I grew up in a large family, being the third of eight children. We lived in Rochester, New York until I was nine years old. At that time, my family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where my father had accepted a new job.
My siblings and I had no real grasp of what living in the Southwest would be like. We pictured it as wild, untamed desert full of dangerous creepy crawlies. Once there, we found it quite civilized, though it was much hotter than we had imagined. We settled fairly quickly into our new home and surroundings.
I was dubbed “The Artist” of the family when I was young because I could usually be found sketching or working on other arts and crafts projects. It was probably also because I could draw a reasonable facsimile of whatever was asked of me. I loved to curl up on the couch and spend hours sketching. I was in the calm eye of a storm that was the everyday ruckus of my family. To escape the commotion of real life I would draw my own orderly worlds. To this day, the best way I have to express myself is by creating art.
Linoleum block printing became another of my passions after I learned the craft in high school. The simple nature and repetitive possibilities of this form of printmaking really appealed to me. By then, I was sewing most of my own clothing and could add my own print designs to the garments I made.
I chose to major in Studio Art at Arizona State University for the sole reason that I loved to draw. Something changed, though, when I took my first required painting class. There was something about the physicality of standing at the easel, dabbing my brush into that array of colors, and feeling the brushstrokes flow from somewhere within. There was no turning back. When I graduated with my B.A. in 1979, I was a painter at heart.
After college, I worked at “regular jobs” for many years while continuing to create art in my free time. I exhibited work in a variety of venues throughout Arizona. I met my husband-to-be, Pat, when he was hired by one of the companies where I worked. We married. A few years later, we welcomed our only child, Molly, to the family.
In 1997, our family moved back east to Maryland for Pat’s new job, settling just north of Baltimore in Baltimore County. I was able to concentrate on raising Molly and, as time permitted, continue my creative studies by taking classes and workshops given by notable artists/instructors.
I have been active in the community in general and in the arts community in Baltimore, Baltimore County, and the surrounding areas. For two years, I was the Art Auction Chair for Baltimore Outreach Services’ (BOS) New Beginnings Spring Gala. BOS is a nonprofit organization in the city of Baltimore that provides housing, education, and jobs for homeless women and their children. I volunteered for four years to act as a Visual Arts Juror for the PTA Reflections Program at Cockeysville Middle School in Cockeysville, Maryland. This national student recognition program encourages artistic creativity in the classroom and at home.
I have been involved with many local arts organizations, participating in programs, exhibitions, and volunteering for a wide variety of activities. I was a long-time member of the Women Artists’ Forum, a Baltimore County volunteer association promoting the arts and local artists. As an artist, I learned extra valuable lessons while being involved with this group by holding the positions of Co-President, Program Chair, and Membership Chair.
If you have any questions or comments about my artwork, please contact me.
Here are testimonials from happy clients/collectors of Carol McGraw’s artwork:
“We met Carol McGraw about ten years ago when she volunteered to help judge Middle School artwork for a PTA Reflections Program, a service that she continued to do for many years.
She invited us to a show where some of her artwork was on display and, since then, we have followed her career through attending various shows and studio tours.
We currently own six McGraw paintings which grace the walls of our home, including “The Crow Maiden Waves Goodbye,” “Daffodils,” and “Phoenix Rising.” We love Carol’s use of color and form and love watching the evolution of her work over the years. The paintings reflect different phases of her art yet provide a cohesive tapestry of style, color, and movement.
Each day, Carol’s art has provided us with joy.”
– William and Lisa Feustle, Baltimore County, MD, 2017