Monday, March 30, 2015

Artist Spotlight Donna Robertson

How did you get started as an artist?
I drew a lot as a child but never expected to be an artist.  As an undergraduate, I majored in English and always expected to be a writer..   (I'm not, but have a daughter who is...)
My mother-in-law taught me to tole paint when my children were small.  I took a watercolor class in an Art Ministry when they were in junior high, and I was hooked!  Won a ribbon in my first show from the Greater Kansas City Art Association; that motivated me.  I painted in watercolor for 17 years.

I suppose I really got started when my older daughter (also an artist) and I moved to Wilmington and had a gallery there for six years.  My watercolors started to sell.  I took a course in the French Impressionists at UNCW and after a visit to see the Monet- Renoir exhibit in Richmond, I switched to oils.  It was not too long before I had several galleries showing my work and I won many other awards.

Who or what has influenced you the most?

I think that Rick McClure, a teacher from Oklahoma, influenced me most.  I took at least five workshops from Rick when  we were showing at the same gallery in Wilmington.  I really love his work.  The other professionals I most admire are Richard Schmid and Mark Boedges.  I could not overlook Wyeth and Sargent.

Describe for us a breakthrough moment in your work:

I had a breakthrough when I began to experiment with watermedia, particularly inks.  I had great success with abstract waves done on very smooth paper.  But I found it very difficult to mat and frame under glass when I had to travel some distances with the paintings in the back of my car.  My galleries are spread over a large area.   And there is no question but that oils command a higher price.

As an artist, what is it that you love about what you do?

Painting is an absolute passion for me.  I love everything about it, particularly the color.  I get totally absorbed in my work and have no idea how time passes.  I love to watch people connect with the work and am privileged to see that happen when i am working in my daughter's gallery on the Outer Banks.  Art is a spiritual journey for me so those connections are spiritual as well.  I find most of my inspiration around the ocean, which is why I moved to this area.  I love to paint anything in nature and particularly love painting flowers.

If you weren’t a painter, what would you be?

If I were not an artist, I might have been a counselor or a manager in a Continuing Education division.  I have a graduate degree in that field. To some people, it seemed like a real sacrifice when I left that field.    But art makes me extremely happy, and you can't beat that as a reason to keep doing what you're doing.  It is a constant challenge to improve and do something new....who knows, maybe something great!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Artist Spotlight Jan Francoeur

This is the first in a series of interviews we'll be doing with artists. For this first one I've decided to interview myself!

How did you get started as an artist?

     I've told this story in this blog before but I was going to go to college didn't know what I would study, but knew I had to have a foreign language. They only taught German at my high school and I was not really interested in that, Spanish seemed to be a language I might be able to use more.
     So I signed up for an exchange program with another school, 15 miles away. We would be going there two afternoons a week and take 2 classes, so for my second class I signed up for art.
     I soon discovered I had no aptitude for Spanish but the art class changed my life!

     I went to Siena Heights College and got a BA in Drawing and printmaking. Throughout college I spent weekends going to art shows selling my work. 
     Then I worked in the commercial printing industry in the art department and began doing architectural renderings.

Who or what has influenced you the most?

     I can say a lot of people and circumstances have influenced me. 
     When I was young I loved the intricacies of steam locomotives, as I traveled around looking at them I discovered I really loved the style of railroad depots. That got me started drawing architecture.
     When we came to New Bern I was blown away with the color in the spring and it caused me to want to learn to paint.
     When we bought our first house in New Bern we wanted to put our mark on it and started working with clay so I could do a backsplash.

Describe for us a breakthrough moment in your work:

     Since I have worked in many different mediums I have had at lease one in each.
     One breakthrough moment came when I was at an art show and a young man asked me if I ever used a Rapidograph, I bought one and used one for the next 40 years.

     Another was when I was trying to paint after working in black and white for 20 years. I just couldn't seem to "get it". I saw other artists working wet in wet in watercolors but all I came up with was a mess. Then one day I thought, ok lets approach this like an ink drawing. I sketched out my idea and started coloring it in. So just changing my mindset did the trick!

If you weren’t a painter and a potter, what would you be?

     I might be a psychologist, I have always been interested in how people are affected by their surroundings, how they were brought up, why they do the things they do. But more likely I would be working in commercial art or the printing industry.

Where do you find your best ideas?

    Since I like to paint architecture all I need to do is drive around town!

