Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Artist Carol Ann Cain keeps her inspiration close to home, as she paints nature found along historic Niceville’s Bay Shore Drive or around the bayous or even along State Highway 20 heading east.

“Every day it changes,” Cain said about some of her scenery choices. “My goal is it’s about painting something fresh from the same information, like at Turkey Creek.”

Cain, who came to the area about 30 years ago with her husband, Bill Cain, said the woods behind their home in Valparaiso provided the first inspiration for her post-modern impressionistic landscapes. When the young family moved into Niceville, she no longer had the woods in her backyard.

The art, she said, keeps the woods in her home.

Cain, painting with acrylics, describes herself as a local artist working locally, painting local subjects.

Much of Cain’s training is also local: “I’ve taken every art class at the college that I could,” she said. “Two dimensional helped most. That opened my eyes to a whole lot of things.”

Cain did say she often repeats her scenes, sometimes painting the same location time and again.

“When I knew that other artists did the same thing, I was validated. I’m allowed to do my Boggy over and over,” she added. “Because I’m so familiar with my resource material, I’m not fighting composition.” Instead, she can focus on brush strokes and colors.

Those colors come from her painter’s palette, where she arranges the colors before applying it to canvas.

“It’s kind of like playing,” Cain said. If I have two colors meet together and I mix them, that’s the play mode.

“That’s what inspires me, my palette. I never lay it out the same; if it gets a bit messy, I just use it,” she said.

The Boggy paintings, she added, can be messy because the Northwest Florida woods do get a little busy. When the busy takes over, Cain puts aside her acrylics and focuses on sumi-e, a type of Japanese ink painting that creates complex scenes with minimal brush strokes.


Woman pointing at a painting
Local artist Carol Ann Cain examines the texture of a completed work.

“When I knew that other artists did the same thing, I was validated. I’m allowed to do my Boggy over and over,” she added. “Because I’m so familiar with my resource material, I’m not fighting composition."

Ties En Vogue

Beyond the art, Cain found an additional medium inspired in part by her husband and his vocation.

“For a long time, I have wanted to make ties,” she said. “My husband’s a pastor; he has to dress nice for church.”

“He always asks me to pick out his tie,” Cain continued. “I like the way a tie can bring a shirt and pants together.”

Cain sourced a U.S. company for fabric and the transference of her work onto the fabric; she contracts with Valparaiso seamstress Mary Hencinski, who manufactures neck ties, bow ties, coasters and mini wallets. People can walk around with a little bit of Boggy in their pockets.

Cain shows great love for her four daughters: Gileah, Emma, Sarah and Maranatha. She and Bill have 13 grandchildren. They and her art keep this artist grounded in Boggy.

To learn more about Carol Ann Cain’s art you can head to her website.  She has pieces in Signature Art Gallery, Tallahassee; locally, Cain’s studio and original art and merchandise can be found within Artful Things, 1087 John Sims Parkway, Niceville.

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