As soon as her youngest child graduated from high school, Rebecca Lawson Carruth enrolled in a painting class at the Anderson Arts Center. “I jumped in with everybody who’d been doing it a long time,” she said. “I still get teased about that first painting. It was pretty bad. But it made me determined to improve.”
Carruth had experimented a bit with oil painting as a teenager but lacked the tools to pursue it. Besides, she became busy raising a family and working a variety of jobs including sewing at a manufacturing plant; serving as a church administrative assistant; and perhaps her favorite experience, buying art and antiques at auctions and then reselling them on eBay.
But once she had the time, she immersed herself in her newfound passion, moving from oils to watercolors to acrylics. She has taken classes at various places, including at Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh, North Carolina, and week-long workshops at Springmaid Resort in Myrtle Beach. Her most constant mentor has been AAG member Ruth Hopkins. “I’ve spent more instructional hours with her than anyone else, I think,” said Carruth. “I could always call her if I had an issue or needed some guidance.”
Carruth was a founding member of the Art Gallery on Pendleton Square and also has her work in Bay 3 at the Anderson Arts Center. And she is part of a weekly painting group at the Arts Center called The Thursday Girls.
Her current focus is on pouring, a technique she learned about through YouTube videos. “I use it as a background,” she said. “It has helped me to be a little more creative in my thinking as I come up with ideas for what to do with it.” She often paints realistic objects such as birds over the poured background. One of her favorite sources for these realistic elements is Paint My Photo, a social networking site for sharing photos as artistic inspiration (https://pmp-art.com/).
She spends hours mixing paint to get the right color and consistency. Each paint has a different density, so heavier ones sink to the bottom while lighter ones rise to the top. “If you’re going for a certain look or color, you’ve got to pay attention to how you’re mixing each color,” she said. “For instance, if you want the main color to be red, it must be thin enough to come to the top.”
The effort has been worth it. “I’ve been selling pretty good,” she said. “I’ve probably had more interest in this than anything else I’ve ever done.”