Our go-to place during these long months of Covid caution has been the Raven Cafe. We don our masks, order beers and go upstairs, where we can safely enjoy being somewhere other than home. I appreciate how the Raven always has a local artist featured in the main dining area.
Not all artists show their work in galleries and deserve to be seen. One day a couple months ago I had to pause before taking my beerupstairs to take in the bold paintings on the walls. The artist was Carole Jolly. The name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t put aface to it. When I looked her up, I realized we had both hosted the same Russian exchange student some years back.
Carole grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and moved to Prescott 20 years ago. One of the biggest influences she points to is her mother’s best friend, who taught after-school art classes. Carole remembers being made to feel much at home in this setting, with someone so loving and creative. This association of feeling happy and whole in creating art has stayed with Carole all her life. Focusing mostly on abstract painting, Carole got a scholarship in high school for a summer session at the North Carolina School of the Arts. “I’ve always loved color. I see the world in color. I feel the world in color. So that’s what I painted.” Carole went on to become a psychotherapist, but has always painted.
On moving to Prescott Carole searched for a painting teacher and settled on Paul Abbott. Highly accomplished and recognized in the craft, Paul does representational painting, mostly of people. While Carole was working in a very different way, she found he could give her some real substance to help her move forward in her own artistic journey.
“There was something about the way he talked to me, that he got me. I knew he had what I needed. He was very poetic.” She has worked with Paul on a weekly basis for the past ten years, though Covid has cut that down considerably.
Carole began painting landscapes and people, using a palette knife, a pretty scary move if you’re just used to brushes. She branched out into a whole new direction and now uses only the palette knife and oils.
Working with a knife has changed how she works in more than one way. Before, she didn’t like scraping things off the canvas, but now she is ruthless. “I think that’s what makes the creative process freeing. You can’t do that with relationships or in other aspects of life. With this you can just keep creating.”
Carole recently transitioned from practicing psychotherapy to being a life coach. I asked how her artistic work informs her work with clients, and whether she promotes artistic activity as a means of moving forward in one’s life. She encourages her clients to be creative in a non-verbal way. Words stimulate the intellect.
“Talking is one process, but if that’s the only way to process, I find people don’t heal.” For herself, practicing art gives her a way to work through life stuff and come away stronger.
“I think art is a way to process. I hear a lot of tough things and have had a lot of tough things in my own life. There’s something about processing through being creative that allows me to be out in the world, to not get weighed down.”
Carole’s work has appeared in galleries in both North Carolina and Arizona, but she chooses not to focus so much on putting it out into the world. Her work has been selling more of late, so we hope there will be more shows in her future. You can find her at CaroleJolly.com.