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An Eye for the Weathered and Well-Used Brings Charm to Carole Wilson's Realistic Watercolors

Big Wheels Keep On Turning; 12 x 16 watercolor; Strathmore Aquarius 90 lb. watercolor paper.

Prints available, $45

Watercolor realist, Carole Wilson, a Palos Heights, IL resident, sees beauty in everyday items others might quickly overlook. If they’re old and weathered by use or the elements, Carole finds the unspoken story they reveal fascinating.

“I’ve traveled to Europe many times and loved discovering the architecture including weathered building materials, rough-hewn wooden shutters framing old windows, vintage doorknobs or old-fashioned mailboxes,” she says. “The look, feel, and attitude of worn items makes me want to paint them. I like asking myself, ‘How many hands turned that knob – who were they and where were they going?’ It’s that interaction of people and their surrounding things that brings them to life through daily use, and in turn, intrigues me.”

Carole believes world travel expands a person’s view like nothing else.

“In the United States, we don’t know old,” she continues. “When you visit Egypt and see the pyramids, the Baltic countries like Russia or Poland, or colorful buildings stacked on a hillside in Italy, it’s a visual delight giving you a new appreciation for old.”

When seeing Carole’s work for the first time, it’s hard to believe she didn’t study art until adulthood when she began regularly taking classes in the area. However, it’s no surprise to learn that as a child she was always drawing or coloring. Today, she paints from her own photo references taken during her many travels.


While accompanying her mother to chemotherapy treatments several years ago, an idea occurred to her. She watched patients with nothing else to do simply nod off in their chairs or stare at their IV bags wondering, when will this be done?

With her idea in hand, she approached the Director of the Cancer Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. She proposed volunteering to paint with Medical Oncology patients during their treatment.

“Three hours of chemotherapy go by much faster when engaged in an art project,” Carole says. “Suddenly the most important thing on their minds is whether to use yellow or orange as they become engrossed in their project. Art gives patients something else to focus on – something that’s positive.”

For several years, Carole followed patients through their chemo treatments until their art project was completed and taken home. Some were framed for display in the medical oncology area.

Because of COVID-19 and subsequent ownership changes at that medical center, she is no longer providing therapeutic art there. However, she continues to work with cancer survivors and cancer patients undergoing treatment. She also produces an annual calendar featuring student artwork.


“Joyful!” Carole instantly replies. “Whether I was teaching at the hospital, other places or working at home, I paint because it brings me joy. And if someone else likes what I’ve created enough to welcome it into their own home -- well, that’s the cherry on the top. While I’m painting, I put music on, have my cat nearby, sit and engage in my passion – it’s such a privilege. Painting makes me happy.”

She adds that she feels very blessed her biggest fan is also the love of her life, her husband, Gaines. Together they enjoy traveling and look forward to when they can explore the world safely again. And, Carole, can continue discovering more of those fine, weathered things hiding in plain sight.

She is part of the Alliance of Fine Art and a signature member of the Illinois Watercolor Society. Additionally, you can find her teaching at the LaGrange Art League in LaGrange, IL.

Learn more about her at: Carole Wilson Watercolors

Scroll down to view more of her artwork…

CANNED GOODS; 16.5 x 10.5 watercolor on Strathmore Aquarius 90 lb. watercolor paper

Original $695; prints $45

RED ROOSTER CAFE; 10-3/4 x 16-1/4; watercolor on Strathmore Aquarius 90 lb. watercolor paper; Original $850

VERTIGRE DOOR KNOB; 8-1/2 X 11-1/4; WATERCOLOR; Original $450; Prints $45

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE 7 x 11 watercolor on Strathmore Aquarius 90 lb. watercolor paper; Original $475; Prints $45


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