Carol Murphy

Carol Murphy
soft pastel artist


About the Artist CarolMurphy

After enjoying a career in advertising and marketing, Carol Murphy returned to a lifelong passion for drawing and painting. Taking workshops and painting regularly with studio groups, she honed her skills using soft pastels, and specialized in portraits and scenic images from her travels.

As luck would have it, one day while doodling, doodles turned into squiggles and her pastel technique, ‘kinetic color’, was born.

Beginning with a simple design of simple shapes, Murphy weaves brightly-colored lines, working layers of varied colors over a background tone that peeks through the vibrant hues and unifies the work.

While inspiration comes from all spectrums of life, what Carol enjoys most about her work is showcasing the intensity of pastels as a medium. “Ironically,” Murphy muses, “the word ’pastel’ evokes images of soft, pale colors that one might see at an Easter parade. I am delighted to be a part of changing that perception. Color ‘punch’ is what pastels can really deliver.”

There’s an unmistakable joy about the circular, patterned lines and the bright, juxtaposing colors which have become the trademark of her unique imagery. Murphy has exhibited her work in solo and group shows throughout Oregon, Washington, and California. She resides with her husband in Salem, Oregon.

Artist Statement

Art seems to me to be the supreme challenge. It has no rules to define the beginning or the end, and it presents the creator with an infinite number of possibilities. Sometimes the muse gives generously and blindly. (We love that!) More times than not we struggle with our creations. Surely this is why it’s called artWORK.

My quest is about essence and attitude. That’s the first thing I want the viewer to experience. It’s an elusive quality…sometimes brought to the painting by the slightest move – an angle, a swipe, just the right mix of colors – but it’s the one thing that I feel separates the rote renderings from the type of art that has emotional appeal.

“Still experimental” is how I would describe my process. The paper changes, and so does my approach. Sometimes I begin with an underpainting, sometimes it’s just a pastel set to a blank page. Sometimes a piece is thought-out, sometimes it’s just a matter of jumping in with the enthusiasm of a puppy in a puddle. When I get stale and start doing things with a recipe and a 10-step program…it will be time to take away my colors and leave me to drool in my applesauce.

Member:  Northwest Pastel Society, Pastel Society of the West Coast, Pastel Society of Oregon