Carolyn Nelson was born in the city of Chicago, Illinois, as daughter of an industrial engineer and a concert pianist. Her mother being the pianist, instill to both her brother and herself the studies of music through piano with a wide range of classical to jazz as well as dance. She grew up in the Palm Beach area of Florida where she began formal art training at the age of eleven, and continued her studies for a period of sixteen years in studio painting, as well as illustration under four private art schools and academics at both Florida Atlantic University and Cerritos College Which also promoted her to immerse herself in Elizabethan reinactments later on with additional studies in the art of fencing, archery and jousting. Her work as an illustrator provided an exciting career in the aerospace industry as a technical illustrator designing both civilian and military aircraft. At the same time, she knew life as an illustrator was more then drawing just a series of boxes and arrows pointing the directions in explosive and isometric views of aviation systems, and expanded her work and love of God with the compassion for people in humanitarian arenas. At a request of a designer friend, she began a new direction.
As a life path of colors the fragile threads of a personal tapestry, her life is woven with a depth of emotion in earthy hues that fire her passion and her art. Drawn to nature and native peoples, her work springs from her friendships with the Native American Nations of both Pima and Apache in northern Mexico, as well as the people in southern Africa. Her paintings capture the strength and simplistic elegance of their lives. For a period of nine years, she would spend a portion of each year working with the tribes of northern Mexico, teaching them canning techniques, first aid, simple mechanics and drawing to their children in a civilization that was still primitive, mid 19th century wild west in the isolated mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. She worked with the superintendent of rural schools for the state of Sonora in training teachers to go into the isolated areas to teach children who would otherwise have no means of acquiring an education, even if it meant through the sixth grade. This work was all part of extended research in the development of presenting rural potable water systems that she designed to go into rural Latin America. Her work in Africa was teaching orphaned children the skill of weaving from a 8,000 year old weaving system, with the objective being a life skill they could master and later on in years have a trade in their life.
As an artist, teacher, fine art conservator, weaver as well as an art therapist to the cognitive impaired, she contributes her diverse skills in important public arenas from the Frank Lloyd Wright Institute to the Leo Sandoval Museum at the University of Sonora, in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and is recognized by the National Institute of Anthropology and History for the country of Mexico. Her work as an art restorer has placed her into museums and special clients such as the work of Lucian Bernhard, the founder of the American Poster.
In October of 2000, she was one of ten Americans selected and exhibited her paintings at the Euroartexpo in Barcelona, Spain and then went on to Italy where she backpacked an easel to paint. On her return she went back to teaching art, under a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for Children at Risk through the Juvenile Justice Department and the school district of Palm Beach county. The year 2001 was the first of having three interns from the country of Japan, study under her direction through the United States State Department Internship programs. The interns acquired much training and knowledge in visual art studies to enhance their career foundations and also study the life of an American artist.
Over the summer months from 2001 to 2004, she would conduct childrens art workshops at the Edna Hibel Museum of Art in Jupiter, Florida as well as continue to work with children at risk. In 2005, she went to Maun, Botswana in southern Africa and taught the orphaned children, the ancient art of Card Weaving.
The sudden death of her own son, Matthew who served in the US Military, and died of complications from a military accident, put her in focus of becoming a certified Mneme therapist, which is teaching painting and music therapies to the cognitive impaired. She became a certified therapist with the focus on special populations in autism and Alzheimer as well as continued work with children at risk. As if this wasn’t enough, she also became the Florida State Director of Paint Dancing.Com. This is a fun activity of having events that is painting and dancing at the same time, to raise funding for local food banks and became a anti-hunger activist. The goal is to stop hunger around the world and in 2009, teamed up with Humanithes.Org, a registered INGO of Denmark, becoming a Goodwill Ambassador and chairperson for HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW Visual and Performing Arts World Tour that will commence November of 2010. Humanithes.Org provides support to non for profit INGO’s in the arenas of food, clean water, medical needs to third world nations.
Her art in PUBLIC PLACES includes in a mural piece of PROJECT HOPE which is a division of FEMA of which this traveling exhibit went to every city that has been part of the recent hurricane disasters in the southeastern part of the United States. A mural of hers is also at the Children’s Home Society of Florida in West Palm Beach, Florida and a painted pony for the Wild Things project for the Boys and Girls Club of America fundraiser auction. . A painting of hers was submitted for The Order of the Royal Order fund raising Ball of March 2010, in Vienna, Austria. Vemitian Mask, Masque Celebrity Arts, exhibition, Wally Findlay Galleries, Palm Beach, benefit for Hospice of Palm Beach County, 2013.
Listed “Whose Who in the West”, “Whose Who in Emerging American Leaders”, “Whose Who in California”, and “Strathmore Whose Who “
Published “From the Heart of the Sierra” 1997
“Land of Confusion” currently being published which she has illustrated.
Membership: American Academy of Women Artists Associate Member
Palm Beach County Artist Coalition
Certified Mnemetechnic therapist
Oil Painters of America Society
Today, my work comes from the Grace of God who I give all the credit too, along with my deep love and connection with people. The emotions and experiences of being among them and to blend my earlier foundation of European Impressionism that forms the real tapestry. I want to convey the depth and beauty of their lives which invigorates my spirit and influences my work which will edify them.
Carolyn lived in southern California for fifteen years, and now resides near her daughter in Snohomish, Washington. She has one daughter, Katrina and three grandchildren.
A list of exhibitions and collectors are available on request.
Major Recent Exhibitions include
Wally Findlay Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida 2013
Lois Brezinski Artworks Gallery, W. Palm Beach, Floirda 2012
Village Art Studios, Tequesta, Florida 2011
Burundi Orphan Relief Art Exhibition , Palm Beach Gardens, Florida,5/2011
Steve Johnson Gallery, W. Palm Beach, Florida 11/2010