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Contemporary Realism Painter Carin Gerard Shares Her Journey from Foster Care to Fine Artist to the Stars

Story by lisa stamos

Carin Gerard was surrounded by art and aesthetics as a child. Her mom, who trained at Miami University of Ohio earning a BFA, was a painter who encouraged her daughter to paint. Her father was an architect, and the family lived in a Jospeh Eichler home. Eichler’s Mid-Century Modern architectural style helped rebuild the American Dream by offering spacious design with innovative, yet affordable construction techniques. For Carin, her family’s Eichler home was a gem to her, one that presented elements of clean design and lines, traditional materials, and minimal ornamentation. Today, these are hallmarks of Carin’s oil paintings which have attracted a famous clientele. Her NFT collection of animated butterflies is planned to drop in Fall 2022.

Yet with such a strong start, Carin began her experience with foster care by age 11. When she talks about her childhood, the thoughtfulness of her gentle words conveys incredible peace, clarity, and forgiveness that only can come from the heart. Carin experienced 25 different schools before entering 5th grade, and watched as her biological mom, who raised Carin and her sister and brother alone after a divorce, struggle to take care of them while fighting the destruction of substance abuse. The family was on welfare, and there was no stability. When her mom died at 36, and her father did not take them in, a Lutheran Church with a Children’s Aid Society stepped up. No one family could take them all, so the three were separated to live with different foster families.

“The families [who took us in] were excellent,” Carin says. “The blessing of foster care changed my life, giving me stability, and I lived with a pastor and his family.” As a father figure, the pastor “had the words” Carin so needed in their conversations. Most importantly, Carin says they approached foster care the right way. “I was made to feel that I was a part of the family,” she said. “At the dinner table, I was seated in the middle. I felt I was an insider. They were inclusive. This gave me confidence and I wanted to make them proud.” She lived with the family in Ohio through college when she then graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA degree from Bowling Green State University.

After college, Carin moved to Florence, Italy, where her adult life and art found inspiration.As her career took shape, Carin was accepted to the prestigious John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, California. She since has had numerous exhibits at John Pence and SCAPE Galleries, and her work sells out. The large canvases, some 84 x 72-inches, have caught the attention of Dolly Parton, Sherri Crichton, Patricia Gucci, and Simon Sinek, who all own some of her paintings. Her show at SCAPE in Corona Del Mar, California, opens in October 2022.

Carin infuses her life experience, travels, and education on color theory and techniques of the Italian and Spanish masters into her sublime visions of nature. She captures a singular moment, starting with the Grisaille technique to develop an underpainting, then blending in the Classical Realism of the Renaissance era with the spirit and spontaneity of contemporary art.

Today, Carin lives in Southern California where she and Tony, her husband, enjoy their beautiful home near Montecito. Carin returns to Florence, Italy several times a year. Her home there (she has a fractional ownership), the restored 14th century Palazzo Tornabuoni, was once owned by the Medici family. There, she spends time in her studio to nourish her creativity and her soul.

Carin Gerard may be reached at carin@caringerard.com. Visit caringerard.com. Follow @carin_gerard_art.

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Quintessential America is about stories made in America. It’s about people who follow their dreams, share their talents, and strive to help others. Lisa Stamos is the founder of Quintessential Media.

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Contemporary painter Carin Gerard. Photo by: Christy Gutzeit.
Photos by: William Dewey