Brynn Carter

By Jennifer Smith

Brynn Carter is a local painter, illustrator, and author. She is a member of the Corvallis Art Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She volunteers at the Corvallis Art Center, and has recently written and illustrated three books: A Tale of Goldilocks, The Puppet Explained, and Fins as Frog’s Hair.

Carter graduated with a BA in art in 1972, but has been an artist since she was three years old with her mother and grandmother as her inspiration.

“The first art activity I remember was making a paper mache duck puppet with my mom. I was maybe three or four years old. I was always in awe of the marvelous things my mom and grandmother had created.”


There was a time, however, when she took a break from being a full-time artist to focus on her family and education career.

“There was about a 40-year period when I was distracted—life stuff—my family and career as an educator took priority. I still did creative things, like sewing costumes and fabric dolls, but I seldom drew anything. I actually lost all my skills and confidence. Then when I retired, I chose to ‘reinvent’ myself as an artist. And when I found that I could consistently take a piece of blank paper and turn it into something worth a glance and worthy of interest, I decided I was… an artist. I’m definitely still learning, but I think I’ve come full circle.”

After her retirement as an educator, she has taken an art class every semester at the Benton Center with Mark Allison.

“That first semester, winter 2012, I could not draw a cylinder with confidence. I have come a long way, and I want to tell everyone we are never too old to learn.”

For Carter, the best part about being an artist is the transformation of self from a human being to a vehicle for art. Once she’s made sure she has a lot of free time and plenty of drop cloths in her area, she thinks about something that interests her and finds resources to help inform that idea.

“I think of an overall idea with a certain tone and composition, and then I can find real objects or 2-D images for reference. When drawing from real life, I look for what interests me. If I’m drawing from a model, some part of the figure as it is posed may be more interesting than another. It is not necessary to depict the entire pose. My work is not done with as much planning as what others might describe in their processes. I will sometimes do thumbnail sketches and indicate color schemes, but I’m too intuitive to do value drawings.”

Carter’s medium of choice is acrylic for painting, and colored pencils, pens, and watercolor paints for drawing. She enjoys classic realists, so her favorite artist is Raphael with his depictions of form and subject manner. She also likes various illustrator works.

“I appreciate bold lines, shapes, and colors that tell a story, especially in a humorous way. I think David Shannon, who does illustrations for children’s books, creates paintings that are delightful.”

If you’re thinking about exploring your artistic side, Carter’s advice is to trust yourself.
“You will know when marks, forms, and intensity are expressing your ideas; viewers may or may not receive or perceive what you intend. Still, you will know when you have made your statement.”

You can find Brynn Carter’s art in the Corvallis Art Guild’s Hanging Around Town and Canby Arts Associations “Arts in Business” activities.

“I would love to collaborate with authors and illustrate their works. I am also eager to do portraitures, informally like I did during the da Vinci Days activities or as commissioned work.”

More of Brynn Carter’s art can be seen on her website: