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After Cady Driver injured her back and gave up painting murals, she turned to a smaller canvas with an equally large audience: children’s book illustrations.
Working with authors to bring their stories to life is the latest artistic outlet for Driver, a Raleigh mom who first picked up a paintbrush nearly a decade ago. She spent years painting murals in hospitals and homes up and down the East Coast and now focuses mostly on watercolors. When she’s not working on picture books, she’s painting floral scenes, animals, landscapes and children.
“I paint whatever catches my eye,” she said.
Want to go?
First Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m., is a monthly art event in downtown Raleigh. Galleries stay open late and many restaurants offer special deals. To learn more, go online to FirstFridayRaleigh.com.
More First Friday
The Mahler Fine Art, 228 Fayetteville St., “Trees and the Listening Sky,” new mixed-media work by Richard Garrison
Artspace, 201 E. Davie St., “American Gods,” art by Chris Watts and the Fine Contemporary Craft Exhibition
AIANC Center for Architecture and Design, 14 E. Peace St., Arts for Life exhibition of works by people with serious illnesses or disabilities
Local Color Gallery, 22 Glenwood Ave., sixth annual “Sisters” exhibition featuring Virginia Owen and Mary Beth Owen-Zdanski
The Fish Market Student Gallery, 133 Fayetteville St. (basement), “Final Chapter” featuring works by N.C. State University Art and Design seniors
LGBT Center of Raleigh, 411 Hillsborough St., 2012 Artists Retrospective
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences store’s Nature Art Gallery, 11 W. Jones St., “Visions of Trees Dance in My Head,” art by Charlotte Ziebarth
Gallery C, 540 N. Blount St., annual holiday exhibition featuring 75 works by local, national and international artists and craftspeople
Visual Art Exchange, 309 W. Martin St., “Sale for the Season” holiday art sale
Tipping Paint Gallery, 428 S. McDowell St., “7 Solutions to Holiday Giving”
Litmus Gallery and Studios, 312 W. Cabarrus St., “Exposed: Nudes in Art 2012,” featuring 29 artists’ take on the human form
Flanders Gallery, 302 S. West St., “New Angles,” featuring oil paintings by geometric abstraction artist Ashlynn Browning
Raleigh Review, 2008-1/2 Fairview Road, reading by Dorianne Laux, jazz by Tatiana Kochkareva and live painting by Abie Harris, starting at 7 p.m.
SPCA Adoption Center, 200 Petfinder Lane, “Homeless Kittens & Puppies Paint for Their Supper,” featuring paintings by animals
A sampling of Driver’s paintings are on display at Cimos, a small book and gift shop on East Hargett Street across from the London Bridge Pub. She’ll be at the store as it celebrates its first anniversary during this week’s First Friday festivities.
Driver’s second picture book collaboration is due out soon. “The Gift,” by Bridget Knouse, explores the author’s experience adopting a child. Driver said she took photos of the Knouse family to accurately represent them in the illustrations.
She never met the authors for her first illustration project, “I Love You, Be Careful” by Judy Snider and Joan Dickow. “She had seen my work online,” Driver said. “I’d email her the picture and she’d approve it. ... That probably took nine months.”
Most of Driver’s art, though, is sold by commission or through small galleries and shops such as Cimos. She’s largely self-taught and settled on watercolors as her preferred medium after her husband gave her a set for Christmas.
“I tried it and I completely fell in love with it,” she said. “There was no going back after that.”
Driver typically finds her animal subjects on farms and her floral subjects during trips to N.C. State’s JC Raulston Arboretum. Children are her favorite subject, and she does commissioned portraits as well as unique images of kids her husband photographed during travels abroad. Candid photos, she said, offer the best inspiration for a painting.
“I love those moments where they’re kind of contemplative and not really posing,” she added.
While she does many commissions, Driver has for years donated her talents. As a mural artist, she painted hospital walls and the bedrooms of chronically ill children for free. These days, she does memory paintings for families that have lost a child. “That’s a big part of my business is being able to reach out to the community and donate,” she said.
When she’s not painting, Driver teaches art classes in her home and hopes to expand her workshops. “I kind of have my finger in all these different pies,” she said.