Carole Rafferty Mission Street | 31 Women | Whitney Modern

31 Women

Carole Rafferty Mission Street - 31  Women


Oil on Canvas  
36 x 48 in

Carole Rafferty has sat behind the easel, and in front of it. Her grandmother was an accomplished portrait painter and as child she spent many excruciating hours posing for her. Rafferty recalls that “I had no appreciation whatsoever for what she was doing, and I dreaded her visits because it meant I’d have to sit still for hours on end without even being able to even talk.” Despite this, Rafferty developed a passion for art, painting in high school and taking life drawing classes at night. During these formative years the women in her life planted the seeds for her growth as an artist. Rafferty says, “all my art teachers at that point, from my grandmother to the teachers in high school to my aunties in India who ran fabric dying and printing companies, were all women. Looking back now —even though I didn’t appreciate ANY of them at the time—they all had an enormous influence on how I was to turn out.” Rafferty moved to London for college and began a four-year degree in Asian languages and history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, essentially learning a history of art. She also learned Sanskrit for translating inscriptions and the differences in symbolism and style between the various Indian dynasties. When she graduated, she moved to California to begin a professional master’s program at UC Berkeley in Asian Studies and journalism. From there she became a reporter, working for the New York Times in San Francisco, and eventually the Mercury News in San Jose. Unfortunately, after several decades of cradling the phone between her head and shoulder and typing notes into the computer, the discs in her cervical spine gave out. During her transition from work at the newspaper she decided to take a beginning drawing class at Foothill Community College. Being back in art class was completely life changing. Rafferty threw herself into art and pursued it all: oils, watercolors, sculpture, plein air, portraiture, landscape painting, encaustics, and more. She says, “you name it, I took it!” After several years of study with number of local teachers, she eventually came to the realization that you can’t spend all your time in classes, you’ve got to just do it! Today her art practice follows a regular routine. Starting most days with a brisk walk around the Stanford Dish, she returns home to go straight into her studio. “I usually start painting around 9am and on a good day I’ll continue until about 4:30. Other days I spend wandering around the city with my iPhone, sketch book and watercolors, looking for new ideas and new scenes. Sometimes I go to the beach and paint a seascape.”

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