Last summer, Carol Whitlock came back to the Aquarium for the first time since her children, now in their 30s, were small. She was so inspired by the Jellyfish Invasion exhibit that she decided to pitch us a new volunteer role just to share her excitement with others; Carole became our first ever artist in residence.

Painting at the Vancouver Aquarium

Carol’s rendition of the Jellyfish Invasion Exhibit

When Carol paints in the galleries, her easel becomes “an instant magnet.” She says, “It encourages people to stop and talk about what they see. I share my vision of the colors and movement of the fish.” We love that she helps our visitors appreciate our animals through a different lens.

Carol has always loved ocean life from swimming in the surf to walking on the beach. Growing up in Rossland, B.C., a tiny town in the Kootenays, going to the coast—and the Aquarium!—was a really big deal. Today, Carol is living in Vancouver and making the most of her love of the ocean by volunteering with the Aquarium.

She remembers a particular pair of teenage girls who came by when she had just a few marks on her canvas. They were so interested in what she was doing; they came back hours later to see the finished work. “It made all my work worthwhile,” she said.

Volunteer program at the Vancouver Aquarium

Carol shows off her work at the Vancouver Aquarium

So far, Carol has completed many of her works at home, from photographs taken at the Aquarium. Over the coming year, she plans to paint “plein air” (outside) and to challenge herself to complete a painting during a single three-hour volunteer shift. In the future, she hopes to have an opportunity to volunteer with the penguins—as a child, she won a contest with a drawing of a penguin! Although the artist-in-residence role is new, Carole hopes it will become permanent, offering other artists the opportunity to share their inspiration.

As for what she loves most about volunteering at the Aquarium? “I love being part of a team. Everyone has been so supportive. They make me feel valued.”

Carol will be painting at the aquarium between 10 am – 3 pm on September 3, 10, 17 and 24 if you would like to see her in action. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Interested in learning more about volunteer or practicum opportunities at the Aquarium? Visit us online to learn more.

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2 Responses

  1. Carol Whitlock

    Wow, this article really explains exactly how I feel about painting at the Aquarium and why I volunteered. Thank you for honouring me by including it in your blog. Every time I come to paint I have a great experience. This year has been a wonderful chapter in my life. I’m sure my parents and grandparents are smiling down on the Aquarium. Their love of nature and marine life was instilled in me from day one. I hope that another artist will have the opportunity to continue what I’m doing. Every artist has their own set of skills and vision. They can bring a new light onto the same scene and provide an enriching experience for all they meet.

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  2. mar Ellen Grant

    congratulations Carol! I am a little impartial. Your aquatic life surpasses your already great canvasses. Cheers! Mary Ellen

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