Recently I asked the Australian painter and illustrator Caroline Magerl a few questions about her art. She’s an artist that seems to benefit from the two arts (illustrating and painting), rather than one distracting or detracting from the other.
Her quirky little characters are brooding and self reflective on canvas, yet become whimsical and joyous in her many children’s books.
1) If you had to choose between illustrating books or painting on canvas, what would you choose and why?
The trouble with illustrating is that you must find common ground with someone else’s story. It means you must walk down their road and not your own. Not to say I don’t enjoy the stroll, but in the long run, it means my own ends are not being met. So I have to say, I prefer to paint.
2) Your paintings seem very intimate, like they could be pages of your diary. Are they real or imagined?
Funny you ask, because I’ve kept dairies for 5 years and from the drawing and writing I do daily in these books come my final paintings. Very perceptive of you! Like the Elvis Costello song ‘Everyday I write the book!’
3) Have you had much success from starting your website? Any tips for artists that currently don’t have a website?
The website is a point of contact, to people interested in art. I made a decision at the beginning of my journey into fine art, not to sell directly. I leave all that side to my galleries, so the website doesn’t necessarily amount directly to sales. It does however give me the opportunity to talk with potential buyers, other artists, etc about my work and art in general, without any sales to speak on my part. Who can afford not to have contact with people? My advise would be get a website and a nerdy husband to update it for you.
4) What are you working on at the moment? And where are you exhibiting next?
I have just opened in a mixed show at Milton House gallery in Mackay. Next, I’m writing my own picture book, which Allen and Unwin will publish next year. I will also show next year at Impressions on Paper in Canberra. I think I’m at the end of a phase in my work, and have a fair idea of where to go next. The diaries map out the emotional ground, and navigation made more possible.