Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in the New Year by cleaning the studio!

Wow 2012 is less than 24 hours away and what am I doing? Well I had to go to a nearby farm this morning and load hay bales into the trailer for the ponies. Returned to discover a client is coming by tomorrow. Oh no! art studio, is , at best, the place for sublime creating and soft music, introspective thoughts and .......yeah, right! In the working world of art, it is a frenzy of activity in the weeks leading up to the holiday deadlines...shipping, wrapping, packing, touching up paintings, emails, phone calls, deliveries, last minute orders, art supplies scattered everywhere....and I love every minute of it.
Point is, we run on adrenaline I think, so the week AFTER Christmas, when the big day has passed, the relatives are still in and out.... it is obvious that the studio is in serious need of a re-organization. Or at least a clean up!  So I stopped long enough to update this blog and now heading back to the studio, coffee in hand, to continue the clean up.

Front of art studio

Inside our studio
Unusually mild weather is making this a pleasure. Warm sunshine, dogs lounging on the porch. But in a few days we will pay for this mild month of December with highs of, get this, 37 degrees rather than the almost 67 degrees of today!

Hmmm, just why AM I inside cleaning up?

Ah well-Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December rush!

Oh my, December is in full swing and I have to be so careful not to post painting and portraits that may be gifts! The large 30 x 40 oil from the last post is completed and on the gallery slideshow.
I have just completed another dog portrait-this time of a red Border Collie using PanPastels. The image is also on my Facebook page :-) 
Off to the studio...still trying to get a tree up!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The beginning of a large pastel portrait!

A work in progress: 30 x 40 Pastel Portrait
Here is a sanded 30 x 40 pastel that I have begun of a whole family-the two daughters, along with their horses or first to be and dad, along with the two Golden retrievers and a former horse,  are still way-y-y-y in the background waiting to emerge from their anonymity :-).

Keep an eye out for the completed version!

Friday, October 21, 2011

"I met a man Bo Jangles and he'd dance for you...."

When my client brought me an old, out of focus photo for this little pastel commission, all I could think of was that line from the "Mr Bo Jangles" song that said something like "his dog up and died....after twenty years he still grieves..."

It simply goes to prove that there is no time limit on the loss of a beloved pet.

I am honored to have been the artist to bring this little guy back into focus for his owner!

LOL but now I cannot get that song out of my head!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The timeless appeal of babies

Molly giving hugs. Pastel: 10 x 12
In the long world of art there has never been a subject more appealing than babies unless it was mother and baby images (think Bible)
So when the opportunity comes to create a pastel portrait from an adorable photo, what artist can resist?

1 year old Baby Molly had just given her mother the "Barney hug" when her mom snapped this charming image with her cell phone (who would have thought) and I created a 10 x 12 pastel portrait of the image to capture that moment in a timeless manner!

Now who wouldn't love Barney as well?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Putting Art to use on a Quilt Trail

Steve and Theresa with the first Quilt Block east of the NC mountains
Art takes on many forms and our most recent project is celebrating the art and history of quilting. What better way to combine art  for the masses than by establishing a Quilt Trail. Popular in over 30 states and several Canadian Provinces they offer numerous entrepreneurial opportunities for artists and businesses! And in a country that has become way too dependent on government handouts, we're all about promoting self sufficiency. :-)
It's a huge amount of work but as we're proponents of  the "roll up your shirtsleeves and start" school of thinking, we simply.....started. :-) So here is the first Quilt block-a 4'x 4' block constructed of MDO sign board and framed in 2 x 4's by a volunteer and hand painted by Steve. A substantial of our research comes from the best (and we don't see a need to re-invent the wheel!) Barbara Webster-founder and director of the western NC Quilt Trail.

This pattern is called "Card Trick" and the building it is now attached to (the Franklin Country Arts Council building) was originally home to a group of bridge players! Plans are to have approximately 200 throughout the county.
A fun change from structured painting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The beauty of GREY

Waiting for the Class
I love to create portraits for my clients and this gorgeous Grey is no exception!

I photographed him, per her request, at one of the shows and later created this 18 x 24 pastel based on a selection from the group.

You simply have to know horses to know what photos are the best to work from and which are not :-)

The tiny roan flecks are difficult to see in the image but are more obvious in the actual piece!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grabbing inspiration from the mountains!

Watauga River near Boone NC
For landlubbers there is nothing more inspirational than mountains!
Coming from the northern reaches of the Appalachian, Berkshire and Catskill mountain ranges, I find a little of them all along the Blue Ridge mountains in NC. 