What do you love most about being an artist?

    People often tell me that my art makes them feel good.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Funky Art at Carolina Creations

When we choose the work we carry at Carolina Creations we always look for the new and different, beautiful fine art and art that makes you smile.

We love it when we hear folks laughing at something they have read and REALLY love it when we hear them say, "I love coming in here it makes me feel good", or "I come here when I need a boost, I always leave feeling better, (And often leave with something in their hands!).

So in that regard we have a lot of bright and lively "fun" art, like....
Ceramic "rescue" cats and dogs.

Ceramic flip flops to brighten your wall.

Flea sculptures.

Gooney bird ornaments.

Crabs made from gourds, guitar strings, and bottle caps.
Just to name a few.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Painting at Carolina Creations by Sally Sutton

Our friend Sally Sutton has brought us some beautiful paintings for our Garden Show.

Sally splits her time between Pittsboro, NC and New Bern.

We are getting ready to set up some two hour "paint along" classes with Sally.

All supplies will be furnished, all you need to do is show up with enthusiasm!
More details on that later.

Sally paints every day, a lesson we could all learn from. 

When you only paint occasionally you loose your momentum. You learn a new technique, use it once and it works, don't use it for a while and it's gone.
Even if you can't paint EVERY day, at least set aside time to paint one day a week, you'll be surprised how quickly you progress.

Two things that we admire most about Sally's paintings...

her use of color and the movement in her work.

Here is Sally beside a painting she did for the UNC Cancer Hospital!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bird feeders from Steve Fabrico 

Watch a chickadee feeding in one of Steve Fabricos bird feeders! Click on the image. 

Thank you Lou Plummer for sharing the video!

Steve had been telling us that he has lots of feeders in his yard and the birds zoom in and out all day. Well here is proof!
Each of these feeders is hand crafted in high fired stoneware. They are to withstand freezing weather so are safe to leave outside, even during the worst weather.

Steve created the piece above in 2 halves, then put them together, cut the hole, and added the perch.

After allowing to dry (may take weeks depending on the weather) he bisque fires, then applies his glazes by spraying.
The bird is made from a mold Steve made himself. He is a master mold maker but also uses found objects for some of his molds. of you that know his work might be surprised that the base of some of his sculptures is made from those yellow cones that say "wet floor"!

Click to see his page on our website with prices and how to purchase.

- Jan Francoeur

Sunday, March 08, 2015

More tree of life

As I shared in a previous post the symbol of the tree of life has been finding its way into our gallery over the past few years, and just lately it has become an explosion!

Our newest is stained glass sun catchers by Beth Cunningham.

Beth has been working in stained glass for nearly 32 years. Her work has been greatly influenced by summers she spent in Adirondacks.

      She tries to capture the gorgeous natural beauty of this region in her pieces. Tumbled rocks, bits
of natural stone add detail along with the fine hand fabricated wire overlays. Trees are her main focus! She really strives to capture the essence of hand in nature, similar, but close up very different.

      Beth talks about her work…  “As a young girl I was always creating something - anything, a roll of tape, a scissor, a box – was all I need to create, I decorated my room as a child with hand painted posters, as well as my dorm room in college. Searching for roadside cast-offs to add to my decor, perfect on a college students' income, I always had a unique look. Everyone talked about my creative choices.

      Graduating from college with a degree in Art Education, I taught for 37 years. While completing my master's degree, I took a class in stained glass and as they say, the rest is history.  Glass work is the perfect medium for me. It's been my career since 1977.

    Trees are my current subject matter. Who doesn't love a tree? Recently I've ventured into spirit guides, influenced by my travels to the Southwest as well as my interest in ancient rock art. “­­­

What a beautiful gift.

Stop in and see them all!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

March Newsletter

This is a copy of our monthly newsletter

to sign up to receive it visit our website where you can sign up at the bottom of the home page.

Carolina Creations Newsletter March 2015

Garden Art Show 
Duke Gardens in late May by Brenda Behr
Our annual Garden Art Show includes paintings by Brenda Behr, Sally Sutton, Donna Robertson, Janet Dixon and lots of new 3d art for the garden too!

Two dimensional art in the show includes copper spinners, birdhouses, bird feeders, wind chimes, garden stakes, wall hangings, metal sculpture and more!

This show runs through the end of April.

