Carroll Swayze's Artist Statement



I have always lived by the beach, surfing, fishing, diving, snorkeling and watching fish. I got my first boat when I was seven years and I learned to respect and love the sea, especially all the beautiful creatures that dwell within her.

My Mother, Ruth Swayze, rescued the Hermitage one day while walking on the beach, and became her caretaker. The Hermitage Artist Retreat was born from that. Our family was lucky to spend years in this house and on this beach and I can't tell you what a thrill it was to spend time making art here. Thank you…

I was taught to understand that we are the caretakers of our fragile planet. I have always been passionate about the ocean. My subject matter reflects my love of the sea. We depend on its health for our very livelihoods, it is the reason we have such a good quality of life.

I have been on the quest to find the perfect palm tree for most of my life and my stay here gave me the solitude and the time I needed to focus on a new direction for my work and I'm very excited to present it to you for the first time.

I hope you enjoy my painting…


"Always remember, we're all riding on the same ocean…"

~ Carroll Swayze

Birth to Present Day

  I have been an independent artist my entire life. My mother was a writer who owned a coffeehouse in the 60's and my father was a theater director so musicians, actors, writers and artists surrounded me from the moment of my birth. I started painting when I was 8 years old and did my first outdoor art show, The Allentown Art Festival in Buffalo, NY, when I was 14. I worked my way through high school painting and selling my work at shows as well as starting my own commercial art business painting signs, logos, designing album covers for bands and backdrops for theaters in the area.

  After two years in the Fine Arts Department of York University in Toronto, Ontario, I decided to continue my artistic studies at a new school at the time, The Ringling School of Art & Design, in Sarasota, Florida, and moved south where I studied painting and printmaking.

  I have always been a painter. I started working in oils, moved on to India inks, then watercolors and finally acrylics. Soon after moving to Florida I bought my first etching press and started working in Intaglio Etching Hand Painted with Acrylic washes. At that time the outdoor art fair circuit was young and thriving and the American economy was healthy. With a full show schedule and monthly gallery orders, being a real printmaker allowed me to maintain my artistic integrity and continue to offer original art to the public.

  I believe in original art. As artists, our solitary natures find us spending a great deal of time alone in our studios working to create new and exciting artwork while striving to maintain our own individual styles. I believe that the independent artist who actually toils to create original art in their studio is special, unique and unusual and should be protected, nurtured and supported as treasures.

  I believe in education. We need to work to reeducate the public as to the importance of original art in everyday life. Artists are thinkers and dreamers and I believe their work enriches the lives of everyone who comes in contact with them.

  I am currently a board member of the National Association of Independent Artists. The mission of the NAIA is to strengthen, improve and promote the artistic, professional and economic success of artists who exhibit in art shows. We are committed to integrity, creativity, and the pursuit of excellence and we advocate for the highest ideals and practices within all aspects of the art show environment. I am presently working on an informational booklet that will hopefully be used as a guide for both show directors and artists to help create a level playing field. It is an informative guide to aid in the discovery of rule breakers, buy/sell vendors, art festival imposters, production studios posing as individual artists and imported art, all of which are greatly affecting the art festivals.

  I have maintained my studio here in Englewood, Florida for over 35 years now and have developed a good reputation as a fine artist being very involved in all aspects of art in my community. I was on the steering committee, which saved, restored and created The Hermitage Artists Retreat, an international artist's retreat connected to the Greenfield Foundation, in what was my Mother's old house on the beach. I was on the board of directors of the Englewood Art Center when we raised the money to expand and build what has become one of the most vibrant community art centers in the area, now operated by the Ringling School of Art & Design. I was chosen as one of ten North American artists to participate in the first ever outdoor art festival in Japan, the Yokohama International Open Air Art Fair in Yokohama, Japan, in October of 2009 and experienced an amazing cultural exchange that enriched my life immensely. I teach art to the home schooled children of three counties, I sponsor many programs in the schools and in my studio to help keep original art alive and I am honored to have a scholarship named for me in our local high school, Lemon Bay High, sponsored by our Rotary Club.

  I am 56 years old, I am well traveled and I've raised three sons and have four grandchildren. I have been a working artist my entire life and I have an enormous amount of life experience that I am proud to share. I am well spoken and I am not at all afraid to speak in public. I've seen the early years of the art show movement, and with 41 years of outdoor art shows under my belt, I'm pretty sure I could win Survivor if they'd just let me play because I know I can build a dry shelter with my eyes shut. I've experienced the ups and downs of the economy over the years and I have struggled to stay the course, maintaining good work ethics and standards along the way. I believe that art is important in every day life and I strive to continue the adventure.

Carroll Swayze


       Carroll Swayze has exhibited in every major Fine Arts Festival in the US & Canada. Her Limited Edition Hand Colored Etchings and Original Acrylic Paintings are in public and private collections worldwide and she is represented by over forty galleries.


Englewood Art Center
Boca Grande Art Alliance
Venice Art Center
Charter Member Florida Printmakers Society
National Association of Independent Artists
Steering Committee Hermatage Artists Retreat Project
Englewood/Cape Haze Chamber of Commerce
Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce

Private & Public Collections

Florida International University, Miami, Florida
Walt Disney Corporation, Orlando, Florida
Steven Simoni Collection, Dallas, Texas
Margaret Adorjan & Associates, Englewood, Florida
Debbie Weston Collection, Englewood, Florida
Donald & Sharon Shaffett, Englewood, Florida
Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, Cortez, Florida


 The Carroll Swayze Art Scholarship was established by the Englewood Rotary Club in 1996. This ongoing yearly scholarship is given to one or two Lemon Bay High School art students to help them pursue their artistic endeavors.

  Carroll Swayze was chosen as 1 of 10 North American Artists to participate in the first ever outdoor art festival in Japan in 2009. The Yokohama International Open Air Art Fair in Yokohama, Japan. She holds the position of consultant with their organizing group, the IACP.

A Few Galleries

Fisheads Gallery, Brant Beach, New Jersey
Gallery B, Tokyo, Japan
Island Style Gallery, Key West, Florida
Island Style Gallery, Sanibel Island, Florida
Mermaids Gallery, Little Cayman Island
Nancy Markoe Gallery, St Pete Beach, Florida
Old Opera House Gallery, Sebastion, Florida
Paradise Gallery, Boca Grande, Florida
Pea Island Gallery, Pea Island, North Carolina
The Carroll Swayze Gallery, Englewood, Florida