Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 28, 2018
Carolyn Walton Gallery opens on Deer Isle
Artist Carolyn Walton lived in Vermont for 30 years before finding her forever home and gallery on North Deer Isle Road.
by Tina Oddleifson
Visiting Carolyn Walton in her new gallery space on North Deer Isle Road gives the impression that she has found the perfect fit, not only for her artwork, but for her new life on Deer Isle as well. Surrounded by the purples and pinks of wild lupines, the afternoon sun streams through the skylight of the red barn she rescued from sinking into the ground. The setting itself could be the subject of one of her landscape paintings. Her gallery, which opened in May, is the latest addition to Deer Isle’s vibrant art scene and sits back from the road, next to the house she shares with her husband, Rick.
Walton’s ties to Deer Isle began at age 13 when her father entered a contest to win a vacation on an island in Maine. Disappointed when it didn’t pan out, he was told about another beautiful island that was worth the long drive from New Jersey. Her parents eventually purchased a vacation home on Webb Cove, which still remains in the family. In 2015, after learning she’d be a grandmother, Walton decided to move to the island to be closer to her daughter, Deer Isle resident Brighid Doherty.
Despite winning an art contest at a young age, Walton didn’t begin painting professionally until 20 years ago while living in Vermont. “I worked lots of jobs and felt I needed to contribute to the family income, but none of them really fit me,” she said. “I taught myself to paint and started with pastels, and then it really took off.”
The focus of her impressionistic oil painting is on light and shadow, meant to convey feeling and evoke emotion in the viewer. The colors of her earlier works in Vermont were more muted, but here on the coast they are bolder, and her paintings more abstract.
Her work has been featured in books about Vermont and New England painters. Awards have been numerous, and include the prestigious Hudson Valley Art Association National Exhibition in New York. Here on Deer Isle, Walton says she has been warmly welcomed into the art community.
She plans to host a gallery opening in July and a workshop in September. She encourages anyone to visit her gallery, which is located at 131 N. Deer Isle Road, open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “It’s lovely to learn more about what people respond to, what moves them,” she says.