Chris Graebner

St John’s Cathedral

After finishing college I spent 14 years running research labs, first in neuroscience and then in cardiology. It was a career that I loved, but when my son was born I returned to my first love, art. Art allowed me to work at home with more family-friendly hours. However, I think that much of my approach to painting has been influenced by my years in the lab. I love detail, and I love to find new ways to approach an old problem. When I see things I want to paint I’m constantly thinking about how I might do it. What technical problems are presented by that scene or that plant, and how should I handle those problems? What is the best medium – oil, cold wax, acrylic, ink, metalpoint, etc., then what is the best surface for it: canvas, linen, panel, paper, clayboard, scratchboard… Each image is a puzzle to be solved and assembled.

Colorful Portugal

Some artists paint from their memories or from their imaginations. I paint because I see something that moves me, something ephemeral, and I want to capture it and make it last. The places I paint are real places, the plants are real plants. Each is an individual experience. The process of painting internalizes that individual experience and makes it forever mine. And I’m at my happiest when the finished painting does the same thing for the viewer.


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Pringle Teetor

I dearly miss those hot and sultry summers with five minute rainstorms in the afternoon that turn the streets into steaming ribbons of asphalt and bring rainbows all over the city. I especially love the bright colors of pastel madras clothing that, to me, are summers in New Orleans, where I was born. When I started working on cane pieces this winter, these memories were my biggest inspirations in my work. Patterns of lines in different colors are most easily produced by a complicated ancient Italian technique called cane work.

Cane refers to rods of glass with color that can be simple, containing a single color on the inside (core cane) or complex with strands of one or several colors in pattern. Veil cane is where you have a color on the outside over a clear core, or at times a core of another color. Pulling cane takes a lot of time, especially if you want different types of cane in many different colors.

My partner, Dana, and I spent a good bit of time this year pulling a lot of cane in many different colors. We would take a large a “gather” of colored or clear glass, heat it and shape it a number of times. For veil cane, we first make a “cup” of color, then stuffing it with a mass of clear glass. With a metal rod at each end, we would stretch the glass to a length of 30 to 50 feet. Once it is cooled, it is broken into pieces anywhere from 5 to 8 inches long. These pieces are carefully laid out on a kiln shelf and heated in the reheating furnace until fused, then rolled up on the end of a pipe. Finally we begin to blow glass! It is a long process but the outcome is amazing. With many colors and types of cane, the possibilities are endless, which you an see in the show Colorful!



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Chris Graebner‘s paintings are often based on images gathered while traveling. The paintings in ColorFull are drawn from trips, foreign and domestic, taken over the last ten years. Says Graebner, “In the past few months I’ve spent hours going through my photo files choosing images that speak me – images that carry me back to a specific place and time. Once I’ve selected the images, I must choose the size, surface and medium best suited for each.” Graebner generally works on 4-6 paintings simultaneously so that the layers of each painting have time to dry while working on others. “Due to the back to back transitions of my son’s wedding, my husband’s retirement and our move to Elon last fall, I was out of the studio from August through January. Now, as we settle into our new home, I am again beginning to feel the grounding that being in the studio provides in my life. I hope that tranquility is manifest to the viewer in these new paintings.”

The majority of Pringle Teetor‘s pieces for this show are cane work, a centuries old Venetian technique of putting stripes of color and patterns into blown glass. “I’ve always had a broad color palette and here I am able to explore endless combinations of color patterns in clean lines.” The cane used in these pieces have either a colored core with clear on the outside, or veil cane, which has color on the outside with a clear core. Teetor made her veil cane with a variety of transparent or translucent colors, noting that as you look through the piece, the density of the color changes, causing interesting variations of color. Some pieces mix both types of cane, while others used strictly one or the other. In addition, several use varying size lines of contrasting colors to resemble plaids.

Lolette Guthrie is primarily a landscape painter. “Since I mostly paint from memory, my paintings are depictions of my recollections of the colors and the quality of light I experienced at a particular place and at a particular moment in time. For ColorFull, I thought about marveling at sunsets at the coast, remembering a pink and soft orange sky over Lake Jordan, the explosion of color when the sun shines through a stormy sky, the beauty of a broom straw field on a cloudy day.”



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Nell Chandler

Earrings for Mary Ann

Last year when I had my featured artist show I learned how to work with torch enamels. Throughout the year I had other obligations and have not had a chance to work with them since. I decided this year that I still had a lot to learn about torch enamels so I decided to feature them again for our show.

I took a couple of kiln fired enamel classes years ago but never really connected with it. But then one day I found myself mesmerized by torch enamel tutorials I would find on You Tube when I would have a few slow moments working at the gallery. I couldn’t stop watching them and then I  got a couple of books on the subject.  It seemed like I had most of the things I needed to get started and I knew I had left over enamels from those classes.

So last year I discovered that I absolutely loved the process of laying layer after layer of enamels and watching each color emerge after being red hot and then cooled down. That’s what I was missing when I tried kiln enameling! I loved being with the piece the whole process instead of putting it in a kiln and waiting to see what happened.

So this year I learned a few new techniques and bought myself some new colors and got to work. This was one of my most favorite times getting ready for our show.

And on a personal note it was a wonderful opening reception for all four of us. And my best friend from the 5th grade came to our opening from Alabama and we have kept in touch but we haven’t seen each other in years and years so that was a special treat. And my sister from Tennessee came and we relaxed on tubes in the Eno River Saturday. All in all it was a wonderful time.


