Cara Rosalie Olsen

Hi, I’m Cara!

Thank you for dropping by this space to learn a bit more about my work and process. You might be surprised to learn that I am actually a former writer turned painter. After a decade managing homes and families as a nanny/house manager, I had set myself up in a financially stable position to do what I had always longed to do: write a book. I set off on an exploration of language and story, procuring a manuscript that took me absolutely nowhere and taught me everything about how I wanted to speak into the world.

After a particularly stressful four years writing and feeling like I had come up unforgivably short, I suffered a huge health crisis. What began as a tension headache quickly manifested into chronic, widespread symptoms that no doctor (and I saw 11 specialists!) could diagnose. I spent the majority of a year in bed, unable to sleep from acute insomnia and unable to exert myself beyond hobbling to and from the bathroom.

Then one day I decided enough was enough.

I decided that IF I was in fact dying, I wasn’t going to go quietly about it. I asked Jesus to use me, my prayer simple. “Lord, give these days meaning,” and in His great love, He met me in the darkness.

I picked up a pencil and I began passing the excruciating hours by losing myself in portraiture. I was terrible. But I didn’t care. Because I was doing something, and it distracted me from my bleak depression and debilitating symptoms. 

Eventually I was diagnosed with a both a thyroid condition (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and Fibromyalgia, which is disorder that causes widespread pain and exhaustion, and was believed to have been triggered by the traumatic conclusion of finishing my book. Medication relieved some but not all my pain, and it was another two years figuring out how to take care of myself properly and avoiding health spirals. 

I also kept drawing. I passed many, many days this way, and eventually I found my way to watercolors. This is where my creative curiosity bloomed into creative passion, and after a few sales here and there, I started seriously considering a career.

I devoted myself wholly to my work, and without any children at the time this was easy to do. I found my calling in the form of flowers. I could paint them for hours, and I did, and I’ve never wanted to paint anything else. My style began to emerge and I became a recognizable brand through the articulation of my loose florals.

I grew my social media presence by collaborating with fellow influencers, setting up shop inside stores like West Elm and Pottery Barn, and designing art for brands like Darling Magazine and Bangs Shoes. In early 2018 I was picked up by Kirkland Home for my first licensing gig. I can’t tell you how proud I was of that $500. It felt like I had finally, after so many years of pursuit, made it. Michaels Arts and Crafts later reached out to ask if I would create them a one-of-kind wreath for them to feature on their homepage. 

Since then I’ve designed fabric, stationery, and gift-wrap, and my creations appear on shoes, phone cases, water bottles and baby swaddles, to name a few. I was given the honor and pleasure of creating dozens of logos for professional artists and hundreds of custom wedding bouquets in commission work.

In 2019 I began to teach live workshops locally, which is when by business became an actual income I could rely on to support my family. I also began teaching on the platform Skillshare and was featured as a Top Teacher in 2020.

In between all of that I managed to bring two of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever laid eyes on into the world, my daughters Hazel Gwen and Violet Fiona.

Currently they absorb about 85% of my day, but due to a large, incredibly devoted support system, I am still finding time to create and run my business, although I have put much of this to the side, committed to being present for this season of life.

I am a woman, mother, artist, connoisseur of hope and chaser of beauty, a believer in Good Things take time.

I am slowly but surely working on my dream project, which I will share more about it 2021!

Thank you again for being here, I so looking forward to working with you!

Xo,
Cara

Getting in touch: For custom projects or licensing inquiries you can reach me at Cara@RosalieGwenPaperie.com

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