Weeks ago, a secret dream came true for me. It was something I had longed hoped to do, and I finally got the chance.
Bill Irwin of Augusta rock band Impulse Ride approached me with a request. He had written a song for his band called "Santa on the Savannah." It was included in the 2023 "12 Bands of Christmas" compilation album, and he asked me if I'd be willing to make a piece of art based on the song. It would be a donation to help support Children's Hospital of Georgia.
For years I dreamed of a rock band contacting me to make a piece of art. The dream kinda hung around in the ether, and I believed that one day I'd be get to do just that.
Of course I jumped at the chance to make my dream come true.
Now, bear in mind that I am a portrait artist and have never painted anything like the piece I was asked to make. But when I heard the song and listened to the lyrics, the image arranged itself in my brain. I decided to give it a shot, and the resulting image was a cute children's-type art piece that I am actually proud of.
The painting is on display at Joanie Lamb Hair Salon at 1528 Monte Sano Avenue. A bid sheet is available and starting bid is at a low $50. All proceeds benefit Children's Hospital of Georgia. The painting measures 16x20 and is wired for hanging. To place a bid, see Joanie at her salon or call 706-737-4247.
Ruskin Yeargain of Impulse Ride appeared on December 14's The Morning Mix to promote Santa on the Savannah. Click the link to see the segment.
May you have a wonderful, safe, and joyous holiday season!
My husband Dean and I after I gave my artist talk at Souls of the Midnight Dreamers.
My goodness how fast time flies.
In late August, I was a guest on WRDW's Morning Mix program to discuss my solo show. A few days after the reception was held, I was interviewed by WJBF's Karlton Clay for a short news segment that aired that week. These were the second and third times I have been on local television this year, and I am still so grateful for the opportunities!
On Saturday, September 2, 2023, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History hosted a reception for Souls of the Midnight Dreamers, my 3rd-ever solo art show, this one sponsored by RedWolf Advertising. It was a night I will never forget.
Upon arrival at the Conference Center on the Museum campus, I walked the perimeter of the room.
As I walked, I took in all of my 36 paintings and drawings we had hung just a couple days before the reception was to take place. Each piece of artwork had a little caption under it sharing little-known facts about the people I portrayed in my art. (Folks who attended later expressed how they enjoyed reading the factoids and how they learned a lot of things they'd never before known.)
A podium stood at the front of a room filled with chairs for attendees to sit upon while noshing on refreshments. That podium would be the place where I would face my strongest fear.
Let me take you back to that night, for those who were unable to attend, and give you a taste of the magic that was had. At the end of this blog, you will find photos from the evening. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who took what photo, but most of them were taken by Rhian Swain, owner of RedWolf Advertising. I just absolutely adore her.
It was thrilling not only to see so many of my friends but to see so many folks in the community, people I have never met, come out to see my artwork. I introduced myself to each and every person who walked in that door. The love I felt from everyone was intoxicating. It was especially exciting to see Pat Knox-Hudson arrive. To have her present meant the ultimate success and I felt great joy finally getting the chance to meet her.
Our caterer, Nancy Chance Blanchard of Nancy's Fancy Feast, provided a delicious spread of treats, none of which I had the opportunity to sample. Everyone raved over the food and at the end of the night the only thing that remained were cookies. Success! I maybe grabbed a bottle of water before my artist talk. Maybe? I can't remember much prior to that moment.
Music for the reception was provided by BillKarpJazz. Bill and his wife Nancy are two of the most amazing human beings I've ever known. Bill's jazz selections set the tone for the entire evening and the crowd loved his setlist and his bubbly personality. I was thrilled to learn that he was approached for gig bookings during my reception. He truly deserves all the success in the world.
When it was time for me to speak, Corey Rogers, the Executive Director of the Laney Museum, introduced me to the crowd that had gathered. Most of the chairs were taken but it was standing room only once I was given the mic.
I was so scared. So nervous. Public speaking has always been a fear of mine. Any kind of public performance terrifies me. This is mostly why I have never learned to dance, play any kind of competitive sport, do anything physical in front of anyone. That said, I knew I had to give a talk, so I wrote a speech and saved it in a note on my phone a few weeks before the reception was to take place.