March 13
5-8 pm!
New Work by Gallery Artists

We have lots of new paintings by our gallery artists

                            Sally Sutton - oils and acrylics



 Donna Robertson - oils


Brenda Behr  - oils and watercolors   




     Pat Holscher - watercolors





New Garden Art Poles

They come with an auger type stake that 
holds them upright in the garden.




 Birdhouses and    
 bird feeders


 Steve Fabrico 


Swarovski Crystal sun catchers  


  Glass hearts with and without wings -  
  Meredith developed a complicated process of
  creating the appearance of bubbles in glass. 

Garden stakes made of glass and copper  


Engraved Wood Fish Corkscrew
Wine Key Bottle Opener
We can have these personalized for you!



Recycled aluminum is being used to
create lots of wonderful art work
Here are a couple of our new artists using this material.

Tree of Life by Devin Mack.


  Aluminum With a Twist made from race cars!




Jewelry with colored gemstones

Just to name a few of the new pieces
and new artists that have just arrived!  


Thank you for supporting our 
Valentine Hand Crafted Card Show
Due to your support we were able to send a check for $1643 to the Art Teachers Fund to buy supplies.
Downtown Shows
Support for the Arts
The Craven Arts Council and Gallery "Unity Through the Arts" Fundraiser has made a huge impact on the look of Broad Street.
Non-profits, businesses and individuals purchased flags featuring artwork by local artists to help enhance the aesthetics of this gateway to our Downtown.  
Jan and Michael Francoeur, Carolina Creations owners, are honored to have three flags with their artwork on them. If you haven't driven down Broad Street to see them you should!
The Next Chapter has a new owner
Mary Jo Buckl is the new owner at The Next Chapter - welcome to our Downtown community!

Artisan Square 
Behind the Arts Council a Brewery has opened and has space for local artists to show their work.

Our Downtown just keeps getting better and better!   

Carolina Creations Calendar 2015

March 1-April 30 - Garden Art Show -
Garden Art Show
March 1-April 30
Paintings and Garden Art - including work by Steve Fabrico (birdhouses and feeders), Gail Chavenelle (metal garden sculpture), Bradley Cross (copper spinners), paintings by Brenda Behr, Donna Robertson, Sally Sutton, and other gallery artists.

March 13 5-8 pm ArtWalk!

April 10, 2015 -
5-8 pm - ArtWalk - Reception for Home and Garden Tour Participants. Open to the public. Meet the artist who paints the images used on the Home Tour Poster. Prints available of the painting. 

The Colors of Cuba
Photos by Lou Plummer
May 8-June 30

May 1, 2015 - 
5-8 pm - ArtWalk
- The Colors of Cuba photography by Lou Plummer, show runs through June 30, open daily.

June 8, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk - The Colors of Cuba continues.

June 25th-June 27th - Thursday-Saturday. Cape Cod Underpainting workshop with Mike Rooney,  click here for the details!

Workshop with Mike Rooney
June 25-June 27
Cape Cod Underpainting Workshop 

July 10, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk - At the Shore through August 31 Paintings and other wall art depicting the North Carolina Waterway.

August 14, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk

September 11, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk

October 9, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk

November 13, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk - Double Vision - Artists Brenda Behr and Robert Rigsby - plein air painters - paint the same scene, each with their own take on it! Show runs through January 5. Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

November 27 and 28 - Christmas Open House

December 11, 2015 - 5-8 pm - ArtWalk

Downtown New Bern Calendar

Home Tour Art by Jan Francoeur
Spring Historic Homes & Gardens Tour 
Friday, April 10 & Saturday, April 11, 2015

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Enjoy beautiful spring in New Bern and visit historic homes and gardens on the annual "Spring Historic Homes and Gardens Tour."  
On April 10th and 11th homeowners invite you into some of the most beautiful and interesting historic homes in downtown New Bern. Get a behind the scenes look at homes that have much to tell us of the history of this town founded in 1710. Stroll through beautiful gardens and admire a delightful array of fountains. In addition to the homes, gardens and fountains, many downtown houses of worship will be open for tours.
Poster art by Jan Francoeur, prints will be available at Carolina Creations.  

More calendar events:

March 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 27, 28 Shrek The Musical JR (Children's Musical, StageHANDS) New Bern Civic Theatre.

Friday, March 13, Garden Art and Garden Paintings Show with work from gallery artists opens during ArtWalk at Carolina Creations. 5-8 pm. Show runs through the end of April.

