September 4, 2008 in Voices

Paint, makeup, ink all mediums for artist Nowak

Jennifer Larue Correspondent
Kate Clark photo

Amelie Johnson, 4, points to the mural in her bedroom. Amelie’s mother, Carolina Nowak, painted the mural from a scene in the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”
(Full-size photo)(All photos)


E-mail Carolina Nowak at

Carolina Nowak, 26, is a mother to 4-year-old twins Silas and Amelie. It was not too long after they were born that Nowak began a new chapter in her life as an artist.

“I felt it was important to be a role model and have an identity outside of motherhood,” she said. “I also became more confident and more disciplined.”

Nowak admits she was always shy about her artistic talent and that a friend once told her that it was selfish to keep her talent to herself. “Now I have begun to embrace my artistic self,” Nowak said.

In her kids’ bedroom, Nowak painted a large mural from Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” a fitting choice because that story is known for its saying “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed.”

Nowak moved to the Spokane area in 1996 from California with her two sisters so her single mother could finish medical school. Her mother is a doctor now, and Nowak considers her an inspiration. “She’s a powerhouse and my muse,” she said. “She loves watercolor.”

Nowak is also inspired by children’s art. “They teach me through their simplicity, inability to judge, and their unpredictable creativity,” she said. “My passion for art is comparable to my son’s love of Thomas the Train or my daughter’s infatuations with princesses.”

Nowak attended Lewis and Clark High School where she began excelling in sketching and painting. “I was always a rebel as a kid, and I thought that was what it meant to be an artist,” she said, “Now it’s come full circle. I’m a functioning artist.” A functioning artist fueled by passion rather than teenage angst.

Nowak went on to become a certified makeup artist through MAC Cosmetics and works freelance painting faces for weddings and special events. “I almost did Cyndi Lauper when she came into town to perform, but she canceled at the last minute.”

Nowak is a student at Spokane Falls Community College working toward a degree in interior design. When she’s not putting color to faces and environments, she’s sketching lifelike portraits that are full of soul. “I’m an emotional people person, so it only makes sense that I love to draw portraits,” she said

Nowak works in a large room in her North Side home where she and her children can “get messy, paint and create.” She is currently working on a portrait of her fiancé’s grandmother. She is planning on beginning a series of women in their sixties.

Her mediums of choice are acrylic, charcoal, graphite and ink. “I’m focusing more on developing a style.”

Her portraits are primarily black and white, but she plans on getting playful and adding bold and bright colors. “As far as being a makeup artist, an interior designer and a portrait artist, I have an edge; I’m always thinking like an artist. Color is the key.”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail

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