Work of the Week
Carole Garvey can’t recall the location – though she’s sure it was on the Cape. What she remembers is the feeling of being caught up in “the softness and the glow,” she says. “It was early morning – I remember the sun coming up. It was fall, but it was warm and the colors were turning. The colors were all very warm. It was one of those foggy mornings that burns off quickly.”
It was also one of those times when – surprised by beauty – she didn’t have a sketchbook or camera. But her vivid memory of the experience served her well as she decided on her palette and composition. “I find some of my best paintings are those that hang in the back of my mind,” Garvey says. “The memory just sits there and gets better all the time. It’s like having a file in the back of your head: The day comes when you need it, and you’ve been thinking about it so long the painting is almost done.”
At the beginning of her career, Garvey worked in the art departments of two Boston printing houses, doing illustration and graphic design. But after marrying and starting a family, she decided to begin painting in earnest. Another artist gave her some advice that helped free her from the precision of commercial art. “Don’t tell the whole story and give all the details, because you can’t compete with the viewer’s imagination,” he said. “You have to stop so the viewer can complete the picture.”
In “Foggy Morning,” a halo of sunlight edges the trees. A hint of the sun’s reflection indicates a stretch of placid water. Although suffused in mist, the actual landscape of trees and low-lying bushes seems to lie, tantalizingly, just beyond the veil. Garvey is now a master of keeping things simple. “You begin to learn what to leave out,” she says.