"I don't believe
you can be an artist
unless you are free inside."

About Carolene Herbel

Carolene Herbel studied art at Kansas State University and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and has also studied print making at the University of New Mexico, Taos. She has been painting for 50 years and proudly admits to being 81 years old! "I started drawing beautiful women as a five-year-old," Carolene says, "Later from 1977 until 2001 I designed and sold clothing inspired by New Mexico culture in historic Mesilla, New Mexico. But, my greatest ambition and passion was and always has been painting."

Carolene now spends here days fulfilling that burning desire. She is a contemporary artist and paints to capture the excitement she feels from the landscape and cultures of New Mexico. A prolific painter, Carolene sketches each evening, getting ready to paint the next day. "I was married to a scientist who greatly inspired my freedom to think for myself. I am somewhat of a free spirit. I don't believe you can be an artist unless you are free inside."

To aspiring artists, Carolene offers this advice,

"Enjoy. Don't be afraid to listen to your inner instincts which are of a power that goes much further than any of us realize. We are part of the Great Creator and true creativity comes from that great power."

Carolene is a folk art aficionado whose favorite painting styes are impressionism and expressionism where her admiration of the great Vincent Van Gogh is clearly evident in her paintings. As a colorist, she loves high color and isn't afraid to use it. "I love the secondary colors: purple, orange and blue green," she admits. In the past, Carolene has painted with acrylics but now prefers to use water-based oils because of the richer colors.

In 2008 Carolene moved with her daughter Belinda from Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, to Taos in the northern part of the state, a place where she is greatly inspired by the awesome creative talents of her fellow Taosenos, such as renowned artists Rich Nichols and Leigh Gusterson, with whom she has had the good fortune of attending her plein air (outdoor) painting workshops. Carolene has also studied with local colorist and expressionist Michele Bachmann and is additionally truly inspired by the Native American artists in the Taos area.

Digital photography is another passions of Carolene's. She became a photographer out of necessity when she needed photos of her designed clothing and used area models to display her designs for photography in advertising and promotion. Now Carolene uses the computer as a help mate and paints with the computer next to her. She is constantly learning new things and spends many evenings searching websites of fellow artists looking for inspiration for her paintings. When asked, "What is the best advice you were ever given?" she said, "the art of beginning anything is difficult."

Carolene's paintings are currently on display at 'Santos Y Mas' in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico and she is available for commission work via the Internet at carolene@taosnet.com.