We explored the trails along the parkway, rode horses on top of a mountain with views to the heavens and tubed down the rocky river of the Watauga!
Standing on one of the many boulders strewn around the river!

The incredible views from the mountain top riding ring!
Life is good!
Now I am refreshed and ready to paint!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saxapahaw Art Gallery

We drove the 60 miles to a very cute little mill village on the banks of the Haw River in NC last night to deliver some of Steve's paintings to the young co-op gallery expanding in the old former mill offices.
You cannot miss the ambiance and the unusual name of the town, Saxapahaw.
Steve's seascapes will be part of the "American Summer" art show.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adding a mini-gallery in Wake Forest, NC

Wow, hard to believe that I was the first artist to set up a studio in downtown Wake Forest back in 1991! I was a single mom with 4 children, working as an artist but only able to afford a small rental to live in so I needed the studio space to work!

Later, after my artist husband, Steve Filarsky and I married, we built a huge studio next to our house, about 12 miles away. Since then we have had studios in the charming little town off and on but our travels kept us from being there as often as we liked. 
Add to that the obvious fact that we already HAD a great working studio where we could walk out the door in bathrobes and coffee in hand to go to work has some envious perks (our friends like to point out!) 

But it made sense to have gallery space as we partner with the Wake Forest Art and Frame for art classes! So now we have our art back in town on their walls as a sampling of what we create!. Go visit, enjoy the art, the amazing framing and gallery they have and stop in one of the little area shops for lunch!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Paint Horses Art Party!

 It's every little girl's dream!  (Well big girls too) to ride, own or somehow dream horses!

The next best thing is to paint your own!

So we did for two and a half hours one evening recently at MacNair's Barn in Raleigh, NC.
We had a "Paint Horses Art Party" for a group of 29 4Her's.  Yes I said 29! And they spent a little over two hours totally involved in painting a 9 x 12 acrylic painting of a horse they owned, rode or just loved.
 No computers, no texting, no cell phone talking. Just pure involvement in the Art Zone! The results speak for themselves as this grouping of photos shows.

We did this as a fund raiser for the 4H group so at the end of the evening the group had raised almost $300.00 from the event!

We did not get everyone's photo but the ones we did manage to snap before the evening ended...well their expressions say it all! 

Visit our Art Student Academy website to read what the girls had to say!

29 girls-2.5 hours and every one painted their own horse or one that they ride at the barn at MacNairs Country Acres in Raleigh NC!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Portrait of Chloe in the Flowers

How weird to have Blogger go down and this post disappear!
So here it is again-a completed 30 x 24 pastel on Art Spectrum paper created with NuPastels and PanPastels.
Chloe was originally in her home sitting on the steps-the beauty of being an artist is that all of that mundane stuff can be changed!
So I added the flowers that seem to epitomize little girls in the Spring (a good thing!) and now we have a charming memory of being 5! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pastel of Little Girl

Portrait of Chloe
I originally photographed this little girl in her house sitting on the steps. The fun (and challenge) of being an artist is the ability to create scenes or change details at will! So in this case I added the spring flowers and bench to anchor the feeling that such a setting invokes with many little girl portraits :-)

The final portrait is a 24 x 30 Pastel, created with a combination of panpastels and nupastels on Art spectrum paper..

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Enjoying a piece of the Artist's Life. Come paint with us!

Spring! It is that time when our old roses burst into a stunning array of colors and as an artist I just drink it up! This year we decided to share the experience!. So, the day before Mother's Day, as most of the roses are coming into their colorful glory then, we will host our own Art Party at our studio!
Yes, the day promises to be sunny, in the 70's (heaven), and we'll have mimosas and wine for both classes to enhance that experience! All in all, you'll experience a day of "painting like Monet" by using our oils and easels to paint "plein air" (or outside at that moment!) any of our little hideaway areas of gorgeous roses! Complete information is on our SITE.  
A view vignettes are below! And yes, even I, as a portrait painter, will step outside my element and comfort zone and just enjoy creating and living in the moment! Come join us Saturday, May 7 and Saturday May 14 (same place and scenes but in watercolor!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Art Party!

Wonderful results from participants in 2 START classes we  held in Stantonburg,NC April 23

Here I am playing around with a collage of photos taken April 23 at a wonderfully fun art party we held with a group of artists at one of the members lake cottage! Hmmm-it's a little small but spending a day painting can be a tremendously enjoyable event!
I took the outdoor photos before the sun came out and took the fog away but you can still enjoy the view that we had!
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Taking the Horse portrait beyond the photo.

