“Don’t compare yourself to other artists, it’s not easy & I still do it more than I should, try to remember everyone’s artistic journey is personal and there is no right or wrong way to express yourself”.
Caroline Lord is a self-taught artist specialising in animal portraiture, now branching out into more original artworks – fuelled by a passion for the fantastical. Here she talks about her inspirations, her love of animals and the art of self-promotion through social media.
Could you talk about your love of animals and how you use them in your art?
I have always been passionate about animals & animal rights, supporting animal charities when I have the opportunity. I think they make the perfect subject, the eyes hold so much emotion and can tell a story of a painting all by themselves.
In my head, I create a narrative for every original painting I do, it’s not always obvious, but they all have their own story.
How did you get started in illustration and design?
I have always been creative, so when my youngest started school, I decided I wanted to learn something new, so I started to draw and went from there. I’m self taught and am still pretty new to it all, I am learning all the time.
What inspired you to create artworks depicting animals?
I am a crazy cat lady at heart, so cats were my first animal subject of choice, after all I had lots of willing models at home! But I also have something of an obsession for wolves and owls, which probably dates back to my love of David Eddings & the amazing Belgariad series of books.
Which of your pieces are you most proud of, and why?
This is a really difficult question! They all mean different things to me, they have different characters and personalities. But I think I would go with Unicorn Skies, I really stepped outside of my comfort zone with him, lots of new techniques, he turned out way better than I could have hoped.
Your palette is very distinctive. How did this develop?
I think it’s my obsession with things a little other worldly, the idea that what we can see isn’t all that’s there, the colours I use in my original works I hope hint at something a little mystical, etherial or fantastical.
There’s a clear narrative purpose of the titles of your work – Is It Still Snowing, for example, hints at a bigger story than we can see. What comes first, the title or the art?
Actually, neither lol. The character of the animal or bird I am painting is always the first thing that I work with, I’ll sketch in the animal first, and spend some time imagining what he is up to, where he lives, the situation he finds himself in, it’s all inspired by the pose of the character or a look in his eye. Then I will put together the narrative and add in the rest of the painting to carry that through.
What can’t you live without in your studio?
Music! Probably not what you mean? But I have to get my head in the right place before I can get painting and I do that with music, the louder the better. At the moment it’s either Biffy Clyro or 30 Seconds To Mars it allows me to block out the outside world and focus in on the world I am trying to create.
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt whilst establishing yourself as an artist? What advice would you offer others?
Don’t compare yourself to other artists, it’s not easy & I still do it more than I should, try to remember everyone’s artistic journey is personal & there is no right or wrong way to express yourself.
Social media has drastically changed the way artists can self-promote and Do you have any advice for others?
Yes, be loud and proud! Even when you don’t feel it on the inside, which I hardly ever do, you just have to keep putting your work out there. People really like to see works in progress too, allow people to share in the journey the artwork goes through, they will feel more involved with the process & you could even help someone
Also, engage with your social media followers, do remember to re-tweet other people, chat, share things about your life which are not art related, like a love of animals or gardening, or crafting or whatever you are interested in, like minded followers are more likely to share your work and support you.
But most importantly be brave and just get out there, you never know who might be watching!!