Carolyn Fox-Hearne: Changes – Inside the Artist’s Studio

By Derrick White

“I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream of warm impermanence. And so, the days float through my eyes, but still, the days seem the same. And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through,” these are lyrics from English, singer-songwriter David Bowie’s song ‘Changes’. This song is cited as Bowie’s official United States debut and the song is also said to be the last song David Bowie performed live on stage before his retirement. Hello, and Happy New Year! Here is a toast to moving forward, to deviations, and to the belief things are going to be hunky-dory. Everything is going to change for the better. Everything is going to be fine. Everything is going to A-okay. Right?

I feel I have been super blessed to have experienced the world of art in my life, from being a practicing artist to a museum director to a professor of art,” states area artist and teacher Carolyn Fox-Hearne. Carolyn is experiencing some changes and new beginnings of her own because, after more than two decades as a cornerstone in the visual arts department at Kilgore College, she has recently retired. Carolyn is one of the first, friendly, fellow creatives who welcomed me to East Texas twenty years ago. She is a gifted, ageless, talented, and encouraging artist and teacher in a wide variety of media who will never realize the full effect and changes her inspiration have had on the lives of her student artists as well as others for generations to come. She served as a full-time instructor of visual arts, gallery director, and symposium coordinator. Over the years, Carolyn has taught a gamut of art courses at Kilgore College including drawing I, drawing II, design I (2-D design), design II (3-D design), sculpture I, sculpture II, art history I, art history II, art appreciation, both as a lecture course and online, and academic cooperative. Carolyn continues to work part-time at the college as an adjunct instructor teaching design I, design II, and sculpture. The visual arts department of Kilgore College provides a comprehensive range of foundation courses, a combination of both studio and lecture classes.

Carolyn Fox-Hearne received her Bachelor of Arts degree in both Spanish and Art from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing primarily on art from the University of Texas at Tyler. She has completed graduate work in art studies at Long Island University in South Hampton, New York. Carolyn taught at LeTourneau University in Longview for ten years. She was also the director of the Longview Museum of Fine Arts for four years. Afterward, she settled in at Kilgore College. She has exhibited her artwork in various shows and exhibitions throughout the United States as well as internationally. Carolyn embraces a broad worldview influenced by her extensive travels both growing up and as an adult. “I grew up in several countries around the world, with my father being Agricultural Attaché for the United States Embassy. I continue to travel and study abroad almost annually,” she informs. In the summer of 2013, Carolyn participated in an artist in residence program in Hilmsen, Germany and exhibited her art in a cathedral there.

“My work is mostly on the realistic side. However, with my encaustic (hot wax painting) work, I tend to incorporate more abstract and non-representational,” Carolyn explains. She continues, “I am a sculptor as well as a painter. I paint with oils, acrylics, and encaustics. I started studying the techniques of encaustic as I was teaching Art History. I wanted to see how the Egypt-Roman mummy portraits were executed and I got hooked. I sculpt in both oil-based and water-based clay. I use oil-based clay when I plan to have the piece cast in bronze. I use the water-based clay, terra cotta, and white stoneware, for firing in the kiln.”

Like a lot of artists, Carolyn explored creative impulses from childhood. She remembers, “I have always drawn and painted as far back as I can remember.” Discussing the benefits art brings to one’s life Carolyn states, “I have had the pleasure of meeting so many interesting people through commissions, art openings, and teaching. Art also gives me such personal satisfaction in creating each piece.” She adds, “I guess I would say I always feel I could do a little better with each piece. I am my own worst critic. However, this is what drives me to do more art. If one achieves perfection, he or she might not be motivated to do more.”

Carolyn finds inspiration in other artists’ work including Kehinde Wiley (American portrait painter based in New York City and who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people. Wiley was commissioned in 2017 to paint the official portrait of President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery). Carolyn also draws from the great artists of art history including Albrecht Dürer (German painter, printmaker, and philosopher of the German Renaissance. Dürer formed a status and impact across Europe with his superior woodcut prints) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian sculptor and architect. While a key notable in architecture, he was also a leading sculptor and recognized with establishing the Baroque style of sculpture).

I have a good feeling it is going to be a banner year and if six months in, it is not, I will change my mind. I welcome the positive changes hopefully headed our way. So, look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers. Congratulations, Carolyn Fox-Hearne and thank you. We appreciate all you have done and all you have continue to give to our East Texas visual arts as well as the positive, creative impact and the inspiration you have had on so many students, fellow artists, collectors, and community members throughout the decades. Thank you for the constructive changes you have made in our region. Everything is waiting for you. Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.

For more information about the artwork of Carolyn Fox-Hearne, please visit:


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