Devine Inspiration: Caroline Cockfield
By now you know that Elleanor & Indigo is always on a quest. We are always searching for new things and wonderful people that we can learn about and talk to. Our local artists have been so willing to work with us and they have all been so much fun. Caroline Cockfield, southern-based painter, is no different. We first saw Caroline's beautiful artwork in a little place in Columbia, S.C. called The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli. Her pieces were hanging up on the walls and while we were eating our breakfast as a family it was impossible not to notice the stunning watercolors of duck decoys. Each of her displayed paintings spoke to the natural beauty of living in a place like South Carolina where the outdoors and nature are meant to be enjoyed. After seeing these paintings we knew we needed to get in touch with Caroline and learn more about her work.
(photos courtesy of Cook’s Look Photography, Hemingway, South Carolina @cookslookphotgraphy)
Here’s our chat with her:
E&I: We absolutely love your artwork and think it's stunning. It's very clear to us that you're very passionate about what you do. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how your upbringing plays a part in your art?
Caroline: I am originally from Hemingway, S.C. which is a very small town. My father is a farmer and my mother is a teacher, so my summers growing up consisted of playing in the dirt bare-footed on the farm. I always loved art as a child, and I grew up admiring my great-grandmothers paintings. She was an oil painter and created beautiful mountain and animal scenes. I am so thankful I inherited the love of animals and the gift of painting from her.
I received my undergraduate degree in Art Studio and took after my mother and continued my education with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Coastal Carolina University. I taught high school art for two years but the desire to paint full-time was always in the back of my mind. So I took the leap of faith and moved to Columbia to start a life with my husband and a new art career.
E&I: We have seen that you really love watercolor as a medium, and we do too! What draws you to watercolor? And are there other mediums that you enjoy, or ones you'd like to explore?
Caroline: Believe it or not watercolor was the first art class that I took in college! I had an amazing professor that explained watercolor so well I didn’t want to try another medium. Even though I did take other classes, oil painting frustrated me because I couldn’t get it to blend like watercolor. Besides watercolor, I love sculpting and pottery. Any chance I get, I try to take a sculpting class or throw on the wheel.
E&I: We’ve always been curious about the process that goes into creating a new piece of art. We imagine a lot of thought goes into it. What is your favorite part of the process, when you’re creating a new piece?
Caroline: I think my favorite part of the process is having an idea of what I want to paint and searching for the subject matter to paint from. I love riding back roads trying to find a farm with beautiful scenery or even talking to the people that live there and hear their stories. I usually make my husband stop 100 times while we are driving so that I can take pictures.
E&I: We've noticed that right now you offer a variety of art that features birds. Are birds one of your favorite animals to paint? Are their other subjects you're hoping to paint in the future?
Caroline: Honestly, I love painting all animals! I was drawn to birds first because I wanted to start a series of duck decoys. Then that led to painting real ducks to painting herons and an entire series of birds has happened in the past year. Currently I am working on a forty piece series that will have all types of animals.
E&I: How do you get inspiration for your pieces?
Caroline: This question was a little tough for me to answer at first. I made up answers but nothing seemed to hit home for me on where I get true inspiration for my work. One day while I was painting in my studio I started to listen to a podcast that was hosting Maria Brophy. In her book she talks about art and creating; then she said something that was like a lightbulb moment. “When something comes easily to you, that is what you are meant to be doing”. Those words described exactly how I feel when I paint, I love animals and enjoy painting them and I feel closer to God spiritually when I paint. As long as I continue this artist journey I will always give God the glory for my inspiration/talent. There is a song that I love to listen to by Wonder called “So Will I” and this verse sums up my inspiration to paint and the animals that are my subject matter:
And as You speak/A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath/Evolving in pursuit of what You said/If it all reveals Your nature so will I/I can see Your heart in everything You say/Every painted sky/A canvas of Your grace/If creation still obeys You so Will I
E&I: Who are some artists that have inspired you throughout your career?
Caroline: I constantly study artist like Andrew Wyeth, Mary Whyte, Winslow Homer, and Beatrice Potter. They are all incredible watercolor artists!
E&I: Since you've been immersed in it, how have you seen the art community change here in South Carolina? Where do you see the art scene going in the future?
Caroline: I think it is an amazing time for artist to flourish in South Carolina. More places are bringing everyone together through art, especially in Lake City, S.C.f which is close to home for me. Art Fields has played a major role in providing artist an awesome opportunity to display their work but also bringing a community together and rebuilding a town. Here in Columbia, SC they provide tons of opportunities for artists through the contemporaries and also Soda City every Saturday.
E&I: Can you tell our readers where they can find your art? Also, can you explain the process for a commission piece?
Caroline: They can find my art on my website at Carolinefineart.org or Instagram @carolinefineart. If anyone would like to commission a piece they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For commissioned pet portraits I have a page on my website that explains sizes and pricing.
E&I: Being in the Columbia area, which in recent years we’ve begun to explore, can you tell us your favorite place to grab a bite to eat? How about a place for a drink? Could be coffee, cocktail, beer etc.
Caroline: Mr. Friendly’s is my favorite spot to grab dinner, their fried chicken is amazing! Also for dinner, Terra in West Columbia has some amazing lamb mac and cheese that is to die for! For breakfast and great coffee I love going to Cinnamon Roll Deli, everything on their menu is great and they support local artist like myself that they show on their walls of the restaurant. Twenty percent of what the artist makes goes to an animal rescue charity which is another reason to love Cinnamon Roll Deli.
Thank you so much Caroline it has been so much fun chatting back and forth and being able to share your passion with our followers. We can’t wait for your new series to be complete and until then we will keep eating at The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli and waiting patiently.