The Art of Giving: Ena Carroll Creates For a Cause  
LaRissa Grover

There is something about Ena Carroll’s art that simultaneously catches the eye and intrigues the mind­­—whether it’s the color that harmoniously pops out, the imaginative yet realistic quality of a startling portrait or the rush of a snapshot moment caught on fresh canvas. And yet there is a unique, unseen element to Carroll’s work that could easily go unnoticed, and that is the art of giving.

picture of Ena Carroll
Ena Carroll
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of Carroll's art.

Carroll’s interest for art began when she was just three years old. Living in the former Yugoslavia, in Beograde (pronounced Bel-grade), she had an artist neighbor.

 “I vividly remember his studio and his paintings,” Carroll recalled. “Since then, I have always had a love for playing with paint.”

When she was twelve, she moved to the U.S. Despite her love for art, Carroll decided to study international relations in college. Concerned with how their daughter would support herself, her parents discouraged her from being an artist.

Originally, Carroll had convinced herself that art would be her hobby—just something she could do on the side. Now Carroll has realized that she constantly needs creativity in her life.

“It would be very hard to work as a non-creative person,” Carroll said.

Even if no one was interested in her art, Carroll said she would go to her studio every day to work.

“Art was really my first love,” Carroll explained. “And now, it has come back to consume me.”

Carroll does all sorts of art, but painting is her most common medium. Quite often Carroll will paint colorful flower bouquets, typically from her own garden. In these paintings, Carroll creates intriguing dimension with her use of various materials including marker, pencils and layered paint, which create unique color and texture combination that are both glossy and matte. The result is a vibrant painting - one that looks as if it is coming right off the paper. Some of these creations Carroll gives to friends and family.

flower painting
Ena Carroll
Birdhouse with Clematis Vine: Pencil, marker, watercolor, pencils and acrylic on
cardboard (5in X 14in)

“I do (art) for myself, but I’d much rather make someone happy with a piece than sell something,” Carroll said.

According to Carroll, artists usually have a choice to make: whether they are going to create art for themselves and work by their own standards or strive to make a profit.

 “To tell the truth—I dislike doing commissions,” Carroll said. “As an artist you have confidence in your ability to please yourself but it’s very hard to think of what it takes to please someone else.”

Carroll said she finds it especially difficult when someone wants a painting of their child and showing the finished product can be very nerve-racking. She is always tempted to say: “You don’t have to buy this." Although she does not turn down commissions, Carroll doesn't feel they are worthwhile because of the intense time commitment and uncertainty of whether it will please another person. She recognizes living as a professional artist is especially difficult because producing work for other people can force artists to compromise.

Consequently, Carroll has not always been happy with what she has made, even if the client was pleased with the work.

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