Carol Lee Thompson: Painting for the Love of It

NOAPS Thompson Brimming with Personality, 20x39

“Brimming with Personality”, 20×39, Oil, Crossgate Gallery, Lexington, KY, winner of the Third Place Award in the 2018 NOAPS Spring Online International Exhibition.

The title of Carol Lee Thompson’s painting says it all.  As humans, we assign human emotion and thought to our pets, and each hound in the painting certainly has an expression that we humans can identify.  The dogs are presented in a row, obviously waiting for their opportunity for action, with a playful composition and energy.  The center of interest is placed slightly higher than the rest, giving the viewer a place to start when interpreting all the various attitudes.

NOAPS Thompson Ready 11x11  “Ready”, 11×11, Oil, collection of the Artist.

Carol Lee Thompson is a well-studied artist.  She began with a BFA from Towson State University, and went on to the Maryland Institute to earn an MFA.  But she attributes her classical training to The Schuler School of Fine Art where she learned the techniques of the Old Masters, particularly that of Peter-Paul Rubens.  Her mentor at the school was Ann Didusch Schuler, who taught Thompson and to whom she credits much of her success as an artist.

NOAPS Thompson Violent Heart 27x21  “Violent Heart” 27×21, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

But it is not just technique that has shaped Thompson’s career; it is her firm belief in painting those images that inspire her the most.  She is passionate about animals (particularly horses), nature, and faces of individuality.  The emotion that she expresses in her paintings reveal her passion, and the viewers are given the opportunity to both see and feel those emotions.

NOAPS Thompson, Chinese Grandmother 12x9  “Chinese Grandmother”, 12×9, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Carol’s process always begins with an underpainting.  Larger pieces require sketches to work out the composition, and she often uses transparent paint and glazing to get luminous effects.  She has learned the skill of making her own pigments, surfaces, and other of her own materials, including materials for various other mediums, which, as she states, “feeds her creativity!”.  Her brushes include a variety of brushes (that end up quite abused in her process), as well as Rosemary brushes.  And though she may work in other mediums, her professional choice is oil.

NOAPS Thompson Old Friends 23x21  “Old Friends”, 21×17.5, Oil, Collection of the Artist.  This painting has been juried into the 2018 NOAPS Best of America Exhibition at the Eisele Gallery, Cincinnati, OH.

After years of working from life, Thompson is not averse to working from photos, but thoroughly understands the problems associated with photographs, and is able to aptly overcome these and use them to her best advantage.

“Paint through it” is Carol’s advice to all of us; she has learned that difficulties produce growth, and that “If that brush is going you are moving forward and you are learning and growing”.  We are students until the last.

Carol taught art at The Schuler School of Art for over 30 years; she is a Signature Member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, the Oil Painters of America, she is a Recognized Living Artist with the Art Renewal Center, and a Signature Member of The American Academy of Equine Art, among other memberships.  She has won numerous national awards, and has been featured in numerous national art magazines.

Carol Lee Thompson is represented by: Troika Gallery, Easton, MD; Going to the Sun Gallery, Whitefish, MT; Crossgate Gallery, Lexington, KY; McBride Gallery, Annapolis, MD; Huey’s Fine Art, Sante Fe, NM; Crystal Moll Gallery, Baltimore MD; and Handwright Gallery, New Canaan, CT.

To view more of Thompson’s work, visit her website at

To view more exhibitions from the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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