100419-art-Art and Soul image

Ah, azure, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, sapphire – such soothing splendor!

The wavelengths between 450 and 495 nanometers roughly constitute the range at which human vision perceives the primary color blue in all its luminous diversity, and of late, that range certainly appears to be enjoying a spike in the zeitgeist, first with a much-ballyhooed win by the metro area’s NHL franchise, now with Carol Carter’s Sherwin.

“I’m currently working on a series of paintings titled South City, portraying my local surroundings,” Carter says, by way of describing the mise-en-scène of that 11- by 15-inch watercolor painted earlier this year. “I’ve lived in South City – St. Louis, within a 5-mile radius – for the last 40-plus years.”

For the benefit of those congenitally discombobulated by St. Louis’ wild web of neighborhoods, Carter helpfully defines South City as “west of the Mississippi River, south of 40, east of Kingshighway and north of Gasconade” before adding, “I’ve lived in Benton Park, Tower Grove East, Tower Grove South, Fox Park and Lasalle Park.”

For that section of the municipality, Carter self-evidently relishes filling the roll of ambassador of good will (both “without portfolio” and certainly, in an artistic context, with). “My studio has been located in Tower Grove East for the past 16 years,” she relates. “I felt it was time to paint my surroundings and visually explore and capture what life is like here.

“South City has become very diverse, with people of differing ages, economic strata, ethnicities, backgrounds and orientations. I’m focusing on landmarks, façades, architecture, transportation, signage, street scenes, parks, people, faces, wildlife, foods and various other elements that combine to make this a rich, cultural side of town.

“This visual exploration is a delight to record. I feel a connection and resonance with my neighborhood.”

Sherwin blissfully depicts a typical South City resident, clad in the de rigueur male summer uniform of a T-shirt, knee-length shorts and sneakers. Below requisite mirrored shades, a small smile plays on his lips, and his right hand grips a thin leash (possibly obscured or obliterated by the vicissitudes of reprography, like the tactility of Carter’s watercolor paper) leading to a similarly small dog, probably just a mutt – but a much-loved mutt.

“The painting here is of a resident that passes my studio every day,” the artist says. “Dogs and dog walkers are a huge part of South City. Sherwin is the proud owner of his dog. The dog’s spirit and Sherwin’s elegant grace captivated me.”

Over time, Carter, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, has received much recognition and acclaim locally, regionally and nationally – as well as internationally.

According to her website, for instance, she’s served as visiting artist in not one but two Norwegian cities over the course of three years and enjoyed the distinction of having the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador, of all places, sponsor a solo exhibition of her works.

At her South City studio, meanwhile, Carter periodically conducts watercolor workshops – one is taking place next weekend, in fact. It bears noting, moreover, that Carter’s website offers a lush-looking 78-page hardcover entitled The Italian Suite featuring more than 50 full-color plates and centering on the Tuscany region – the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance – created after a visit there a decade ago.

Otherwise, Carter states that she’ll be showcasing available works in her studio at 3156 Shenandoah Ave. on Dec. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m., adding, “A selection of South City treats will be available at the opening.” Gooey butter cake? Ted Drewes concretes? Only one way to find out! 

To learn more about our featured artist, visit carol-carter.com.

St. Louis-area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to bhollerbach@laduenews.com with “Art and Soul” in the subject line.

Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.