Caroline Swetenburg was one of the very first Mom friends (well let's just call it friends period) that I made when I moved to Athens three years ago. She was the first one I called to keep Big Sis when her Baby Sissy was on the way, and my go-to "rosé all day" friend. Not only is she just an all around friend for life kind of person but Caroline is also one INCREDIBLE artist. Her studio has been the backdrop to a handful of Grace and James Kids photo shoots, and houses all of her in-progress abstract creations.
Her oil portraits are simply breathtaking. For all you Mommas who love an heirloom portrait of your children, Caroline is your girl! She also specializes in abstract pieces that will compliment any room (or roomS) in your home.
I recently enjoyed a glass (or two...or three but who's counting anyways?!) of rosé with my sweet friend and had the chance to talk shop with one of the most talented Momma's that I know!
G&JK: How did you get started with your abstract paintings?
Caroline: I have always loved to paint and create. I grew up surrounded by my mother’s amazing artistic talent, and most of my favorite childhood memories are from time spent in her studio watching her paint. I began my career as a professional portrait artist and still fill half of my schedule with portrait commissions. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began focusing on abstract painting, too. I fell in love with the freedom to explore color, composition and new mediums through abstract painting. Initially I was just doing it on the side for friends and family, but it quickly and much to my surprise grew into a full fledge business.
G&JK: We LOVE all of the names that you come up with for your pieces. Where do they come from?
Caroline: Ha! Well thanks! I have a running list on my phone that I’m always adding to and the inspiration comes from everywhere and everything, all the time. Sometimes it’s a random piece of a song lyric. Other times it’s just a funny play on words or famous name like “Holy Canon Ballgown” (so random), “Golden Hawn”, or “Bonnie and Clyde’s Prenup” (even though I may be the only one laughing).
G&JK: Who are some of your favorite artist? Any that we can follow on IG too?
Caroline: I have SO many! Suzy Lindow (@winkwinkstudio) and Holly Addi (@hollyaddi) are of couple of my favorites right now. I also live for Gary Komarin’s (@garykomarin) cake series. I work with an artist collective called Well and Wonder (@wellandwonder) and she has an amazing crew of female abstract artists you should check out, too! They are all so different stylistically, but all so, so good!
G&JK: Tell us a little about your family.
Caroline: My husband Raymond and I have two precious sons - Lee (4) and Jack (1). We also have two dogs - Oscar and Jack Bauer. (You are probably wondering why we named our baby after our dog. We didn’t do it on purpose. It was a total oversight.) Five years ago we moved to Athens, GA so Raymond could pursue a PhD, which he recently completed (hooray!). We are absolutely in love with this town and the friends we have made here and feel lucky to count them as family, too.
G&JK: What’s the BEST thing about being a Mom?
Caroline: Being able to make a total fool out of myself in public and then excusing it because of my babies. Singing and dancing at the grocery store, rawring at the zoo, jumping in the moonbounce, ungracefully hurling my body down a slip n slide, driving with all the windows down blasting 90s rap music (or Trolls) - all fair game. Moments full of unabashed joy and laughter with my boys is simply the best.
Edited to Note: This is one of my favorite pictures because it PERFECTLY shows Caroline's positive, easy-going, fun-loving personality. No one, not even two hangry little boys, will rain on this gals parade.
G&JK: What’s the HARDEST thing about being a Mom?
Caroline: One word: laundry.
G&JK: What’s your #1 Mommy Secret (how do you make life “work” and stay sane from day to day)?
Caroline: Well, “sane” might be a stretch. Let’s go with “reasonably calm” instead. My biggest challenge has always been the elusive work-life balance. My husband and I both work full time and it’s important that we leave work at work so we can be present while we are home with the boys. We like to sit down and divide tasks for the week - who is going to drop off and pick up the boys at school, run errands, household work, etc. Sharing all of these responsibilities has been so important to my sanity. Also, I sometimes I put my boys to bed in their school clothes to avoid the 7 a.m. chaos the next morning. Do what you gotta do, right?
G&JK: Where are your favorite places to shop for yourself and your kiddos?
Caroline: I rarely shop for myself these days, but love shopping for Jack and Lee. Obviously, Grace and James is a favorite! We rotated the “Jack” bubble and sunsuits from the Sunshine Daydream collection all summer long! We also love the Copeland Set and Griggs Romper for fall!
G&JK: Thanks friend! We love seeing your boys in our pieces! Okay, last one: What are your diaper bag Must-Haves?
Caroline: Honestly, I really don’t do diaper bags. I had one for Lee and it was full of every “essential” on the planet. With Jack, I just put a couple of diapers, wipes and a bottle in a large ziplock and tossed it in my purse. Easy peasy.
G&JK: We know that our Grace and James Kids Momma's are going to want to get in touch with you. Where can they see more of your work and how can they get in touch with you?
Instagram handle - @carolineswetenburg
Inquiries - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - www.carolineswetenburgart.com
Friends, we have a BIG TIME crush on this Momma and hope that you'll love her work just as much as we do! Head on over and show her some love on Instagram! If you find something that you can't live without (which we know you will) please let her know that we sent you!