Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beeswax Luminaries

I belong to the Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow association (CRAFT) and one of the best things about it is that I have made friends with folks that own galleries similar to ours all over the country. We meet regularly at shows and you never know where you're going to run into each other.

I was in a gallery in another town a couple weeks ago and lo and behold a friend who has a gallery in Florida was there too!  "What other galleries have you been in I shouldn't miss" we asked each other. We LOVE to see what other people are doing, how they display things and frankly we love shopping for art.

She also said she was going to a show and I told her to look for the metal and rock birds we'd been selling. In turn she asked if I had seen these beautiful beeswax luminaries. I hadn't and immediately came home and called the artist on the phone.

They are spectacular beeswax globes with natural dried botanicals embedded in the shell. When back-lit by a candle the florals and the wonderful honey aroma truly reveal the glory of these unique objects.

Each luminary is hand crafted, signed and dated.

They make a beautiful gift and are well priced at $17 and come with 8 different types of flowers including our State Flower the Dogwood. You can order right here!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Switching Gears

A couple posts ago I spoke about my friend Brenda Behr and I both working in different mediums.

I am very busy doing paintings for my upcoming show, An Artist paints New Bern - 20 Years.

For the show there will be watercolors, oils, acrylics and clay.

I'm really excited that I've done more paintings this year than I have in many years - why I haven't been painting is

- I run a very successful business that has 6 employees
- I do all the ads (I did this for a living for many years so can't give it up even though I would love to)
- I do the bookkeeping (I think one reason we've - Carolina Creations - managed to survive and thrive in this economy is that I keep very close track of what we spend
- we have developed a very successful clay business - Celebration Pottery - and I decorate the pieces which I love doing but it takes a lot of time
- I am in the gallery 3 days a week - because I also do most of the buying it's important to know what people are looking for and respond to
- I do most of the buying - because I know what good design is and watch what we spend (refer to #3) and I seem to be able to buy for our customers not just what I like - plus it's very exciting to search out and find new work and meet the artists.

Many of our artist friends that have galleries no longer create their own work. Michael and I are determined not to let that happen but it is a struggle every day - paint or do business.

In the past, as I've been trying to learn how to do oil or acrylic paintings I would go paint with an accomplished artist and come home and do one great painting with what I learned. Then I wouldn't do another for months and by that time I forgot everything I learned. This year I've scheduled 2 shows for myself, one is hanging at Carolina Creations right now and the next one I spoke about above opens the 2nd Friday of September during ArtWalk.

Anyway, what switching gears refers to is that I've got to do a lot of paintings before September!  Everything does not always go as planned. I started this painting as a watercolor and while I really liked the composition (which is what I am best at) the colors were boring from the start.

So this morning, with my deadline looming, I covered the drawing/watercolor with acrylic medium so I could still see the drawing, and I'm going to finish it as an acrylic!  If it turns out I'll post the finished piece here.

Wish me luck   -  Jan Francoeur

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Busmans Holiday

I'm always looking forward to getting out of town. We love our home, we love our gallery, we love our work but we get inspiration from seeing different things. Our vacations are often (mostly) business trips with a day or two tacked on for ourselves.

The only thing is on those extra days we end up going to art galleries, visiting artist friends and sharing stories about business, techniques, trends and what's going on with shows etc.

The good news is we love what we do. Sometimes we talk about retiring (it's not going to happen any time soon!) but what would we do? Still make pots and paintings, still visit galleries, still talk about art.

It IS pretty neat to make a living doing what you would still do even if you were retired.

In the past 3 days we visited no less than 12 galleries, met with 7 artists we know, met 5 NEW artists, 3 of which we will have in our gallery soon, and spent one night with our potter/friend Hank Goodman and his wife Vicki.

Hank is a fabulous cook and his pots show it. When we have special events in our gallery we always use Hanks pots to serve the food in. Because he cooks he knows how to make pieces that enhance the presentation.

One thing he made was grilled peaches. Oh my!

We have a great selection of his work in our gallery! Check it out.

Janet Francoeur

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Plein Air Painting with Brenda Behr

My friend Brenda and I painted "en plein air" the other day. It's been a toasty humid summer so far but we managed to find some shade to paint in.

Like me, Brenda paints in watercolors and oils, even acrylics at times as well.

We both love and use different mediums, it just depends on the subject we're painting, the size and what we want to do with the piece when we're done.

