We love Caroline Stroud and had so much fun launching our first collection with her last year. Well guess what, we are launching our second collection with her this week! Whoop Whoop!
In preparation for this second launch, we wanted to get to know Caroline a little better. We took a metaphorical step into her studio, (you know because of COVID and the fact that she lives 5 hours away from Charleston) but we still had so much fun learning more about her, her process, and the inspiration behind her incredible "Cheers" collection. Read below for the full interview!
When did you first discover your love of art?
I have always loved drawing and creating for as long as I can remember. My parents always pushed me to hone in on these skills and I remember getting easels and art supplies every year for Christmas. For career day in elementary school I even dressed up as an Artist.
How did you decide to go full time with your art business?
I took a very realistic and business-like approach to starting my art business because I wanted to make sure it would be sustainable. My first year out of college I worked a corporate job and painted nights, weekends, lunch breaks - basically any free time I had. I was trying to build up my art business on the side while maintaining a 9-5 job to fall back on. I made the decision to pursue art full time once I had hit two milestones: first, to book enough wedding paintings in advance to cover my expenses and two, to secure a studio space that I could afford. These two benchmarks were largely influenced through the advice of my parents and lots of prayer. I achieved both of these personal goals one year after working my corporate job and made the leap into painting full time. There was so much trial and error in the first year but I felt as though the timing was perfect.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I describe my fine art and my live wedding paintings in two different ways.
My “Cheers” series that I create in the studio is both figurative and abstracted. It is a romanticized and playful version of the reality I see and experience (mostly at the weddings that I am painting at). I focus on human figures in my pieces because I want the viewer to be transported into the scene that is happening in the painting- to recall a personal memory that the painting brings to mind. More often than not, our memories of an event are almost always better than the event itself and I want my paintings to represent this idea.
In my live paintings, I would describe my painting style as somewhat realistic with a whimsical twist. I aim for portrait quality on the bride and groom with other details such as venue and bridal party more "loosely" painted.
What inspired you to become an artist?
The main thing that inspired me to pursue art as a career was seeing all of the successful women before me be wildly successful as full time, self-employed artists. So many of the artists I have connected with and followed on Instagram have unknowingly inspired a younger generation to follow in their footsteps.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I have named the current body of work I am creating right now the “Cheers” collection. The entire concept of the Cheers collection was born from what I observe at my live wedding paintings each weekend. I am able to witness so many unique interactions at these weddings- old friends reconnecting, navigating an event alone without knowing anyone, celebrating with a new friend you just met that night. All of these emotions and relationships are then translated onto canvas with my own whimsical play on it. While these live events continue to have a huge influence on my subject matter, I believe my work is evolving to represent more than just the interactions I see at weddings. As I continue to flesh out this series, I have started drawing inspiration from various quotes and vintage high fashion editorials. One of my favorite quotes “Expect Nothing, Appreciate Everything” has become the underlying theme of this entire body of work. This mentality of having no expectations going into something and celebrating even the smallest of victories is what I try to embody through my Cheers collection. I think there is so much freedom to create when you are inspired by a quote or phrase that has no visual image already attached to it.
How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by continuing to be excited about all of the possibilities and different directions that my artwork can go. I also paint organically- I never force a painting when I am not feeling creative or do not have a clear direction. The wedding paintings are a nice change of pace and fill me with more subject matter inspiration for my Cheers pieces.
Tell us a little bit about your process.
For almost every piece in this collection I have used a square composition- either 20” x 20” canvas, 24” x 24” canvas or 36” x 36” canvas. I enjoy the square layout as it challenges me to create dimension and depth within the parameters of the canvas.
When I am starting a new piece, I am focused on getting as much texture and movement as possible onto the canvas without putting much thought to it. In each piece I use acrylic paint, ink, oil sticks, chalk pastels, graphite and sometimes pieces of collage paper. These different mediums create so much unique texture and dimension. There is no real rhyme or reason to this first step in the process when I am layering paint and scribbling in different directions with oil sticks since most of it will be covered up as I continue to layer.
I then use reference photos from weddings, previous Cheers paintings and editorial photos to start blocking in the figures on top of the textured layers below.
What is a fun fact or something we might not know about you?
My first “big break” painting was in college my senior year. I was able to paint the winning Rose Bowl touchdown for Sony Michel and then go on to paint a portrait of his winning Super Bowl touchdown the next year when he was playing for the New England Patriots. I do not paint sports portraits anymore, but those two paintings will always hold a special place in my heart.
Do you have any upcoming events, series ideas, or exciting news that you want to share?
For my next Scouted Studio release I am excited to continue expanding the Cheers series to include more subjects besides just the women in dresses. I am excited to share my thought process, journaling and reference photos of this new subject matter.
I am also offering prints now as a more affordable option!
Check out her amazing collection here!
Interested in hiring her for your wedding? Learn more here.