These paintings by nationally renowned self-taught artist, conservationist, educator and award winner, Carol Decker, are the result of a lifelong journey of learning! Since the age of twelve she has been a painter, still owning her first watercolor of a bird. A clear prophetic direction. A wife and homemaker, she has been weaving art in and out of living, and raising two sons, Roy and Clint. Always learning, learning. She has painted and copied many of the Old Masters during her young years to increase her skills. She can mix colors or match colors as easily as breathing–second nature. All this is a gift for this self-taught artist. Carols resides with her husband, Roy, in the foothills of the Kittatinny Mountains and forests of northwestern New Jersey. She has spent countless hours studying the birds and animals in the field and a lifetime painting wildlife and its environment. At times even straying from her usual subject specialty of nature and wildlife, she has also included several buildings in Sussex County to help preserve or recapture them in art to bring attention to the needs of these historical icons, such as Layton General Store, featurin gthe Mail Pouch signage, Winding Brook Far, Lusscroft Far, and Kuser Mansion which is the only building that is no longer present at High Point State Park. “I have many times utilized my gift to help a cause. It gives gratification and greater meaning to being an artist to use it this way. I feel good when I’m creating. I want people to feel good when they view my work, an emotional contact, a smile, a sense of calm, and to shine a light on the beauty around us, however small, unnoticed and underfoot.”
Over the years, her sensitive use of color and her realistic and finely detailed art, in acrylics, oils, and pen & ink, have brought her many national awards and noted achievements. Carol Decker’s artwork is well respected in New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally.
A highlight at the 2014 NJ State Fair/Sussex County Farm & Horse Show was being invited to paint the street art fiberglass life size pig, “When Pigs Fly,” covered with fine art painted birds, benefiting the Fair Development Fund. The artist donated her time and talent to this fundraising event.
She had the honor of being chosen by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (NJ and PA) to design and paint two ornaments to be displayed on the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room honoring our National Parks, and attended the Christmas White House Artist’s Reception. In 2008 she was chosen as “Citizen of the Year” for her philanthropy and support of many charity and non-profit organizations with her art.
In 1999, she won the International Migratory Bird Day Poster competition sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C. and won the Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design, a “First Place” New York City Salmagundi Club award, a “Best Of Show” NJ Wings & Waterfowl award, numerous finalist awards, and the New Jersey Woodcock Stamp design, and commissioned to provide the artwork for “Teaming With Wildlife,” a national funding initiative in Washington D.C. to benefit all wildlife and it’s habitats to mention a few.
Her art is well respected in New Jersey for the more than 80 original paintings featuring the state’s wildlife appearing in New Jersey Outdoors magazine and “New Jersey Wildlife Profiles,” a book published by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. This book containing 52 of Decker’s paintings is now sold out. Another notable book is “Bridges to the Natural World,” by the NJ Audubon Society, and environmental teaching publication in its fourth printing and reaching international coverage. Carol states “I want my work to stand for more than just its aesthetic value. Environmental education is so important to maintain our outdoor space and its wildlife–its qiets and enriches our lives. With hard work and luck, I’m in a position to share my art. How blessed to be given this gift to see nature and animals and have the ability to put it before you…as my gift. In addition to creating for pleasure, my work extends itself to bring attention to and benefit the needs of nature, wildlife and people. I’ve known this all my life and began this art journey in early childhood.”
Carol has also painted a series of six collector plates for Bradford Exchange; her work has appeared in or on countless magazines, books, calendars, posters, cards, prints, and apparel over the years. She has appeared on several television programs and has been a keynote speaker many times.
Carol’s artwork is licensed by American Art Images for use on many national decorative and gift items including greeting cards, calendar, canvas art, hand cut wood puzzles, cross-stitch patterns, magnetic mailbox covers, ornaments, sandstone coasters, and flags to name a few.
“Painting primarily in acrylics, which are fast drying, allows me to use many techniques to achieve my goals. I’ve always been a student of painting light, and will continue to learn about this quality in my work. Without light there is no life. Since my style is one of realism and fine detail, the light is what makes it real.
“I think a self-taught artist comes along a little slower and perhaps has to work a little harder especially since my subject matter required me to also become a naturalist. Before I could accurately paint the animal and plant life, I had to be very knowledgeable of both-also an ongoing study. Someone once told me a while ago, ‘You have arrived!’ I just smiled to myself and thought I hope that never happens, as the journey is more fun and is the reward, not the destination. I strive to bring the beauty and serenity of my scenes realistically to everyone as I see them–like being there looking over my shoulder.”