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The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts continues its Featured Artist series with new works by two painters, Jude Lobe and Eduardo Lapetina, and one sculptor, Jason Smith.

Eduardo Lapetina writes, “The creation of my abstract paintings requires a state of active attention, being open to my thoughts and feelings. I tend to work in total isolation to discover the mysteries of my subconscious mind that are part of my own personal history. My abstractions hold the promise of dreams, visions, fears, intangibles and will. They are the result of a collaboration of my mind and spirit.

Titles of some of the paintings that I have produced for the Mindfulness are: ‘Back to Wonder,’  ‘The Trail is Now Visible,’ and “In the Forest of the Heart’. The title of each painting hints at both the physical appearance and the poetic ambiguity of the long journey that brings it into being.”

Jason Smith creates abstract sculptures with steel. Smith writes about his process: “I enjoy the manipulation of form in space to create visual balance. For Mindfulness I have combined pieces of steel and other metals to create compositions that convey rhythm, action and movement.”

Jude Lobe describes her inspiration for the art she produced for this exhibit: “We have all heard of mindfulness, but do we really understand it? I believe mindfulness is living in the moment and appreciating what is around us without judgment. I try not to interpret what is there – just to experience it.”

Lobe continues, “I walked outside and breathed the sweet air and listened to birds. Then returned to the studio and picked up a panel on which to paint. Choosing colors randomly from my palette, I applied them to the panel, layer after layer with no preconceived idea. Now and then I’d scratch the surface to reveal what was below.  A landscape emerged, almost as if the painting had a mind of its own. When I gazed at this new series of painted panels, I realized they all moved me in different ways. Sitting and viewing a blue painting made me feel relaxed, red made me feel excitement. After a while my left brain began to engage and I started to see what I wanted to add to the image to take it to its final stage.

I have always found creating art roots me in the present, in a peaceful space. Whether I am working in cold wax, metal, or clay, my expectation is that creating art with a calm mindset will translate those same feelings to the viewer.

Opening Reception

June 29



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Garry Childs writes of his new work, “I have been making a series of pieces in the past few years in which I apply local clays to the surface of my pots to develop complex textures. My new work for this show will combine this technique with the bright colors and carving seen on my planters, vases and bowls.”

Mixed-media artist and founding member, Pat Merriman, describes her inspiration for Combinations: “For this show I have created several collages in response to Our State Magazine. I learned several startling facts about my birth state. One collage forcuses on Biltmore School of Forestry. Another portrays a series of old wooden windminlls that lined our coast many years ago. It’s always exciting for me to discover obscure facts about North Carolina and to then turn to my canvases to create collages with both printed material and paint.”

Photographer Eric Saunders writes, “For my work Combinations means three different things. It can mean combining complementary or opposing elements in a picture, or combining more than one picture into a collage, or finally combining different digital techniques to manipulate a picture. I have made 10-15 photographic images utilizing all three of these methods, and all three of these types will be part of the featured artist show.”


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Susan Hope
Playful Puzzles
The preparation of the mosaic pieces for this show was a
challenging puzzle in every way. Mosaic art work is as old as time
and historically, have been done with tile or stone and in the more
present ages with glass. Since I have been working in stained
glass for 30+ years, I have hundreds of pounds of ‘scrap’ glass
stored for the next smaller use. Like a fabric artist with a ‘stash’ of
fabric, I too had a huge stash of glass to work with. Chips of the
rainbow, I like to call them.
Trees have always been powerful images for me and have been
used in all forms of my glass work. The piece “Matriarch”, is of the
huge, ancient, oak tree on the hill above my studio. She has stood
the test of time and storms and has never failed to greet me as I
gazed across the field. I find strength, stability and peace among
the trees.
My technique, is really simply my vision…imagination. There is
the mundane part of cutting and priming the backing board but,
sometimes I get lucky and images reveal themselves in rough
pencil sketches on the board or perhaps a few words of a song or
inspiring phrase that is running through my head that day. I
sometimes ‘see’ the images but more often they are revealed as I
begin to work.

Detail of Spring Festivities

The plastic bins of glass crowd my table as I begin to sort and
choose my palette. Once defined I begin cutting, chipping,
snipping and gluing pieces of glass in place. The hardest part is
that first piece of glass. Honestly, the whole process is a puzzle,
one that I create as I go and one that also forces me to find
pieces to fit into spaces created by others. It is critical that I work
slowly enough to assess the patterns and colors because once
the glue is dried the changes can only be made with a great deal
of elbow grease and occasional spewing of words.
After the design is revealed and shadows and tones are
established I continue to work the background. This is when the
pieces get smaller and smaller and smaller. Filling in the final
gaps with grout is exciting and the final cleaning can reveal far
more than I even imagined. The uniformity of the grout between
all those tiny pieces of glass is very satisfying.

Spring Festivities

I was inspired this winter as I worked by the bizarre seasonal
changes we experienced. “Surprise Snowfall” was done on the
day of the largest flakes ever seen and “Spring Festivities”
happened as the redbud trees began to bloom…earlier than they
should have. It seemed that the Seasons had come together to
play. That is what it was like to create all these mosaics too…
paying homage to my tree friends, many long hours of serendipity
and a playful spirit.

Surprise Snowfall