Greetings Dear Friends,
I lost an artist friend last week. Carole Spence was one-of-a-kind in so many ways. Kind and generous. Passionate and enthusiastic. Brave and bold. Cynical and funny.
We first met many years ago when we both showed our art at Topanga Canyon Gallery. Carole mostly created still-life paintings that were anything but still — all manner of gardens that caught her fancy and large vibrant blooms. One of the phrases she used to describe her art and her life was “wretched excess.” She liked big gestures, bright colors, glamour and glitz, and more of everything. She stood at almost six feet tall, and would wear high heels to further accentuate her height. She had a commanding presence with her Texas accent and badass attitude.
Carole was an art major in college, but took a very long detour away from art as a lifelong teacher and school principal. Education was important to her, and she continued to fund scholarships for young aspiring artists after she retired from teaching. She was delighted to be able to return to painting in the year 2000, and participated in many exhibitions and events over the years.
Here’s an explanation of her art, in her own words:
My work recalls the awe I experienced as a child wandering in my mother’s flowerbeds where everything seemed oversized, exuberant, and magic.
Below are some of her stunning paintings, and you can see more of them on her website.
“Red Peony,” acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches
“Rabuchin Garden #3,” acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
“Nanette’s Garden #3,” acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
“Spence Garden #12,” acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches
“Jane’s Garden #4,” acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches
Carole’s living room with her paintings. Photo by Lisa Goldfarb.
The painting below is a piece that she gave to me several years ago. It resides in my office and I gaze at it when I want to feel uplifted.
Carole was always very supportive of my work. She would often write to me after receiving my newsletter and provide encouragement if she felt I needed a boost. I will miss her bright spirit and wry smile.
Her over-the-top legacy lives on as her art continues to bring joy to all who knew her. She will be missed by many. Godspeed dear Carole. Thank you for brightening our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US who are celebrating this week. Take very good care of yourselves, friends.
How can you incorporate some wretched excess into your life? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us here.
With love and appreciation,