Carol Novotne graduated with honors from the University of Montana in 1970 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree. She studied ceramics under Rudy Audio, jewelry making and gold casting under Maxine Blackmere and painting with Walter Hook. In 1976,she received her Master’s degree in Anthropology, which she later taught as a Field Archaeologist at Carroll College. In 1990, Governor Stan Stevens appointed her to the Montana Arts Council. She served on the Arts Council until 2003. In 1983, Carol became the director of the Helena Art Center, School of Fine Arts. Under her direction, the school expanded the arts curriculum to include ceramics and sculpture for adults and introduced classes for children. Today, Carol remains on the Board of Directors of the Art Center and takes an active role in the new innovative artist based approach to the organization
Helena artist Novotne began painting at an early age and held her first professional show at age 16. Carol is recognized for her strong use of color and texture on large oil canvasses and her refined delicate watercolors. Carol’s favorite subject matter is the vast landscape and grassy field of Montana. In oils, her canvasses are large, impressionistic in tone and color, while her watercolors reflect the technical control blended with a traditional approach.
Carol’s extensive travels have also profoundly influenced her art. When she returns to her studio, the inspiration of her travels combined with the beauty of Montana result in the marvelous landscapes for which she is known. The beauty of a field or wildflowers seems made to fit the colors of her palette. Her paintings evoke emotion and mood, with many having a spiritual quality to them. Carol said, “I live in a world of light and of texture, of movement, wind and of prisms of color and shadow-colors. I look to paint a single short moment in time and place and I see it everywhere in the beauty of Montana’s changing seasons.
Carol established Beargrass Studio in Helena, MT, where she continues to create her beautiful paintings and draws inspiration from the vast valley in front of her home backed by the Rocky Mountain Front.