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 About Carolyn

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by a vast, seemingly endless,

source of inspiration...

Australian born Carolyn Donovan’s work is a visual journal of wild and beautiful terrain. An ethical approach to nature and the environment is evident in all her paintings, making her work both emotive statement pieces and highly desirable.

Beginning art tuition at a very young age, a strong artistic environment saw her sketching recognisable portraits at the age of two. Many of her mother’s family were artists – her uncle, George Duncan, and aunt, Alison Rehfisch, forming part of the close-knit bohemian artists’ pack that included other regarded Australian artists, Norman Lindsay, William Dobell, Dora Jarret, Grace Cossington Smith, Douglas Stewart and Margaret Coen.  “I know they held wild parties in their city studio,” Donovan recalls. At one such risqué fancy-dress ‘loincloth party’ in their studio, Norman Lindsay did a voluptuous painting of a bare-breasted Rehfisch dancing in a grass skirt - which is still exhibited today.

Growing up in Sydney, Donovan completed her education at the Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School. As a child, she was already being commissioned to sketch, illustrate and paint. "There isn't a point where I recall starting to draw,” she says. “It was something I felt I was born being able to do. My earliest memories are painting, sculpting, drawing and reading - it was my entire life. It surrounded me, fed my imagination and consumed our family activities. I went to an artistic school. My parents were arty. We were always in galleries or in the garage making things. So I was always creating, or around other people who were creating."

Donovan worked in the fashion and advertising industry throughout Europe, Japan and America in the 1990’s, attending art classes wherever she resided. Returning to Australia, she undertook more formal fine art training, studying at the Queensland College of Art in 2005.

Using these foundations, heavily layered with a love of ecology, spirited colour, and the unmistakable characteristics of growing up in Australia,  her vibrant, refreshing depictions of life are fast becoming highly collectable with both Australian buyers and across the globe, featuring in numerous national and international collections.

Up until 2019, Donovan mainly worked with private clients, as she enjoys designing artwork to suit a space; however, successful New York shows in 2019 quickly gained the attention of international buyers and some of her work is now represented by Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim at HG Contemporary in New York, California and Madrid.

Most recently, the Australian Consulate General of New York acquired six pieces in the God’s Eye View series of work for a permanent installation in their Manhattan gallery, after her sell-out exhibition in New York in May 2019. Raising interest with its boldly coloured aerial abstracts, works from the series were also included in formal events for the United Nations Global Assembly NYC in September 2019, focusing on global climate issues.

Look closely for the many lines and strokes, dots, scratches and markings that make up each painting. She often personalises customised artwork with words or initials to be discovered with delight by the new owner.



Of the Gods Eye View Series:

“From the sparkling edges of rugged coastlines, spanning across to the centre of one of the longest and oldest volcanic lines in the world, the Australian landscape is exhilarating when viewed from above: A vast, seemingly endless, sense of abundant inspiration.” 

Of the Pave Paradise Series:

“The lines from a Joni Mitchell song, ‘they paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ came to mind when I started using bitumen. This thick, dexterous material almost decides for itself how it will be painted, but the message behind this fresh new series lasts longer than the heady aroma of bitumen drying. Just as progress and industry is necessary in our rapidly expanding world, so is using and repurposing materials intentionally in ways to benefit and enhance our living.”  – Carolyn Donovan



God's Eye View
The Monash Room Gallery

Australian Consulate-General, New York  NY, US

Solo Exhibition
May 23 - August 30  2019

Land Down Under

UNGA 74 Environmental Summit

Australian Formalities NYC, US

Solo Exhibition
Sept 17 - Sept 30  2019

Works by Carolyn Donovan

Australian Consulate-General, New York  NY, US

Permanent Installation
January 2020

Not Nude

Wabi Sabi Noosa, Australia

Group Exhibition
October 2020


Doug Moran National Portrait Prize

Sydney, NSW


October 2019

Custom Artwork

Live Painting 

Artist Talks


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