Artist Profile: Caroline Weld
Caroline Weld adheres to a simple, yet pivotal, motto when it comes to her abstract work: “Get the paint on the canvas, and see where it leads you.”
Both art and life have led Weld in a number of different directions. She studied drawing and painting at Boston University, but went on to become an elementary school teacher in New York City. During her 13 years of teaching, she also pursued a career designing jewelry using semi-precious stones. She sold her jewelry creations in NYC, Nantucket, and Montecito, CA. “I loved the gemstone colors and the design constructions,” she says, and looking back, she sees how colors and forms in her jewelry designs led her to her current artistic pursuit.
Weld, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, grew up summering on Nantucket, and in 2013 she moved to Nantucket full time to take care of her mother. It was at that time she started painting again, initially landscapes, and immersed herself in the local art scene, becoming an Artist Member of the prestigious Artists Association of Nantucket and attending as many workshops as she could. Many of those workshops focused on abstraction. “The cathartic feeling of the abstraction was so exciting that I wanted to see it evolve,” Weld says.
Her oil and acrylic abstract pieces are explorations of colors and forms, and how they come together in harmony to create a sense of emotion. She says her paintings have both a calm and a busy area, “And there’s always something in the painting that leads your eye throughout it,” she adds. “It might be a secret line, it might be a tiny blast of color, a taste of heat among cool colors, that draws your eye to that part of the composition. It is similar to when you find the toy at the bottom of the cereal box—it’s a little treat.”
Currently she paints using natural light from the solarium off her kitchen. Besides traditional painting tools, she uses many unconventional tools for her painting—a pastry scraper, a baster, the tip of a butter knife, or plastic forks, spoons and knives—to create texture in her paintings. “The deconstruction of abstraction is part of the excitement of it because of all the layers. You have to be willing to let go of it,” she says, explaining that “to let go of it” means scratching or scraping away at what she’s painted with one of her tools, revealing some of the painting’s “history,” and then painting over that just enough so that some of the history peaks through the layers. “It’s constant experimentation,” she notes. “Letting go of the painting that you’re starting with is key, not being too committed to parts of it, and finding unity on the canvas by finding what is important on that canvas.”
Weld always starts a painting by finding inspiration in color combinations, lines and form, but subconsciously, her numerous cataloged landscape photos, from Nantucket to Montecito, inspire her works, too. “Sometimes I look at my paintings, and it almost looks as if I’m revealing a map,” she explains. “When you look down through the airplane window, you’ll see the farmland cut up into large squares, then you’ll see the blinking lights of the buildings in clusters. It’s a composition.”
Caroline Weld is represented on Nantucket by East End Gallery, 3 Old North Wharf; Nantucket Looms, 51 Main Street; and the Artists Association of Nantucket’s Cecelia Joyce & Seward Johnson Gallery, 19 Washington Street.