When she began
dabbling in crafts about 10 years ago, the self-taught artist was deluged with
orders for her Afro-centric dolls.
Since turning to
painting four years ago, she has sold about 300 works.
Now she has an
agent, a gallery in Nashville representing her work and a deal with JC Penney
to market reproductions of her paintings.And on March 28 she will be one of 67 artists
donating table designs for a Bridgehaven benefit dinner featuring "60 Minutes"
correspondent Mike Wallace.
Still, Caroline Joy Fletcher says she's not
about to quit her day job as an administrative assistant in the city of
Louisville's department of Inspection, Permits and Licenses.
But she is
serious about her night job, having taken up painting "to fill that empty void
in the evenings when I got home from work."
She works most
evenings at her art side by side with her husband, painter
is also involved in the benefit project for Bridgehaven, a Louisville facility
for the mentally ill.
Their studio is their home, a turn-of-the-century
cottage off St. Catherine Street in Old Louisville, where they have annual art
sales that attract several hundred people.
It all started with the dolls. But when a University of Louisville
professor wanted 300 of the small figures and another person ordered an entire
Christmas tree decorated with them, it quit being quite so much fun.
fingers wore out and that's what's drove me to painting," said Fletcher.
It was a good move.
couple has bought nine of her paintings. Two are from her "Color of Music"
series and will be a centerpiece in the theater room of the house that Terry
and Roschelle-Major Banks are building.
The New Albany-Floyd County
Consolidated School Corp. bought a "Color of Music" painting and a print of an
African woman "Stepping Out" from Fletcher to provide cultural diversity in the
Painter Ann Stewart Anderson of Louisville bought a Fletcher
painting of women in a field wearing colorful hats at one of the artist's first
Anderson said she and her husband enjoy the paintings
because it is so vibrant and full of pattern and color.
recently received a $100 honorable mention for her work selected to be part of
the 88th "Water Tower Annual," on view through April 19. This is Kentucky's
oldest competitive juried art show and is considered by many to be a benchmark
of having arrived.
Art and Images, an art gallery at the Bellevue
Center Mall in Nashville, is representing her work year-round. And Fletcher has
created her own virtual art gallery on the Internet. The address is:
Thomas's Fletcher's husband site is http://www.eugenethomas.com )
Fletcher said she is thrilled to be among the artists working on the
Bridgehaven benefit dinner. The artists will honor the life and work of 67
famous artists, writers, composers, thinkers and scientists who made a cultural
impact despite mental illness.
Fletcher chose American painter Georgia
O'Keeffe. Fletcher's works resemble O'Keeffe's abstract close-ups of flowers.
Fletcher and Thomas have created a wire sculpture of a female artist
for the table centerpiece and have produced eight small paintings in the style
of O'Keefee. The paintings will be gifts from the artists to the diners at that
Fletcher, 49, is highly organized and confident of her
creativity. She has a bachelor's degree from Jefferson Community college, with
a major in interior design done through the University of Louisville.
"I always keep goals (in mind). I try to think a day ahead. I try to be
proactive and not reactive," she said.
Painting is the medium in which
she plans to continue.
"I could never stop painting. My patrons won't
let me, said Fletcher. She said she feels an obligation to continue making art
and to continue her professional growth in order to back up the art that her
collectors often see as an investment.
"I think if I made this my only
career, I think it would be fun," she said.
Her works have been shown
at the Floyd County Museum in New Albany, Ind.; at the Kentucky Center for the
Arts in Louisville; at "Art Expo in Atlanta; at Actors Theatre of Louisville's
annual African-American invitational exhibition; and at the Chicago Jazz
"I didn't know (painting) was going to be successful,
Fletcher said, "God wants me to have it," she explained. "He wants me to
DESPITE A LITTLE stage fright Fletcher,
a native of Nashville, said she enjoys working with students and has given
talks about using creativity to achieve success at Male and Central high
schools, and in the Floyd County schools.
Fletcher said her most
successful works are from the "Color of Music" series. She plans to continue
that series until she has painted a musician on every instrument she can
imagine, perhaps 100 works in all. The musicians are painted in a mosaic" of
skin colors that is a metaphor for society.
"They are integrated
patterns of color working together to create harmony, and that's what we must
all concentrate on more," said Fletcher, "(on) diverse cultures working
together to make this place a better place to live."