MU Alum Finds Passion in Paint

Carly Long proudly walked across the PNC stage last May to accept her diploma from the University. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Arlington, VA to take a position at Sibley Memorial Hospital of Johns Hopkins Medicine. All this sounds like a typical path for a recent college graduate, however, Long has used all her spare time to run her own business.

Long has been commissioned by various clients to recreate photographs using a black and white paint palate. She has titled her company “Carlyal.”

“I began painting on photographs, using ones of myself that I had, asking others if I could use theirs to practice on,” Long said. “My mind was easily able to dissect the shadows and highlights of the piece – which should be painted black, which should be white.”

While at the University, Long studied journalism and public relations but never enrolled in an art course. In fact, she has only been painting for six months.

“I had always wanted to paint, but didn’t want to endure the immediate critique if I began with a class; therefore, I tried thinking of ways I could teach myself,” Long said. “That is how I came up with painting on photographs.”

At this point, Long’s company is still extremely new; however, she has built quite a customer base via promoting her work on Facebook as well as in the media. She has shipped paintings all over the United States and even as far as Europe.

“I’ve been working really hard to try and improve my skills and network, with the hopes that I could one day turn it into a career. I am going to try and learn photography soon as well, so I will be able to paint more of my own original photographs,” she said.

The process of a painting depends on the customer’s desire. Long offers a $50 flat rate for 4×6 paintings, but there are other size options available on her website, carlyal.weebly.com.

The customer tends to send a particular photograph in mind and she finishes the painting within a matter of days. “A 4×6 painting usually takes around four hours,” Long said. “Sometimes more, somtimes less. It depends on the detail.”

Long has recently begun to incorporate more color into her work. “Black and white are my favorite colors, so I started there. Since then, I’ve occasionally incorporated colors in to some pieces, but I feel like the black and white is my signature style,” she said.

Since Long began her company, she has painted nearly 60 photographs. Although she has come so far in these past few months, one of her favorite pieces she has painted is also one of her very first pieces.

“One of the first paintings that I did is one of the most special to me. It’s of my little brother, Michael, and I. He’s more like my big brother – he has been my rock, my ‘life coach’ as he likes to say,” Long said.

Long has painted about 15 pieces for those within the Monmouth community.

Raven Brunson, an alum of the University, asked if Long could recreate a photograph in memory of her father.

“As I began painting, the first song that came on my Pandora was Hold You In My Arms by Ray LaMontagne,” Long said. “Times like these are a reminder of why I began painting – to feel out every emotion, to reconnect to old memories, to move myself with the process. I can only hope that I showcase the love that is within each photo that I paint.”

Casey Allocco, another graduate of the University, had Long paint a picture as a gift for a friend. “Carly’s painting was the perfect way for me to give a personal, heart felt gift to a friend while also supporting a charity that needed my help. She’s so talented and her art is so unique. You can’t go to a store and buy something as meaningful as that,” Allocco said.

Ultimately, Long hopes her business takes off and she can gain an interest in the wedding industry.

“I would love to get in to the wedding industry and also try teaching this method of painting to others, but we’ll see where it winds up. Slow and steady progression,” Long said.

IMAGE TAKEN from carlyal.weebly.com