Caroline Mytinger was born in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She modeled for Charles Dana Gibson and appeared in print ads of the day. She attended several schools to learn the art of portraiture, and became a noted portrait artist patronized by wealthy American families and business leaders.
She also was intrigued by anthropology and visited Guatemala, Haiti, and Panama, where she sketched and painted local peoples. In 1926, with a childhood friend, Margaret Warner, she went on an extended trip to the Solomon Islands and Papua-New Guinea. She painted and wrote about the people and places she visited in two books published later, Headhunting in the Solomon Islands (1942) and New Guinea Headhunt (1946). After her return to the USA in 1930, her work was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum, among others.