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 formed the basis for her success today was the passion she had for painting.
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 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. "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. You could call my work still life paintings, I prefer to think of 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.”