My name is Carolina Gårdheim [gawrd-hahym]. I am a soul-driven painter/artist living in the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden.
I work intuitively, letting the creative force flow and create through me.
When people meet my art, they often react emotionally, feeling touched – the paintings seem 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 had 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.
I hope that you will appreciate my art. If not, maybe my journey can inspire you?
Never give up on yourself or your dreams. You are far too important for that. Thank you for being YOU.
- I paint mostly in acrylics and mixed media, but I also have many ideas about installations, performance, and conceptual art.
- At 50, I finally got an explanation for my recurring burnouts when getting an ADHD diagnosis. It has helped me understand myself better and also take better care of myself.
- I am sensitive to energies and consciously infuse high energies into my paintings.
- I am the proud owner of a silver medal from the Sweet Adelines International Barbershop World Championships in Atlanta, USA, 1999.
- I live in Vaxholm in the beautiful archipelago (30.000 islands!) of Stockholm, Sweden, in a house more than 130 years old, with my beloved husband and our two beautiful sons (and my studio!).
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.