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Carrie Clayden

About The Artist

Carrie Clayden is a native Californian, growing up in Los Gatos, Ca. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts from UCSC in 1995 and now resides in Santa Cruz, Ca. Floral’s are Carrie’s mainstay, using her hands to create dancing petals never fails to delight her senses. Her painting style is semi abstract in nature, dreamy and ethereal in feeling, abstractions hinting at stories untold. The foreground and backgrounds negotiate and dance to an exquisite never-ending narrative. A celebration of the advent of spring (Carrie’s birth month), the confidence of femininity and the fountain of rebirth, Carrie’s paintings exhibit a richness and depth as though each piece had been created over the course of many years.
“Painting is my passion. The mystery and excitement of creating never fails to amaze me. The possibilities are endless. I love to dip my hands in paint and literally put myself into the painting. Layers are everything. The time, the history and the stories that come from building layers all make a better painting. Honestly, I could paint on one canvas forever but I force myself to do several at once. Old things fascinate me, the stories they could tell. I want to capture that essence with my own hands. Painting with abandon is my mission.”
I wasn’t always an artist, I never even made art growing up. Most people think you’re born an artist, that creativity and skill ooze out your pores, but that isn’t my experience. I learned how to make art, discovered it was fun, and pursued it with verve. There were some key turning points which helped me along the way, most notably reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. The book is a revelation, it helps you find your authentic self, it calls you to action and for me it changed my life. Julia asks you questions like “if money were no option what would you like to do?” She encourages you to dream, and then manifest that dream into reality, she gives you Permission to go on artist dates to discover your inner calling. Her book is a workbook and I believe if you do the work your life will change, that is
how powerful it is.
After completing her book, I quit my job and pursued art full time and have been a professional artist ever since. My dream to have a studio to paint in came true, I opened a store in Benicia called Hip Chick Designs which combined my love of antiques with art classes. It was the birth of my artistic career, but after 7 years we moved to Santa Cruz so I sold the shop to devote myself solely to painting. During my years of study — both in classical training and self-taught — I chanced upon an artist named Robert Burridge whose influence had a profound effect on me. He used water, acrylics, his hands, and a paper towel to paint — this was a revelation to me. He played and enjoyed painting so much; I wanted to emulate him. I took his classes and continue to use his techniques as my artistic foundation. I began to finger paint which awakened a childlike wonder and joy previously lacking in my work. I struggled to find ME in paint for many years, and tried many different styles and themes until I landed
upon flowers. Claude Monet has always been my favourite artist, and impressionism my favourite style. Using my fingers to paint flowers was a game changer for me, it brought me such joy to dip my hands in colour and dance the finger marks onto canvas like a waltz.
Afterwards I discovered dry brushing and use of light was the key for my goal of creating a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere. I am very feminine, a dreamer, flower-lover and a romantic and could suddenly see myself in my paintings. Being an artist takes courage. You have to continually find inspiration, motivation, and grit to stay the course. It took me years to like my work, to proclaim myself a professional artist, and to have the guts to put my work online. I love paint, the colour, the feel, and the look. It is a never-ending wellspring of possibilities — what a gift to be an artist.


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