Painting for the people: Art is in Evergreen’s Tom and Carol Newsom’s blood

Deb Hurley Brobst
Posted 4/9/21

It is likely that most residents here unknowingly have some of Carol and Tom Newsom’s artwork in their homes.

If by some odd chance their art isn’t in your home, then you’ve seen …

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Painting for the people: Art is in Evergreen’s Tom and Carol Newsom’s blood

Posted

It is likely that most residents here unknowingly have some of Carol and Tom Newsom’s artwork in their homes.

If by some odd chance their art isn’t in your home, then you’ve seen it around Evergreen — on business windows, on posters advertising summer events and more.

The Newsoms are integral to the Evergreen arts scene, embedding themselves in everything artistic since moving here in 2005. They are artistic professionals to the core, each putting in 50 years as painters.

Among other things, Carol, 72, has been a children’s book illustrator for decades, while Tom, 77, has designed the artwork for food companies and is well known for his Santa Claus cards, paintings and even jigsaw puzzles.

“They are both so talented that it does not take a lot of angst to finish any piece unlike many inexperienced artists,” said Beth Riser, owner of the Evergreen Gallery. “The Newsoms just do it methodically. I’ve been to their studio with works in progress, and it’s a recipe to them.”

Art is in their blood — and their sons, Andy, 46, and Philip 43, are artists, too. In fact, Philip designed the 2019 Evergreen angel pendant named Serenity.

The couple converted their garage into their art studio, split in half so Tom has space “for his junk” and Carol has space “for her junk,” as Carol puts it. The walls are lined with their creations, their art library and copies of books they have illustrated.

They open their studio most years during the annual Open Door Studios tour of home studios — called a highlight of the tour for experienced and new artists along with art lovers.

Carol

Carol, a watercolorist, paints portraits, landscapes, pets and more, plus she has painted the windows of downtown Evergreen and Bergen Park businesses. 2020 is the first year she says she hasn’t illustrated a book since her career began in the early 1970s.

“Carol is amazing with her energy and how she challenges herself physically and artistically,” Riser said. “She’s always painting with an incredibly unique vision.”

She’s been teaching painting classes via Zoom for Center for the Arts Evergreen, and she also paints commissioned pieces and fine art.

“Carol is a talented artist and a wonderful teacher for Center for the Arts,” said CAE’s marketing director Sara Miller. “Her students always comment on Carol’s teaching style — they learn while having fun. She is so adaptable and always coming up with new classes that meet the needs of her students. We’re thrilled that Carol has gifted CAE with her talents and easy-going personality.”

Carol has designed several posters over the years for the Evergreen Music Festival and the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival.  She also participates in the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Show at CAE.

When she isn’t creating art or teaching, she is an avid bicyclist and skier, and avid doesn’t begin to describe it. In the art studio are dozens of medals she has won in racing events.

Tom

Tom, who went to college to be an aerospace engineer, worked summers at that time drawing portraits at the Six Flags theme park outside Arlington, Texas. He decided to get an art degree instead and began his career as a book illustrator.

About 30 years ago, he was asked to create a Santa-themed painting in a more traditional, Norman Rockwell-esque style. He enjoyed it so much, he continues to this day. He uses the gouache painting style, which is similar to an opaque watercolor.

Tom even has a full Santa suit, so he can be his own model, and there’s a Santa hat hanging from his easel.

Tom routinely did artist demonstrations at Main Street Fine Art Gallery, which was in downtown Evergreen, and at Evergreen’s Holiday Walk.

He creates art for companies — Celestial Seasonings tea boxes, Little Debbie holiday snack boxes and Costco Christmas cookie tins — in addition to Christmas cards and Christmas jigsaw puzzles. He also paints landscapes and fine-art pieces.

There’s a model of the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars” hanging from the ceiling — a tribute to Tom’s aerospace engineering days and to having two boys, according to Carol.

The couple

The couple are about everything artistic. They have been married 51 years, noting that it hasn’t been easy to be professional artists, and they couldn’t have done it without the help of agents, who steered work their way.

Carol and Tom have joined a plein air landscape painting group to continually challenge themselves. They are in their studio 24/7 — except when sleeping — and it’s obvious it’s where they are happiest.

The two are matter-of-fact and humble about the profession that is also their passion — and the joy their work has brought to others.

“We’ve never had real jobs,” Carol said.

“This is all we’ve ever done,” Tom added.

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