Carole Ann Danner gives new meaning to the concept of a working artist. She is committed to her painting and knows that getting better takes discipline, stamina, and energy. “My personal goals are to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and self-directed,” Danner says. “You’re your own best critic.”
Studying with mentor Jim Peters and inspired by his use of dark lines, Danner enrolled in a collaborative program at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. After graduating, she continued to learn—through mentors, fellow artists, and museum visits. Today she paints at least 20 hours a week at the Shirley Blair Flynn Center on Pearl Street in Hyannis, juggling work as a bookkeeper and caregiver.
Danner looks to many sources as creative wells. “I’m a studio painter, working from life, photos, memory, imagination, and poetry,” she says. Currently she is working on a painting based on Cape Cod poet Mary Oliver’s work, “The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water.”
Danner’s artwork, a blend of realism and abstraction, continues to evolve. Her figurative work and landscapes are energetic, intuitive, and emotional. It is imperative, she says, that the art “moves me emotionally and physically.”
Vertical lines and rich color are prominent in many of her pieces, such as Jack’s Wharf 2. “I love line, form, shape, color, and structure, whether it’s rocks or a wharf,” says Danner. “I need a structure.” The dark lines, she says, are “a repository to put the paint in.” Some of her landscapes are done in encaustic, or hot wax, for its sculptural texture. Playing with a blend of realism and abstraction, she says, is the most fun. “You’re playing with all the possibilities and choices.”
A couple of years ago, Danner created a series called “Mothers, Aunts, and Grandmothers” after being inspired by her 80-year-old mother-in-law, who is wheelchair-bound. “I tracked down interesting seniors with stories to tell,” she says.
Danner asks a lot of herself, making constant value judgments about her work, always striving, she says, for “something that has a presence, is authentic.” And always, she says, it is done by keeping her options open and continually asking herself, is it working?
Carole Ann Danner’s work may be seen at both locations of the Julie Heller Gallery at 2 Gosnold Street and at 465 Commercial Street in Provincetown (juliehellergallery.com), and at caroleanndanner.com. Heller’s Commercial Street location is featuring Danner’s work August 17-30.