We've got many pieces of Brenda's work in our gallery. Click here to see some pieces on our website.

I'm used to painting in my studio, it's quite different than painting on the street.  When painting en plain air the light changes constantly, people come up and talk to you, it's hot, the bugs bite, you forget something back in your studio,  etc.

When painting in your studio from photos you miss the nuances of color, you don't see behind and around things but it's quiet and cool and you can even paint in your robe. There is something to be said for both venues.

The ultimate was today when I looked out my window to do a painting looking up Pollock Street. I was painting "en plein air-conditioning!"

Jan Francoeur

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wow what a month so far slow blogging

July is usually hectic and so far this year is no different!

We started out on July 2-4 with a huge celebration in our Downtown. My niece came and had lots of fun.

Airshow, record setting BBQ Bun, reading of Declaration of Independence, Palace grounds, fabulous fireworks, it was great!

Our friend Paul read the Declaration of Independence at the Academy. Afterwords we gave toasts then the fiddler played.

Our view from our porch for the airshow and fireworks was front row!

Last Friday we had a huge ArtWalk. It's usually the biggest of the year and this years was no exception.

I spent the first week of the month finishing paintings for the show. 

It was camp weekend too. Some of the parents were still here this morning shopping!

The Christmas committee of our Downtown Merchants Assn. has met twice so we're already making plans for the 2010 version of a Dickens of a Christmas.

And now I'm working on pieces for my next show, celebrating New Bern and my 20 years painting it. This show will open during the September ArtWalk which is the second Friday and MS Bike Tour weekend AND the Friday before our big 300th Anniversary Weekend.

Summer will be over before you know it and we'll be thinking about Christmas - woops, I guess we already are.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Glass by Victor Chiarizia

While North Carolina is best known for its pottery we have some fabulous glass artists as well.  Penland School of Crafts in the western part of the state is a national center for craft education. The school offers workshops in books, paper, clay, drawing, painting, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles and other media.

Each year approximately 1200 people come to Penland for instruction. The school has no standing faculty; its instructors include full-time studio artists as well as teachers from colleges and universities.

Most of the glass blowers, potters and other craftspeople we represent have been at Penland either as teachers or students.

Since 1975 Victor Chiarizia has explored many facets of glassmaking, including blown, flameworked, cast, etched and sandblasted.

Today, Chiarizia's sculptural works express his thoughts about life, growth and renewal in art glass comprised of two distinctive techniques--hot glass and flameworked glass with vitreous fired-on enamels.

Victor was educated at
The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass / CORNING, NY, Haystack School of Crafts / DEER ISLE, ME, Salem College / PENNSGROVE, NJ.

His work is in museums and collections all over the world including
The Palace Hotel / BEIJING
Absolut Vodka / TEANECK, NJ
Royal Caribbean / LONDON, UK
Herald Examiner Building / LOS ANGELES, CA
Sandwich Glass Museum / SANDWICH, MA
The Smithsonian / WASHINGTON, DC
Heublein Corporation / FARMINGTON, CT
In New York City at St. Thomas Cathedral, AT&T, St. Ignatius Church, The Frick Collection, Tiffany's, Bulgari, Morgane Le Fay Fashion House and Barney's

And we're lucky to have his work in NEW BERN!!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Carol Tokarski

My friend Carol Tokarski and I are doing a show together at Carolina Creations which opens next Friday, July 9, during ArtWalk from 5-8 pm. It runs through the end of August.

Carol and I went to the same small college in southern Michigan, Siena Heights University in Adrian. Carol grew up near Three Rivers where coincidentally, my father and other relatives lived. Three Rivers is on the other side of the state from where Siena Heights is and I grew up.

We were at Siena Heights at the same time but didn't really know each other. We had the same professors.

When we arrived in New Bern in May of 1989 I went into the Arts Council and picked up a newsletter. In the newsletter was an article welcoming their new gallery director, Carol Tokarski, Siena graduate.

I called her up and said "i'm not big into this alumni thing but I went to Siena too" In her usual manner she was a little wary of me but we met, became good friends and have had many adventures through the years!

She has worked in the field of Arts Administration since leaving Siena Heights and has been the Director of the Craven Arts Council for the past 5 years.

Carol grew up on a farm and that's where her heart still lies. For our show she's painted colorful chickens and roosters.

Stop in and see them!

-  Jan Francoeur