Growing up in Phoenix, Ariz., Caroline Oliver loved rain but rarely saw it. So it was fitting when the East Dallas artist named her latest project “Acid Rain.”

She uses oil, spray paint and other mixed media elements, such as magazine clippings, to create horizontal and vertical lines and drips.

Beyond her affinity for rain, however, the project also is symbolic of personal growing pains Oliver has been working through.

“It’s like stripping and getting rid of things in my life that aren’t healthy, things that are emotional crutches,” she says. “So I’ve had all these emotional things, and it kind of washes over me.

“Acid rain erodes the surfaces of a rock, and I think with life you can allow things to break you or refine you, like acid rain does to a rock.”

Oliver’s artistic process is reflective of that philosophy.

In her earlier pieces, she built up layers upon layers of paint, and then chipped away at it to expose the various colors underneath. She repeated the process, adding and taking away paint until she was finished.

Her more recent work is all about the process.

“It’s like I make this big problem for myself compositionally,” she explains, “and so I have to kind of dig myself out of it. I think it makes it a better painting when it goes through this ugly stage because you just have to push through and get rid of stuff you don’t want to get rid of. A part of me really hates it, and another part of me really loves it.”

See more of Oliver’s work at

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