Some are born with intense observation


Some people believe that artists are more observant than other folks. Perhaps this is just one characteristic that contributes to artistic ability.

Keen observation can be learned, but is sometimes inborn. As a child, Paula Vaden Carlton realized that chair legs vary in length and shape and color; that some walls are lighter, wider, rougher or smoother than other walls; and that not all birds are alike. This fascination with visual differences lead Carlton to know she would become an artist.

Carlton majored in art at college, but soon discovered that most of her teachers were academicians and fine translators of art history; however, they were not good painting instructors.

Undaunted, Carlton developed the skills needed to become an exceptional painter through personal study and painting miles of canvas. Her innate artistic ability flourished.

Houston hit the lotto when Carlton and hubby, Bill, (now married for 64 years!) moved there with their young family. Carlton opened a gallery and became active in the Houston Art Association.

In the gallery, her popular art classes filled with aspiring artists and those who just loved to paint and loved Carlton. She observes, “Everything you touch makes a difference, either for good or for bad.” She feels lucky to have been able to live in the teaching world, making a (positive, I’m sure) difference in many lives.

Carlton continued to paint, often taking her two young boys with her on painting excursions, sometimes for several weeks at a time. Admirers enthusiastically collected the luminous but soft paintings that emerged from those trips.

At one point, Carlton painted a pictorial history of her hometown, Stanford, Texas. The show completely sold out.

The Carltons’ two boys are grown and now have extended families of their own. Soon a new baby will bless the clan, and as a great-grandchild, will be able to claim two sets of great-grandparents, one being Paula and Bill Carlton. She has already created a small castle to welcome this new family member.

Carlton is now a Granbury resident and active member of the Lake Granbury Art Association. She jokingly alleges she has been retired for over 23 years, but her work and teaching during those years defy her claim.

The popular and loved Carlton is often the recipient of fresh bouquets of flowers. Her response: she creates paintings of the floral arrangements, and surprises the givers with paintings of their generosity.

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