'Color just appeals to me'


Marione Martin

Alva artist Carolyn Demaree displays some of her watercolors during the First Friday Art Walk. Her art will be on display through May at Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva.

Carolyn Demaree has deep roots in Woods County. Her family homesteaded here, and she grew up in Alva. She's lived in Alva, off and on, much of her life.

She believes her creative talents emerged in the 1960s when she worked in hairdressing. "I worked for Redken Laboratories in the sixties and had a salon here. I guess you can say my art started in the sixties doing hair and traveling with the company for several years doing styling show," she said.

When that job concluded, Demaree says she went on an "artistic hiatus." She didn't do anything artistic until she came back to Alva.

"I've always liked art things. People have told me more often than not that I was artistic, and I think everybody can do this so it never seemed to me that I was an artistic person," she said.

Her creative side reemerged when she started doing quilting with her friend Connie Allen. "Some of my friends would say, 'That's a very artistic looking quilt. That's not normal,'" said Demaree. "Normal was never my game."

She widened her horizons from quilting to explore acrylics and drawing and then watercolor. "I really found the watercolor was something I like to watch flow and give the impression of the way it wanted to go and try to take me there," she said.

Demaree uses "anything and everything" as a subject in her art. One of her watercolors on display at the Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva of a large bull elk brings memories of when she and her husband raised a herd of elk.

"I seem to have a short attention span so I will have four or five different projects going," she said. "Weaving is my latest with a rigid head loom or twining on a different type of loom or wall-hanging which is another type of loom. Then I'll jump back and do some artwork or some jewelry-making. I guess I just like to be busy."

Sometimes she wonders if she might be ADD (attention deficit disorder) because she always likes having something to do. "I think every day I get up, I've got a day of work to do. I've always worked so I feel like that keeps my time occupied and my brain busy. And I love color," she said.

That love of color may be a result of her hairdressing career; she was always a good colorist. "Color just appeals to me in a lot of ways," she said.

When she feels she needs some help on color, Demaree asks her daughter for advice. She says the advice is usually that she needs more contrast. "I have a tendency to run a little monotone," she said.

Over the years, Demaree has taken classes from a diverse group of artists. She also watches online schools and gets their advice.

Of her varied art career, Demaree says, "I like to learn something new every day."

A selection of Demaree's watercolors and mixed media work is on display during May at the Graceful Arts Gallery in Alva.


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