How can you not love the beauty of a horse? It's been the subject of artists for back to the cavemen days (think Neanderthal caves in France!)

I created this 20 x 28 saddlebred on sanded paper using NuPastels and PanPastels while at a show in Raleigh, NC.

When creating portraits of animals, expression is what sets your art apart from that of another artist. In creating expression, the eyes are everything!

Body language is important as well. Notice the proud, upright stance of this lovely horse? The head carriage is typical of a Saddlebred.

This closeup of the head of the same image shows the details of the eye and it's individual expression.

The tack (or lack of) always plays a part in the final portrait, so it's important to depict the accuracy for the breed and discipline.

Artists need to know and study the horse, the different disciplines, the different breeds! They are not generic and knowing the traits of the one you are creating allows you to develop a painting far beyond just a photographic likeness! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Getting off the cell phones and painting!

Had a great time at Wake Forest Art and Frame last night during the second Friday bash held each month in beautiful downtown Wake Forest!
I have added a photo here but a link to the rest of the first ones with more to come from a few other cameras! The fun part is that the teens put down their cell phones and picked up the paint brushes and.....didn't even text :-)
 New classes at Art Student Academy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Painting dark skin tones

First draft of 18 x 24 oil
When painting people, you have to take into account the surroundings...will they be neutral? A scene of some sort? A room? Going back to the "less is more" concept, the other thing is will the background or clothes detract from the subject?

So here, in an 18" x 34" oil are the challenges, not the first being that I had 3 days to paint this! And just a few photographs! The woman sat at a desk in a different set of clothes. The clothes they wanted were in another photo of her standing....white with some decoration.  And the hair was from still another photograph (the second image is the "correct" hairstyle:-). 

After roughing in the portrait clothes and sending it to the clients, I realized how the white overwhelmed her dark skin tones.  So I completely changed all the colors surrounding her so that the opposite happens....SHE pops:-)  Take a look.

I have not changed anything in her face except I darkened her teeth just a shade.
Second draft and changes to 18 x 24 oil

Now the focus is on her and not the white outfit!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When less is more

There are times when less is more and often that is the case in paintings! Here are two examples. The 18 x 24 horse pastel is an unfinished display painting that I decided to leave that way after people were surprised while I was working on it to discover that it was not done :-). I like the vagueness and "wispiness" of the image.

Wind at her back
Summer at the Beach

The 24 x 20 oil  is a client portrait that will be completed as the client desires. My artist husband, Steve is painting this one.  But I love it at this stage...warm, inviting tones of sunlight...makes you feel you are right there and feeling the sun on your shoulders!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adding a new slide show

I love it when I play with technology and something finally clicks! LOL
So I have had fun putting together this slide show. Enjoy!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Painting the Past

NC tobacco bar by M Theresa Brown. Pastel 16 x 20
All through the south, down any country road, are the remains of tobacco barns. They all go back to the time when tobacco was king and the best paying job in the south for the average worker and teenager!
Some, like this one that I created in pastels, are the oldest and made from logs. Others are cinder block, tile and wood siding covered with tar paper. All were built under or in groves of huge shading oak trees. 
Talk to someone about "putting up tobacco" and you will hear of one of the hottest, dirtiest jobs a kid could have over the summer!
As artists, it's important to recognize areas and structures as history and although I am not, by nature, a landscape artist, even I could not resist painting the echoes of history while watching the play of light and shadows across this old time capsule!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Scottish Deerhound

I was  painting this 16 x 20 Pastel before the recent win at Westminster by a Scottish Deerhound! A very cool breed. Big but light footed and a real couch potato despite the regal bearing!

More at!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine Pencils

It doesn't get much better than this when thinking of a gift that is priceless!  Daddy John Boggs communing with baby Molly the first day of her life!  A $225.00 investment in a 12 x 14 portrait that will become Molly's legacy in years to come!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Painting the Family pets

January 29 turned into a stunningly beautiful day! Our 10-12 class on Painting your family dog or cat was packed and most of the participants were here for the day!

So by lunchtime we were opening the doors and letting in some brilliant sunshine :-) The coffee was on, participants were happily just doesn't get any better than that!

Upcoming workshops are on our website!
 This is her very first horse painting! Is she happy? :-)
Little Sara was pleased with her dog painting!

