Carol was born in the small farming community of Central City, Nebraska. At the time of her birth, her father was a school teacher and a Golden Gloves fighter, and her mother an accomplished church organist. At the age of six, her family moved to Montana, and she has lived there ever since. Painting and drawing really didn’t play an important role in her life, throughout her childhood and teenage years, but she had loved color for as far back into her childhood as she can remember.
She found her passion for painting in 1987 at the age of 25, after her son, Matthew, was born. The genesis of her life as an artist unfolds here. She was searching for an occupation that would allow her to stay at home and raise her child, and still make ends meet. “Becoming a mother was the single most extraordinary event in my life. It awakened a sense of creativity in me, in addition to giving me a sense of overwhelming gratitude, just to have the chance to experience being a mother to such a wonderful son.”
Carol is self taught as an artist. She did not have formal art training, with the exception of taking two workshops with the late Joe Abbrescia, whom she considers to be one of her mentors. She has worked hard to develop her own style of expressing herself on paper and canvas. She has been referred to as a Contemporary Expressionist, and a Colorist. Her paintings come from her heart. They are a contemporary expression of her subject matter, both through her choices of vibrant color, and even the use of very little color, yet more gestural lines, and the textures and marks that she makes. Her work is constantly evolving and growing, as she develops and explores new techniques, in an effort to layer color and texture in more complex ways.
Carol is truly honored to have been invited by the C.M. Russell Museum to be included in their inaugural class of a small group of premier Western Artists in 2014, “The Russell Skull Society of Artists”, and has been invited to participate in the 2015 “Russell Skull Society of Artists” as well.
“I have always drawn my inspiration from the incredible views, skies, colors and landscapes of the West. My passion for horses, and my love for the animals and wildlife that make Montana and the West their home, are truly my inspirations, and what I feel compelled to paint. Color has always spoken to me as a vehicle of conveying both happiness and emotion. I don’t always understand why I am compelled to use the particular colors that I do while working on a painting, other than to trust in the process and the urge to somehow convey, on a different level, the primal language that color alone speaks to me. I can look back on pieces done in the past, however, and it becomes quite clear to me why I used the colors in that painting that I did, at that particular time. I can understand, based on events that were happening that coincided at the same time as the completion of that work…and my emotional reactions to them, why I reached for the colors that I did in that painting. I understand what I was trying to say through the language of color, alone.”
Oil on: Panel, Canvas OR Glass with Cold Wax
"Glass Horses"™ series: It is fascinating to watch each new piece evolve and emerge. Light (from every side) is such an interesting element to bring into play, along with the mix of hues, depth, and textures made in the marks and brushstrokes. Hagan’s “Glass Horses,” as she refers to her new and growing body of work, are nothing short of transcendent.