In the News

Anna Carlton brings bright hues to watercolor
by Adelia Ladson, Moultrie Magazine

Local artist Anna Carlton is not a woman to be underestimated because she has some physical limitations and she is proving that the art of watercolor should not be underestimated by artists, either.

"Watercolor is much more difficult than oils," she said.

Carlton's paintings are known for their vivid colors in a medium that is usually known for pale and muted renderings. Watercolor paintings, by the nature of their tools, tend to be in lighter shades but she has developed a technique that renders the colors much more brighter.

"One thing people always say about my art is it's very bright," she said.

Watercolorists typically paint on an angle but Carlton said she paints using an easel so that the paper is more straight up and down. She paints this way because she has had several cervical spinal surgeries and cannot bend her neck to look down to paint.

"I've learned now, what I can and can't do," she said.

She said she had to lay flat for a year and all she wanted to do that entire time was to get up and paint or draw.

"After the surgeries, I was more anxious than ever to ‘do art'," she said.

She tried a watercolor workshop with Joe McFadden at the Florida Art Center and Gallery in Havana, Fla. and said she ‘fell in love with it.' She said she had found a new approach to the world of creativity.

"A lot of the fun of it is that the colors mix and mingle," she said.

She had taken art lessons as a child and had an aunt and an uncle who were professional artists. She also said her mother and most of her siblings were artists.

"It's kind of a family thing. It was just always there," she said.

Early on, it was her uncle, who had done portraits of well-known people around the South Carolina area, who influenced and inspired her. She said he encouraged her, from Alabama, because he knew what she was interested in.

"It was his water colors of flowers that I fell in love with," she said.

When she went to school, her father told her that he didn't think she could make a living by majoring in art history, so, she majored in art education, instead. She said she took a little bit of everything for her art education degree, which she received from the University of Georgia.

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Local Artist Anna Carlton: Expressing herself through Watercolor
by Jennifer Gibbs, Moultrie Magazine

Anna Carlton is as vibrant as her art. A watercolor artist who also dabbles in gouache and some occasional acrylic, Anna has a rich sense of color – bold, bright and captivating. The scenes, the moments, she captures are powerful, sometimes pleasantly unexpected. Daddy Long Legs resting on pitcher plants, spectacular schools of koi and quick windows into other worlds.

What's even more amazing is that she doesn't always have to start with an image or a photo. Sometimes a masterpiece is born with the single pouring of liquid paint.

Tap Roots Gallery, located in the Market on the Square and Framing by Craftworks, both in downtown Moultrie, Georgia, are two of 5 regional galleries that feature her artwork. She's just earned the coveted Signature Status in the 19 state Southern Watercolor Society. Recently, her canyon painting, "Behold", was accepted in the "Paint the Parks Top 100 of America" and will travel the USA for a year.

To see the quality, the mastery of her watercolors, you'd think that she'd specialized in them for her whole life. But watercolors weren't always her medium of choice. Prior to 1999, she'd invested decades of her professional life working with three dimensional art such as clay and paper mache. However, after suffering from cervical spine complications, Anna found herself unable to physically endure the demands that the 3D medium entailed.

Eager to get back to work, anxious to create art yet again, Anna set out looking for a new medium, and when she began exploring the intricacies ofwatercolors, she knew that she'd found it. Or maybe watercolors found her ... Either way, Anna Carlton manages to capture beauty and skill with watercolors in a way you've probably never seen before. If you think watercolors mean pale, pastel, "washed–out" shades and tones, Anna will prove you wrong. She said it best, "Color's my thing ... "

An artist since childhood, Anna's work has evolved across the years. Because she refused to define herself by her medium, when tragedy threatened, Anna was able to let go of one outlet and willingly embrace a new one. As I had the unique opportunity to browse through works–in–progress, and how many of them were underway, I couldn't help but see so much of the spirit ofthe artist contained within. When I asked her what it was about an image, about a scene that grabbed her attention and wouldn't let go, she answered without hesitation, "the light and the shadow, primarily – and reflection."