 Betty is more of a pro and it showed in her beautiful cat painting!
 And this participant drove all the way from Wilson to take the class and created a beautiful horse painting!
Emily's first horse painting!

                         Emily came with her mom and   together they had some amazing paintings to take home to show Dad!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tobacco Sticks for the Garden Fence

It's been over 10 years since we first put up our garden fence using old tobacco sticks from a local farmer. They have withstood the test of time, kids, dogs, soccer balls and scrambling squirrels but recently many were looking a little worse for wear.  So again I located another farmer and secured around 700 of these useful sticks to replenish our current fence and build an additional one next to the Art Studio.

I think of it as Green Building :-). After all, I have given new life to virtually antique wood..left over from North Carolina's tobacco past. Humbling to think that there was a time when these tobacco sticks were an indispensable piece of harvesting equipment on so many farms. Times really do change!
We picked a frigidly cold day last week to go and get them.   Our van was full of art equipment so rather than unload all of it,  we drove our two Hondas up to the farmer's barn and loaded them both down with the sticks that he had. I showed him the photo I had snapped of our fence and he was impressed
"Never thought about doing that," he said. "We've been using them as kindling to start fires."

These sturdy, handmade 4 ft long "sticks" were used to hang (string) tobacco from and then laid across the beams in the tobacco barns to dry. I think that virtually anyone in NC over 35 who was born and raised here, "worked tobacco" as a youngster. It was then the money crop of the State and the way to make good money as a teenager back in the day. It was apparently dirty, sweaty, back breaking work (and I wonder if a teen today would even consider it? :-)  )

Ah well, to each his own! Below is the winter photo of a section of the garden fence with tobacco sticks along with a spring one of the Seven Sisters roses in bloom! And you thought artists only painted!
Winter View of garden fence section with tobacco sticks

Blooming Roses on the tobacco stick fence

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Going back in time with a Portrait

Wow. This lovely woman was my client's grandmother!

This large 18 x 24  pastel portrait was created from a photo of a tinted photo and it was great fun to do!  It is often easier working virtually life size than working small and the impact is stunning.

Most of the "historical" portraits that I create for clients, who go back this far in time, are for genealogists who come to me with faded black and white photos...sometimes even tin types. 
Not all of my subjects come from the nineteenth century or have such an elegant photo of themselves. More often than not I am presented with black and white photos of hard working men and women who are squinting in the sunlight, momentarily stopped by a photo in their day to day labors.
Most of those portraits are my popular "cameo" size. (around 9 x 12) Often the clients know the coloring of their ancestors and together we bring to life, in a portrait, the very people who gave them life! Upon completion, I send them the digital file and they in turn create small copies for other interested family members.  A good way to share the memories or history of one's life and remember the important role that earlier family members played in who you are today!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January art workshops that POP!

What do all these happy people in the photos have in common?
They all came to our studio, and whether they were new to painting or experienced, two hours later, they all left with a completed painting!
And best of all, the class was just $30.00 with ALL supplies included! And better yet, if they participated (and almost everyone does) in the second class, it's just HALF PRICE! Convenient online sign up.

There will be hot coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade and tea for refreshment. Bring your lunch (or places nearby!) If it is nice weather (we can only hope) we can picnic outside......we hope you are animal lovers (5 dogs, 2 ponies, 2 goats)

So what classes are coming up at Art Student Academy?
This link takes you to a list for the next few months:

Saturday, Jan 15 from 10-12 we will learn all about colors, what to select, what to mix..this is a must have class for anyone who wants to learn and improve their painting skills! 
We have just a few openings left!
Same day from 1-3: Beautiful landscapes! This class is designed to take the skills you just learned and put them to work!

Sat Jan 29 from 10-12: Paint DOGS and CATS! Only 2 spots left for this popular class! . Popular class for a parent with a child.
Same day from 1-3: Paint Horses! Oh my, this class is full!

But we have another Dog and CAT class in Raleigh which is ALL DAY at the Jerry's store in Raleigh, NC

All of our contact information can be found on the website of
Sign up today!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Theresa's radio interview!

Radio Interview!

I spent an hour on the phone for a radio interview with Dana Woods on Blog Talk Radio last month. What a fun experience that was! Visit the link below, which is on my "about Me" page on the Art Career Experts website and for an hour listen to what the motivating reasons were in my becoming an artist.

(Hint) I guess I should also add that there is a direct correlation in pursuing goals between need and motivation! Enjoy!
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