Friday, March 13, ArtWalk Downtown Shops and Galleries 5-8 pm.

Saturday, March 14 9-4, and Sunday March 15 Home and Garden Show, New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.

Saturday, March 28, 2015 At the Gallery: Irving Berlin 7:00pm Bank of the Arts.

Saturday, March 28 The Downtown Dare 10:00am. Event will begin on East Front Street in Historic Downtown New Bern in the empty waterfront lot next to The Galley Store.

Friday, April 10, ArtWalk Downtown Shops and Galleries 5-8 pm.

April 10-11 New Bern Spring Historic Homes and Gardens Tour 10:00am-4:00pm.  Historic Downtown New Bern.

April 17, 18, 24, 25 at 8:00pm, April 19, 26 at 3:00pm Les Miserables, Rivertowne Players, Masonic Theatre.

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 7:00pm to 9:30pm  Washington's Southern Tour: Dinner with President Washington in the Stanly House Garden. More information at

Saturday, April 25, 2015 At the Gallery: Harold Arlen 7:00pm Bank of the Arts.

Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 8:00pm to 10:30pm Washington's Southern Tour: President's Ball at Tryon Palace.

Sunday, May 3, 7:30 PM The North Carolina Symphony Presents: Appalachian Spring, New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.

For more details visit Downtown Blog by clicking here.

Spring Can't Come Soon Enough! 
Spring is just around the corner. We remember our first spring in New Bern. We had arrived the end of May so missed the early spring blooms. We were blown away the next spring when the azaleas, dogwood and wisteria bloomed. We've been here since 1989 and still go out each spring and take photos and are still in awe of the beauty.
Looking forward to seeing you in our Downtown.
Jan and Michael 
And our wonderful staff at Carolina Creations,
Lou, Donna, Irene, Lori, Donna, and Maggie!

Monday, March 02, 2015

New Paintings from Pat Holscher

We are thrilled to have watercolor paintings from Pat Holscher again!
Pat has a BA and MA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she has studied art at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, and trained under many nationally recognized artists. 
Over the years she has been juried into shows throughout the state and received awards ranging from Honorable Mention to Best in Show; most notably, in the North Carolina State Fair Juried Exhibition, Raleigh, NC – First Place Painting, 2002; in the Chapel Hill Regional Exhibition for Women in North Carolina – Juror’s Choice Award, 2000; and in the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s Annual Exhibition – First Place, 2008. Most recently, in May 2009 she was the inaugural Best in Show Permanent Collection Purchase Award-winner at the Regional Juried Art Show in New Bern, NC. Pat is an active Signature Member of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, having served as newsletter editor, board member, and President (2001-2002). She has also taught beginning and continuing watercolor classes at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, NC and has served as juror for several art competitions.

National recognition has come with acceptance and awards in many national shows, including the American Kennel Club National Juried Competition, Wichita, Kansas (Best of Breed Award & Best Working Dog Award); the AKC Museum of the Dog Exhibition, St. Louis, Missouri; the Southern Watercolor Society’s Annual juried competition, (Potomac Valley Watercolor Award and awarded Signature Status); the National Watercolor Society’s Annual Exhibition, Fullerton, California in which she was also awarded Signature Status, and the American Watercolor Society’s Annual International Exhibition, New York, NY in 2003, 2009 ( winning the Gold Medal of Honor), and 2010 (awarded Signature Status).
She has done promotional art for the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and designed and painted the background murals for the Estuarine Center in Washington, NC. Pat was chosen as a 2007 finalist in the 24th Annual Art Competition for Artist’s Magazine in the animal art category. One of the highlights of her career was the publication of a painting with an article in the section, “Master Painters of the World – US Showcase” in the October/November 2004 issue of International Artist magazine. Pat was also included in a UNC Public TV Promotion by Bluewater Media in 2009 showcasing Eastern North Carolina and places of interest.
Additionally, her work can be found in the following municipal and corporate collections: The City of Raleigh,NC; The City of Rocky Mount; Nations Bank; United Carolina Bank; Wachovia Bank and Trust Company; Glaxo Corporation; Hardee’s Food Systems; First South Bank, Washington, NC; Hatteras Yachts, Inc.; Nash County Medical Center; Allied Marine of Florida; The Town of Nags Head; Outer Banks Outfitters, Morehead City, NC, and SAS Institute.
We are honored to bring you her work.