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Meet Carole Hennessy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carole Hennessy.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
As a child, I showed a strong interest in art and I was fortunate to take classes for kids a the School of the Art Institute in Chicago through high school. I earned a BFA from Quincy University and taught high school for several years before I started a framing and consulting business, Art Endeavors. This allowed the flexibility to work and paint from home while my children were young. It was also at this time that I decided to concentrate on working with watercolor.

My years in downstate Illinois left me with a long lasting love for the rural landscape that deepened with my involvement in multiple residencies in the Fields Project which was an annual event in Ogle County, IL for many years. I gained a greater understanding of the difficulties facing the contemporary family farm and I tried to bring that to my work too.

I have spent over 40 years working with watercolor, usually exploring a subject through a series examining it from multiple viewpoints and perspectives. Recently, I have also turned to express some more personal concerns and questions in my work as well.

Please tell us about your art.
All of my work is watercolor on paper.

I have explored a number of subjects over the years including windsocks, chocolate candy, and the packaging, flowers and folded origami, sometimes even combining these subjects in one painting. But the bulk of my work in recent years has explored the rural landscape of the midwest. I work in a semi-abstracted way combining traditional perspective and aerial views with a strong emphasis on design. I have long been fascinated with the patterns the farmland creates when viewed from above. I also like strong and vivid color.

Currently, I have been breaking my landscapes into puzzles, depicting them in various stages of completion or deconstruction, sometimes missing pieces. These are meant to convey some of the difficulty of operating a family farm successfully as well as the beauty of the farmed land and buildings. It is my hope that the viewer will take a longer time with the work when it is more than just a pretty depiction of a scene and consider some of the realities of the times.

Most recently, I have been looking inward and trying to answer questions that have become more important to me as I age. I have been experimenting with combining the puzzles, symbolism and figurative imagery to address some of the issue facing us these days.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I think the role of the artist has always been to reflect the world around us. But I do feel we need to bring an awareness of events and problems to the content of our work. Artists like Ben Shahn and Honore Daumier and their socially conscious work affected me greatly when I was studying art in high school and college, as did the events of the ’60s, ’70s and our current political environment.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am on Facebook and Instagram and often share current work on these sites, especially when working in plain air.

I regularly enter regional and national watercolor competitions and have been fortunate to have work included in shows from Vermont to California and have even been. a part of several exhibits in Italy.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: carolejhennessy
  • Facebook: Carole Hennessy Watercolors

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