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Born in Tianjin China in 1961, Carle Shi has painted for as long as she can recall. “I remember receiving encouragement to paint from my family as far back as when I was 8 years old,” she says. “They told me to paint whatever I wanted and told me that I could be a great artist. To a child, that was a wonderful thing to hear.” The confidence instilled in her by her family and easily apparent artistic talent enabled Carle to apply for an opening at the prestigious Tianjin Art School. “The school was very difficult to get into and accepted very few students each year. I was one of the lucky ones.” The young Carle thrived in an environment of formal, classical art training. Studying under Chinese master painter Jin Shang Yi, Carle flourished and learned through repetition, attention to detail and the strict adherence to the “foundations” of artistic training. Perspective, light and shadow and figure drawing were strongly reinforced and helped Carle to establish a firm “understanding” of all of the elements necessary to create a technically strong painting. What set her apart from the other students and subsequently formed the basis for her success today was the passion she had for painting.
“I love to paint. I would not want to do anything else. I have been given the ability to bring an object to life on a canvas and I am very grateful for that,” she says. And while her still-life paintings have won numerous awards over the years, the secret to her success is that she treats each object depicted as if she were painting a person, rather than an object. ‘My first love is the human figure, but I enjoy painting still life work as well. I treat each apple, pear or cherry as if it were a person with its own personality. “You could call my work still life paintings, I prefer to think as them as ‘portraits.” I depict the fruits and vegetables in my paintings as if I was painting the figure and all of the emotions that accompany it.” “A successful painting is one in which people want to reach out and touch the works.” If you look at Rembrandt’s paintings, you can “feel” the light streaming into the work. There is life in his paintings and I would like people to see the life in my works as well.” The Smithsonian Institute of Fine Art in Washington, D.C. recently honored Carle with top honors in their National Portrait competition in 2006. Most recently, Carle had a collection of her pieces featured in the United Nations Gallery in New York. A recent graduate from the Masters Program at the New York Academy of Arts’ graduate School of Figurative Art, Carle Shi is creating landmark works in which the human figure acts as a vehicle for intensely emotional statements.