Raised as an only child by her grandmother on the outskirts of London, Caroline Shotton grew a passion for painting from an early age. With the benefits of nearby London galleries as well as the open countryside, she found the opportunity to completely immerse herself into her work, encouraged and guided by her grandmother.
Throughout her school years, Caroline strived for perfection, inspired by the realism of the old masters. She then went on to study at Central Saint Martins where her work developed following new ideas and techniques, fascinated by the surrealism and impressionism which features in her current work.
After leaving college, Caroline worked in the commercial sector as a freelance artist, commissioned for small intricate murals to large scale abstracts all over the country. The variety of the work and projects meant that she was able to develop new styles and subject matter she would not have tried had she been alone in her studio.
After the birth of her son, Caroline decided to focus on her gallery career, moving away from the strict briefs and allowing her work to develop using ideas from past commissions. This also enables her to paint in the direction of her choice.
Caroline Shotton gets her inspiration from various sources such as pages out of a magazine or the look a herd of cows gave her when she went past that morning. Always looking for ways to capture an image or effects, Caroline is constantly scribbling down ideas or taking photographs to which she can refer to throughout the day or the year. Inspiration hits her when she least expects it and when she isn’t consciously thinking about her paintings. But anything from the way the light reflects on her son’s hair or the decaying plasterwork of a disused shop front is an inspiration and a new challenge for Caroline to integrate into her work.
Caroline usually starts her paintings by collating reference materials and rough sketches before starting on the canvas. This gives her a clear vision of the final outcome or what she is trying to achieve. However, on occasion she will paint directly onto the canvas and let the painting evolve on it’s accord.
In order to get a textured surface, Caroline uses layers of paper, paint and varnish as well as adding a rough sketch of the composition and blocking out the larger areas with colour. Working on several paintings simultaneously allows each piece to dry before carrying on with the background and main image. Once the canvas is dry, Caroline starts working on the background in more detail and adds the outline to the main image, carefully balancing the colours in order to prevent the background from becoming overbearing and moving away from the initial concept of the piece.
Nearer to completion, Caroline unites the piece by adding varnish and paint to the whole painting. Waiting for the piece to dry, she then steps back from her work and looks for the areas which need adjustments and that the overall mood of the painting is correctly transpiring.
Caroline leads a busy life with her family which usually starts at 6am, woken up by her son Sam. After doing the household shores and taking her son to nursery, Caroline finds the time to go for a run or take the dogs for a long walk. This helps her gather her thoughts and get ready for work for 9:30.
Throughout the day, Caroline listens to classical music which has been an essential part of her inspiration since her days in college. Immersing herself into her work, she will quickly lose track of time and only take a short break to make a cup of tea or change the CD track. Caroline works in her studio right up until 5pm when she will go and collect her son. Once Sam is in bed, Caroline will often return to her studio and review her paintings as well as get everything ready for the next day.
In order to save on time, Caroline will prepare her paintings in the evening, letting them dry over night ready for the following morning. This also allows her to really work on the details all through the day, concentrating on the intricate parts of the painting.
Caroline Shotton is very passionate about her work, and has to discipline herself not to return to her studio after dinner. In her own words, hearing her husband “opening a bottle of wine” usually helps her call it a day.