Caroline Parkes

Woodstock - North & West

For my 50th birthday, I was asked by my hubbie what I wanted as a gift, and what I coveted was a painting by the wonderful Phillipa Paterson at Darl-e & The Bear in my hometown of Woodstock. “But wait a moment,” I told him, “What I really want is to paint something myself. And one day, even, to be displayed at Darl-e and the Bear.”

Fast forward 2 years to ArtWeeks 2023 and that’s just what I will be doing!

I began my painting journey, under the mentorship of local artist Carrie Stanley, learning how to paint with oils, and exploring a keen interest in portraiture. I was drawn to Carrie because of her love of colour, which I also share. ‘Life’s too short for beige’ is my motto.

I have found myself exploring different subjects, initially capturing images from photography of striking models. And more recently, capturing hedonistic and magical scenes from experiences that I’ve enjoyed, such as Wilderness Festival, Giffords Circus and Cirque du Soleil.

One favourite of mine, a painting of Sugar House Island in East London, was inspired by a trip with my Mum to see a factory that, she told me, was once owned by family. It was where the first ever fluorescent paint was developed….i knew that colour ran in my blood!

In Summer 2022, my sister was diagnosed with cancer, and died shortly afterwards. She encouraged me to carry on enjoying life. Underneath much of the joy you see, sits a deep grief. She is present in many of my paintings, either literally or in spirit, encouraging me, and the viewer, to live life to the full, every day.

I will be exhibiting in ArtWeeks 2023 at Darl-e and the Bear, Woodstock, but also at St Mary Magdalene Church, and in the windows of business and homes in the heart of our beautiful town, along with 20 other Artists in Woodstock. I am proud to have brought this talented group together. I run the local Instagram @welovewoodstock and bringing people in the community together has always been important to me. For example, I was involved in the whole town coming together in lockdown to celebrate VE Day, an attracting the BBC to come and film our celebrations.

In my spare time (!) I am the Chief Strategy Officer of a customer experience agency, RAPP, a lover of interior design and fashion, and a Mum to two children.


Darl-e and the Bear
17 Market Street
OX20 1SU
01993 357120
Facilities available: 
Accessible for Wheelchairs

Opening Dates and Times

May 2023
10am - 4.30pm