My name is Carolina Gårdheim [gawrd-hahym]. I am a soul-driven, late-blooming, intuitive, autodidact artist/fine art painter with big dreams, living in the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden.
I work intuitively with acrylics and mixed media, calling it Vibrational Art.
When people meet my paintings, they often react emotionally, feeling touched – the art seems to communicate. These beautiful meetings bring me deep gratitude.
I was born an artist. But it took me a long time to be able to say it out loud.
At 50+, I have finally unleashed myself. Now I can openly declare: I am an artist. I am a painter. I am a creative force in the world.
I was born creative, like every child. But in my case, it might have gone slightly overboard… Mention anything creative, and I did it! Singing, dancing, playing several instruments – and theatre. Photography, drawing, and painting. Writing poetry, novels, and articles for the school newspaper I’d started. Making jewelry, ceramics, and, of course, needlework, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and yes – even fagoting!
But going through school, my creative endeavors slowly got less and less attention. I had high grades and wanted to explore where that could lead me. I managed to get into the prestigious Stockholm School of Economics.
When starting my career, I turned my back on my creative interests. I worked hard and tried to fit into the structure and politics of the organization.
But that little artistic girl inside of me wasn’t happy… Already in my thirties, I got burned out. I started questioning my life and work. What did I really want?
I started my own business, consulting, to get more time for myself and my creativity. I realized that I could no longer neglect this inner drive for creative expression. It was too vital a part of me!
I assigned one day a week for creative work, just for myself. These days became the light of my working weeks.
Turning Fear to MotivationIn the summer of 2020, I realized I needed to paint. Not just on weekends, but every day.
Immediately, fears surged to the surface. “But I don’t have an art education. I can’t be an artist!” Yet, the inner drive was so strong. I just couldn’t ignore it.
The change came when I realized that there are two sides to being an artist. And that neither of them demands a traditional art education.
One side is the know-how, learning about materials, tools, and methods, as well as history. Thankfully this knowledge is quite accessible today.
The other side is the inner drive to express yourself through art, the need to explore and interpret life through creative expression.
When looking at it this way, I realized that I already was an artist. I just had to keep learning about my craft and following my inner drive. And since that is what I love, that is easy!
Life has been my art school. My life experiences have opened up my channel so that the creative force can flow freely and express itself without me interfering too much. This insight liberated me and unleashed my creativity.
Never give up on yourself or your dreams. You are far too important for that. Thank you for being YOU.
- I mostly paint in acrylics and mixed media, but I also have ideas about sculptures, installations, and conceptual art.
- In the last few years, I finally got my recurring burnouts explained when I discovered I am an autist with ADHD. It has helped me understand myself and take better care of myself. I also felt that this revelation brought out an extra layer of energy in my painting!
- I am the proud owner of a silver medal from the Sweet Adelines Intl Barbershop World Championships in Atlanta, USA, in 1999, together with my 130 sisters in the magnificent Sun Light Chorus.
- I live in the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden, consisting of more than 30 000 islands, in a house next to a magical forest together with my beloved husband and, until recently, our two beautiful sons, now already on their way to leave the nest.
- Here, I spend my time playing around in my studio, going by the name of ”Eremitaget” (the hermitage).
- Finally, I am a very proud member of Svenska Konstnärsförbundet (the Swedish Artists Association).
Why a Site in English When I Am Swedish?
It wasn’t until I had to answer a couple of friends giving feedback on the site that I myself fully understood why the texts to this site came to me in English. It was all about energy shifts and new beginnings… Read the full story here.
About the Photographer
Meet Anja CalliusLike the images on my website? Meet Anja Callius, photographer, artist, angel, and dear friend of mine.
When I came to Anja with the idea, I said I wanted to show my innermost self, the part of me that I have ignored for so many years, the creative, serious little girl, who is the one standing in front of the easel when I paint. Anja got me immediately.
We kept it simple – one background, a couple of colors, just a few props. Anja put on soft music, and we worked slowly and calmly. She used a camera mount, even though she prefers not to. And she spent at least an hour staging the intricate lighting to create what she called Rembrandt light.
It was such an amazing experience. Finally, my inner artist felt seen. She didn’t have to smile, dance, or look straight into the camera (unless she wanted). She got to be herself fully, and it was healing. Imagine that, a healing photo shooting – who would have thought?
Anja studied at Fatamorgana, the Danish School of Art Photography, and Brooks Institute of Photography, USA, the latter on a prestigious scholarship from the Hasselblad Foundation. Her latest exhibition, Traces of Days, was shown at Hotel Anglais in Stockholm and the Not Quite Factory in Dalsland, Sweden. She also has a permanent photo installation at the Stockholm Waterfront Building.
Please visit Anja at Callius.se.