There were plenty of pieces I wouldn't have minded showcasing in my living room. When I asked her what her favorite piece was, she laughed. "Every week I have a different favorite piece, every week it's something different" You can stop by Tap Roots Studio, located in Market on the Square in downtown Moultrie or visit her online gallery at to find out which piece is her personal favorite this week.

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Art of Possibilities: Artist transforms a life-changing event into a new medium
By Dean Poling, Valdosta Daily Times

Moultrie artist Anna C. Carlton has only been painting watercolors for a few years, which is a stunning revelation after spending a time viewing her work on display at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, but she has been an artist since childhood. A life-changing experience, however, led to her relatively recent discovery of watercolors.

She was the middle child of an artistic family in Dawson, she says. Her mother sculpted. Two of her Mother's siblings were professional artists. Her parents ushered the children to exhibits and concerts throughout the sibling's childhoods.

Beginning with painting lessons as a child, Carlton recalls, art has always been part of her life. As a young adult, she studied art at the University of South Florida and earned a bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Georgia.

Following graduation, she married John M. Carlton Jr., an attorney in Moultrie, where they have lived for many years. She raised two daughters and has taught art in various ways for 35 years. She has continued her art education with classes at Valdosta State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and in workshops with internationally known watercolor instructors.

For years, Carlton's art was three dimensional pieces. She created baskets and pottery, delved into the rigors of printmaking, sculpted clay and paper-mache, pieced together textured collages.

Then a dramatic event occurred in her life.

About four years ago, Carlton says she had several cervical spinal surgeries. She could no longer teach art in schools. The surgeries left her unable to work in the often physically demanding processes of three-dimensional art.

Yet, art was not just a passing thing for Carlton. Art was an intricate part of her life. An artist is an artist, and Anna Carlton had to create. She tried other forms of art, other ways of expressing herself. This one-time shaper of clay lighted upon one of the most subtle mediums. She discovered watercolor and Carlton immersed herself in studying it.

"The desire to create is a gift," she says, "painting is a statement of my feelings and inner self, my emotions and my soul. It comes from my heart. My art helps satisfy my desire to share cherished places in nature and the inner energy that created them. To give a more intimate view, to capture a serene, calm image."

She studied watercolor with Joe McFadden at the Florida Art Center and Gallery, Havana, Fla. Since, she has studied watercolor from numerous artists and teachers, studying various techniques, finding her own way to express her way in this medium. While finding her way in watercolors, she discovered the colors of nature and devoted herself to panting nature scenes.

In creating a watercolor, she usually starts with a blank paper. Rarely does she sketch an underdrawing on the paper. Instead, she pours the "liquid paint" onto the paper and begins her compositions from this point. "I'm fascinated by the process of water on the paper as the pigments mix and mingle, the interplay of the intended and the random," Carlton notes in an artistic statement.

From various photos, she creates an image she likes. "I'm not interested in a perfect bloom or image, but to show a hint of the metamorphosis of an image or reflection," she says. "I'm looking for new possibilities in textural qualities, light playing across an image, play of colors and contrasts."

In watercolor, Carlton seems to have found her new possibilities as an artist. Her images are bright with colors, deep in complementary contrasts, strong in shape and form. She duly recognizes the proud colors in nature but creates a bloom that reflects her insights. As a youngster and a young artist, Carlton says, she usually worked from memory and her imagination. Now, she more often uses reference materials in creating her images, but her years of using imagination and memory give these newer works an intriguing twist in nuance and design.

Carlton, who has returned to teaching, has learned that an artist is not defined by a medium but rather an artist is defined by the need to create. If a door closes on one medium then an artist seeks out a new medium. In Carlton's watercolors, she has applied herself as if watercolors have been her medium of choice for a lifetime rather than the brief term of a few years.

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