium and why? Oil is my favorite medium. I like its versatility. I can work slowly building up color and texture or I can work ala prima. I can paint with a brush or a palette knife. If I’m not happy with the result, I can scrape down the painting and start over.

Q: Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration is everywhere. It’s what I see, who I meet, where I go, and what I feel. Lately I have been enjoying watching wildlife; squirrels, birds, ducks, pets, etc. Animal behavior and facial expressions has become a huge influence in my artwork.

Q: What motivates you to create? I have a calling to create. It seems to come from within. When my Dad was dying, I felt the reality of life and death. For the first time, I realized that when I leave this earth I will be leaving a part of me behind. My thoughts and influences are manifested in my artwork.

Q: How do you define success as an artist? Success as an artist comes in two forms. One form is commercial. If an artist’s goal is to sell and they are doing so, they are successful. The other way to be a successful artist is to feel good about what you are creating. The ideal is to feel good about the art you are creating and to also be selling it.

Q: How has your style changed over time? While in College, studying Art, my work was stiff and overly detailed. I finally realized that I would never be able to compete with Michelangelo nor did I want to. That’s when I began studying the impressionists and realized that’s how I wanted my work to evolve. Now I am working on being even looser by palette knife painting.

Q: How do you balance your time in the studio with other life commitments? I treat my art work just like a job. I go to my studio first thing in the morning and paint or do art related work for at least 2 hours. If I don’t have anything else scheduled that day, I continue to work on my art until noon.

Mixed Media Painting: "Covert Endings" by Ingrid Carson
"Covert Endings" by Ingrid Carson

Q: What are you working on at the moment? I am currently teaching a 4 week abstract acrylic painting class. Class preparation takes up most of my time. I hope to have 4 finished paintings before the 4 weeks are up.

Q: When you are working through problems in your work, who do you talk to? Most of the time when a problem arises in my work, I work through it by taking a walk. My husband, Marty, is also my go to for help person. I ask him: What do you like best about this piece and what bothers you the most. He is always honest and usually helps me solve my dilemma.

Q: How do you know when a work is finished? I know a work is finished when I don’t know what else to do to it.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of being an artist? My biggest challenge as an artist is staying focused. I like to experiment and I am willing to try anything. I have a storage closet filled with supplies I will probably never use and unfinished works I will probably never finish. Since moving to a smaller home two and a half years ago, I am working hard at cleaning out and limiting experimentation.

Q: You were a founding member of CCAL. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like getting the league started? For me, starting CCAL was a natural progression of what 7 of us were doing at Crooked Creek Park in the early 1990’s. We were just getting together and painting. Someone made the statement: "If there are 7 of us interested in art, there must be more.” So we looked for more. We organized, asked the park director for help, held classes, formed the 501c3, got involved with community art projects (painted a mural in the Lowman nursing home), invited guest speakers, held a juried exhibit, contacted the SC Arts commission for grant money, found venues to hang and sell our art, and wrote the bylaws. We were busy bees pollinating everywhere!

Photo of members from first CCAL meeting
Photo from first CCAL meeting

Q: How do you think the league has evolved over time? I am very proud of the direction CCAL has gone. It’s a testament to the hard work the next generation has put in. The memberships have grown, the treasury has grown, the projects have grown, the juried shows and exhibits have grown, the website is outstanding, the relationship with the park management is strong. The league has grown even stronger than I anticipated.

Q: How do you think the league has helped you and our community? CCAL has brought art into Chapin in a strong way. I often hear comments from friends and neighbors about how much they enjoy seeing the art hanging at the Park and throughout Chapin. The sailboats were a huge hit and I image the fenceposts will be, too. I am in awe of the brilliant ideas you and the current leaders of CCAL have come up with.

Q: Where do you think the league should be headed in the future? Is there anything you wish the league had done that we haven’t tackled (yet)? One of my dreams at the very beginning of CCAL was to see an Art Co-op in Chapin. I am still hoping that at some point the dollars, interest, and location will appear for artists and art enthusiasts.


You can see more of Ingrid's work on her newly updated gallery page on this website at You can reach Ingrid by email HERE.


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