Charlotte Carr

Aliens on Earth

The Scholar: Charlotte Carr

The Project: Aliens on Earth

The Essential Question: “I chose to focus on portraiture for my Scholars project, so I painted a series of women with different color lighting on them, all of different races. And I chose to add an alien sort of feature to each of them, to kind of emphasize how humans are alien, too, but it’s hard to see unless there’s something obviously different.”

Surprising Discovery: “Yeah. I just fell in love with portraits because before this project. I primarily painted landscapes, so this was a big shift for me, but it also got me more into color theory and things like that. So, I just got way more into portraits and I’ve been drawing people more now and stuff like that, and I feel like you can kind of explore a lot of different things by painting different people in different situations.”

Biggest Challenge: “Sort of. When I first started, I didn’t really have a message I wanted to portray—I just wanted to paint portraits to get better at illustrating people. But as I was painting my first painting, I thought, ‘Oh, it might be cool to like change up something with her eyes.’ And then I thought I could make aliens kind of be my theme. And then I thought that could be really telling about humans on earth and things like that. So, coming up with the message and the commentary was a little bit difficult, but once I did, I just ran with it and it was really fun to illustrate it.”

Tip for Future Scholars: “Be open to changing your mind because I, even before this, I wanted to do something different. I just wanted to do one big painting. However, I just got really, really into this painting that I had started and I wanted to continue doing just a series of portraits with different lighting and different skin tones and different facial features to really round out my portrait knowledge. So just be open to kind of changing our mind and letting things ebb and flow.”

Do you have a favorite of your portraits, now that you’ve painted them all? “Honestly my first one is one of my favorites, because it’s a black woman with green lighting shining upon her in the background and there’s a blue hue to her hair. I chose to paint her eyes entirely emerald green, no iris, no pupil, just the entire thing was green, because I thought it would look sort of mysterious and creepy, and I really, really like how it turned out and I think I captured the realistic lighting very well in this painting.”