Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1926, Carolyn moved to Carbondale, Illinois, in 1949 to teach art at the Allyn Training School at Southern Illinois University. After marrying George Plochmann in 1950, Carolyn became a full-time studio artist, spent her summers in Woodstock, New York, and was represented by the Kennedy Galleries in New York from 1970-2005. The Illinois State Museum acquired 75 of her paintings in 2007 as a gift from the artist.
Plochmann's paintings evolve from personal experience and ideology, visual observation, inspirations from literature or poetry, or a certain desire for a painterly effect. The specific references may not be known, but the underlying emotion is evident. Carolyn painted Aftermath (2002) after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, with the sublime apparent in a bird bearing a string of hope.