Reedley Artist Carrie Taves, Painting With A Purpose

Aug 17, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Helping Hands, Lorie Lewis Ham, Reedley News

by Lorie Lewis Ham

This week we are profiling local artist Carrie Taves, who was born and raised in Reedley. She is also involved in the local charity When I Grow Up.

KRL: When did you first become interested in art?

Carrie: The interest in art has always been there, but I didn’t think seriously about it or pursue it until about three and a half years ago at the age of 45. My friends decided to do a paint night with artist and friend Rick Alonzo. Apparently, what I painted showed potential so he encouraged me to pursue art. At that time I saw painting as a luxury, something we only get to do after all of our work it done, but because of his encouragement, I finally gave myself permission to go for it. The first couple of years I watched YouTube videos to learn as much as I could about painting, but felt like I was coming to a standstill on my own. Last year I began art coaching under artist Stefan Baumann from Mount Shasta. We speak weekly and I appreciate how he is encouraging, challenging, and drives me to reach the next level.


Carrie Taves by Huruma Trash Pile painting

KRL: What types of art do you do/mediums do you work in?

Carrie: I work with oil paints in a representational style. I started primarily with portraits, but have expanded to figurative, still lifes, and urban/sea/landscapes. The variety in subjects keeps it fresh and keeps me curious.

KRL: What inspires you?

Carrie: After seeing with my own eyes the devastation of extreme poverty while in the Huruma slum in Kenya, it created a desire in me to tell the story of beautiful but forgotten men, women, and children who live in some of the darkest corners on the planet. When I need a reason to paint, I think of them. I hope that my paintings bring a voice to the voiceless and make the invisible visible.

In addition, I enjoy the various landscapes and seascapes that only California can hold. Reedley itself has a lot of character and my hope is to show the uniqueness and history of our great community. When it comes to portraits, it’s a goal of mine to find the character, emotion, and personality that is unique to the individual.

KRL: When did you first begin selling your art?

Carrie: Three years ago, I was very shy about sharing my artwork. I hadn’t built up confidence yet. I decided to enter two paintings in the Fresno Fair art contest as a test for myself to see if art was something that I should keep pursuing. I received a couple of ribbons and sold both pieces. No one was more shocked than me, but it gave me the courage to keep going.

Guate Girl from Carrie’s Humanitarian Collection

KRL: Can you tell us about your humanitarian work mentioned on your website and how/why that inspired your art?

Carrie: I have traveled to Kenya, Haiti, and Guatemala through the humanitarian organization called “When I Grow Up” since 2011. Spending time with the children living in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25/day) and the staff that cares for them, learning their stories, and walking through the slum with them opened up my heart to how 1.3 BILLION people on our planet live.

Fast forward to 2016 when I first started painting. I loved painting, but didn’t want to create clutter. I believe that God doesn’t bless us so that we can keep it all for ourselves, so this became a way that I could share their stories, raise funds, and hopefully make a difference.


New Shoes from Carrie’s Humanitarian Collection

KRL: What do you like best about creating art?

Carrie: The whole process: The challenge, the growth, the struggle, the end result (most of the time), when a collector is moved by a painting, and when a donation is made to help make a difference in the lives of the children.

KRL: What is the hardest?

Carrie: Carving out time and working through the “ugly stage” of each painting.

KRL: Why did you choose for 75% of your profits to go to When I Grow Up and for those who aren’t familiar with When I Grow Up can you share just a little about what they do?


Olson Bridge in the Morning

Carrie: It’s pretty simple–God says to care for the poor. I’ve personally seen the difference that When I Grow Up has made in the lives of the poor, so I know first-hand that our donations are making a difference and changing the destinies of children living in extreme poverty.

When I Grow Up is a non-profit that was founded in Reedley and we seek to empower children living in extreme poverty in Kenya, Haiti, and Guatemala through education, nutrition, safe houses, and spiritual nurturing in a safe and loving environment. We partner with local leaders and provide resources and friendship so that they are able to carry out the work that they are uniquely positioned to do. (Learn more at

KRL: Do you create your art in a specific place/atmosphere?

Carrie: Most paintings are completed in my studio (really, it’s just our spare bedroom, lol), however, I also enjoy painting “en plein air”, or outdoors on location. I paint from life when possible, but photos are a great alternative when painting from life isn’t possible or convenient.

KRL: How long does it usually take you?

Carrie: There isn’t a set formula for how long a painting takes. So much depends on the size, complexity, and amount of detail. On an average, I complete a painting in one or two weeks, but larger ones can take 6-8 weeks.

KRL: Do you have a day job as well?

Carrie: I work part time as Operations Manager for When I Grow Up, and work for our family business, Kimo’s Tropical Car Wash in Reedley.

KRL: Future goals for your art?

Carrie: I want to keep working hard, learning, and improving. I’d consider it a blessing if my artwork can bring awareness to children living in extreme poverty and help improve their lives.


See Me from Carrie’s Humanitarian Collection

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

Carrie: I’m grateful for my family that have been so encouraging and supportive while I paint. Thank you guys!
Thank you also to those that have purchased my paintings so that children living in extreme poverty can have a chance of a new destiny.

You can keep up with Carrie’s art on her Facebook page and her website.

Carrie’s art will soon be displayed in room 111 at the Reedley College Library. Details are still being sorted out—watch KRL for more information when it becomes available. Thirteen paintings from her humanitarian collection will be on display.

You can find more Reedley articles in our new Reedley News section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

1 Comment

  1. This is just a test


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