Carolyn Damstra is a native Michiganian and has traveled extensively throughout North America and abroad. She has participated in numerous solo and juried state and regional exhibitions, holds several plein air painting competition awards, and was selected as an Artist in Residence at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Recently, several of her paintings have traveled internationally as part of the Art In Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State, to Fiji, Serbia, and Belgium. Carolyn holds a BFA in studio art and an MA in art history, both from Michigan State University.

“I paint both en plein air and in the studio. I use only my own photographs as references, which are perhaps the most important part of the creative process. When taking photos or choosing a scene, I look for moments of harmonious balance. It is an intuitive feeling of knowing that magical combination of energy and peace, and envisioning the painting that will eventually come. Painting outdoors is also key to my process as it gives me opportunity to study the various elements and explore capturing the immediacy of the moment. I can then apply these lessons to my studio work.”

Frequent subjects of her contemporary landscapes are the scenery and shorelines of Michigan, especially Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Through travels and painting, Carolyn seeks out the healing power of immersion in nature and finds an emotional connection to our environment through visual observation. Her mission is to spread awareness of the power of this connection, through art. Her paintings serve as a bridge, or a catalyst, for connecting with the natural world and finding peace and spiritual health, as well as portraying the quiet beauty of her home state and the Midwestern region. Visit her website at

Carolyn’s Work