Prior to her marriage to William Larrin Carrington in 1934, she painted as Joy Harrell. She received extensive training: studying for three years at the Kansas City Art Institute, four years at the Arts Student League of New York and three years at the Arts Institute of Chicago. Furthermore, Carrington cultivated her skill in portrait and figure work as a student of artist Robert Brackman. Her awareness of color and design was then honed by study with Constantine Pougialis.
Carrington exhibited throughout the United States, most often in San Antonio, Texas. She participated in the San Antonio Local Artists Annual Exhibition, 1935-1937 and in 1959 as well as exhibitions at Copini Academy of Fine Arts, San Antonio winning honorable
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