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“I have found this area to be a dynamic and exciting place to live as an artist. In effect, it has been a rebirth for me and my work,” Southport artist Jan Boland says.
She joins two other seasoned artists, potter Joyce Grazetti and painter Katrina Fairbank, as featured artists in the new Members Show at Franklin Square Gallery this month. The show launched Aug. 25 runs until Oct. 3.
All three featured artists have enjoyed a lifetime of art, yet all profess they continue to grow in the picturesque and stimulating creative environment of southeastern North Carolina.
After arriving here Boland experimented with pastels and has produced award-winning paintings. Grazetti discovered pottery as a new medium, and Fairbank has expanded her stylistic range in her favorite medium, acrylics.
Boland, a St. James resident, has been an artist for as long as she can remember. Since moving here, she has discovered pastels.
“Although I really dabbled in a little bit of everything as an art major, nothing has excited me the way pastels do,” she says.
After teaching art for a number of years, Boland became director of the Krempp Gallery in Jasper, Ind.
“My goal is to always learn and grow as an artist,” she says. “I feel the pastel stick is an extension of my fingers. Because I love to draw, this has an immediate appeal to me. The vibrant colors and expressive quality of the medium have introduced me to endless possibilities.”
She often finds subject matter in people and scenery of the coast. Her paintings of children and beachgoers of all ages often reflect her appreciation of local environment.
Prize-winning potter Joyce Grazetti first ventured into clay as a medium after moving to Oak Island from western Pennsylvania.
“My husband is a fisherman,” she says. “When he brought me here and I saw Franklin Square Gallery and Southport, I knew I could be happy here.”
After studying art in college, Grazetti became a second-grade teacher but continued to create art.
“I used to tell my students I wanted to become a beach bum or an artist,” she says. “Now I don't have time to be a beach bum.”
This year she is exploring different firing methods on her pottery, including raku, sagger, wood fire, low fire, and stoneware electric firing.
Her hand-built ceramics are influenced by forms and textures of nature.
“I enjoy the spontaneity of multiple shaping techniques and the marks that can be made in clay to create unique pieces.”
Though she painted in all media, Grazetti remains intrigued by clay: “Clay lets you play and even make mistakes. Some of my favorite pieces occurred after they fell on the floor.”
A two-time president of the Associated Artists of Southport, the organization that manages the gallery, Grazetti was instrumental in recent installation of the gallery’s new elevator. The car carrying students and artists to the studios and exhibition rooms on the second floor now bears an official plaque naming it “The Grazetti.”
Painter Katrina Fairbank has also enjoyed a lifetime of art, painting and drawing from a young age and creating art while pursuing other careers.
With a degree in psychology and special education, she became a special education teacher but continued to study art at colleges and universities across the country. Recently she has taught art in after-school, private school, and summer art classes.
“I love painting to music, and that influences my mood and my work,” she says. “Since I play the drums, I love capturing the movement and emotion of musicians doing what they love.”
Fairbank paints primarily in acrylics, though she also experiments with pastels, oil pastels and collage, and her work continues to evolve.
“My work is changing as I am finding more emotion in my subjects and painting. I am leaning towards a looser, more expressive style while still maintaining a sense of realism. I also strive to show the effect that light has on my subjects, and that is something which inspires me.”
Now living in Boiling Spring Lakes, Fairbank often depicts coastal scenes, boats and the waterway, and she does commissioned portraits of people and pets.
The paintings and pottery of these three artists represent a great variety in technique and style and will be featured for the coming month. Exhibiting members of the Associated Artists of Southport will also have their work on display. The Brunswick County Photo Show will be on the mezzanine.
Franklin Square Gallery is in historic downtown Southport two blocks from the waterfront behind Franklin Square Park. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Admission is free.
For more information call the gallery at (910) 457-5450 or visit the website at www.franklinsquaregallery.org.