Donald Carter

The famous religious painter Carl Bloch was said to have dipped his paintbrush in his heart. As an artist, I relate to that statement because painting for me is a way to turn myself inside out and share what is there on canvas. Sometimes I see things that are so painfully beautiful that I can find no adequate words to describe them. My art has become a spiritual language where I can express myself without speaking. And hopefully those who view my paintings will feel what I am trying to say with no words passing between us. I have found that it is through visual imagery that I can best reveal my passions.

As an artist I am more interested in painting my emotional reaction to a subject than in creating a photorealistic rendering of it; consequently my paintings lean more to impressionism than realism. I tend to work in an abbreviated style where the suggestion is more important than the completed statement, and where the parts or details are sacrificed for the good of the whole. I’ve learned that the less I give away in my paintings, the more people seem to read in them.  To me, there is more poetry in an image when not every detail is spelled out and the viewer is allowed to solve some of the mystery.

I love to capture the abstract patterns of light and shadow in the subject as, paradoxically, I find this creates a more realistic image when viewed from a short distance. I generally paint things that I am close to, both in distance and in feeling. I am not about depicting vast expanses of nature, but rather of close, intimate corners of personal spaces. Any subject is game for my brush as long as it is beautifully lit. In truth, light is always the subject I find most exciting, as anything it touches is enhanced in depth, dimension, vibrance, and beauty. This is the spiritual implication art has for me.

I consider it the greatest of privileges to be an artist–to notice the grandeur in small things around me, to celebrate them on paper or canvas, and to share my passion for life though my artwork. 

I have had a love for drawing since early grade school which branched out into several disciplines over the years. I worked as a seasonal pastel and watercolor portrait artist and caricaturist from 1972 until 1978. In the post university years, I have worked as a freelance technical writer, photographer and illustrator as well as some years spent in IT sales and service. Coinciding with my wife’s retirement from 37 years of teaching Special Education, we have chosen to pursue art full time, together. Art is a shared interest we have had since meeting each other in a Landscape Painting class taught by Harrison Groutage (who we think thoroughly enjoyed playing plein air matchmaker that summer).

My BFA in Illustration was earned from Utah State University in 1982. While there I studied under Glen Edwards – Illustration, Harrison Groutage – Landscape Painting, Moishe Smith – Printmaking, and Craig Law – Photography.

I love working alongside my wife – striving together to accomplish our individual and shared goals in art and other venues. If I had to pick one medium, it would be Encaustics, but I enjoy a wide variety of techniques and materials, often doing the same subject or scene in encaustic, oils, printmaking and pastels just to explore the possibilities. Materials that are difficult to control and seem to have a mind of their own often provide the most enjoyment but also the most frustration, which makes the additional effort required to produce something I am satisfied with, all the more rewarding.

Evidence of the artist’s hand is clearly visible in most of my work by intentional design, and has become a vital attribute in the last few years. Brush strokes, ink marks, splashes of molten wax – that record the touch of the artist – are what gives the work energy and interest. My work seems to take on a life or spirit of its own, leading me through the process and often even telling me when it is done.

View the finished piece:


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