Once I stood up in front of the room, I laid the phone down on the podium, squeezed the mic, then addressed the crowd. Within the first two or three sentences spoken, I felt myself soaring with the attendees.
We had become one in spirit.
I spoke a little about my history, my origins, and my journey as an artist. Surprisingly, I found myself looking directly at various people as I spoke, engaging the audience and bringing everyone along on the tale I'd spun about Midnight Dreamers. I highlighted several of the paintings that lined the walls, focusing on the humanity behind the celebrity of each Dreamer I discussed.
My original speech clocked in at just under 5 minutes. The speech I gave, free-flowing and free of fear, lasted nearly 10. When I was finished, the crowd gave me a standing ovation. One of the attendees told me that I was an excellent public speaker and that I should think about doing talks more often.
I know my jaw must have hit the floor.
The rest of the evening went very well. I made two sales and met a lot of great folks. For a little "party favor," I had business cards made by Moo.com. They each had one of five different prints of Dreamer paintings on the back. Those business cards were gobbled up by collectors. My stickers, featuring a self portrait in watercolor I call "Star Girl," flew, too.
Before my husband Dean and I departed, Corey asked me if I would like to paint the Museum's new Little Library. I jumped at the chance. He also stated he wanted me to do another show in 2024, this time with Rhian Swain who, as mentioned earlier, owns RedWolf Advertising.
I was speechless. It was the most amazing time ever, and I left that night exhausted, exhilarated, and emotional.
Before the end of September, the show was extended for another month. If you haven't had time yet to visit the exhibition, you have till the end of October to see the show.
Since that night, I have submitted a painting for the 7th Annual October Spooktacular event at Le Chat Noir. That reception happens on Friday, October 20 from 6-8pm. Just yesterday I found out that my piece, a portrait of Herman Munster, sold already! I have a piece in the upcoming Oysters on Telfair event at Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. That event happens on November 2. Also, three of my paintings will be available to purchase at the upcoming Winter Art Show at City Gallery. I will share more on that when I have the info.
I have no idea what the future holds, but there are several group events coming up in 2024, plus the show with Rhian and another show with my friend Rachel Shea Beck of Pelted Head Studio. Rachel and I are doing a collaboration on a brilliant idea that she came up with and I'm so excited. Voices of Augusta will happen again next summer at Augusta & Co. Heather Rene Dunaway has asked me to cocurate that one, and I already have some pieces in mind to make for the show. So much to look forward to, and I hope that you will come out to one or all of the events that are coming up.
If you have made it this far, thank you for being here, for reading, and for being a subscriber to the newsletter and/or a reader of this blog. I hope you have an amazing autumn and that life is treating you well.
Please enjoy the event photos that follow. I'll be working on commissions and trying new art ideas going forward for the rest of 2023. Until next time, much love and peace from my heart to yours.
I will never not be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that present themselves to me. This morning I was a guest on The Morning Mix, a local morning news program on WRDW here in Augusta. The hosts Cliff Bennett and Zayna Haliburton were gracious as always and made me feel quite at home. This was the second time this year that I've appeared on the show. Today, I talked a little about my participation as social media marketer for the upcoming Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival. I was also given the opportunity to share a bit about Souls of the Midnight Dreamers, my solo art exhibit that is soon to hit the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. SO many wonderful things happening this September! Didn't get a chance to bring it up, but there is another art show I'm a part of that takes place on September 1. It's the Book on a Box exhibit by the Book Tavern, downtown Augusta's amazing bookstore. Click all the links to read more about what's in store for September. Hope to see you around town next month!
Sponsored by Augusta's RedWolf Advertising, Souls of the Midnight Dreamers is a solo art exhibition celebrating human achievement and the power of dreams that come true. Each personality featured in this exhibit began their life’s journey with a dream. That dream became an all-consuming desire. Each person burned the midnight oil, lying in bed until the early morning hours dreaming of how to reach the heights, to land that role, that recording contract, that job they so longed to acquire. They were souls afire, ignited with a passion that kept them dreaming, figuring out ways to move one step closer and doing the work necessary to make their dreams come true. Each person here embodied the soul of a midnight dreamer, and their successes remind us that we, too, can realize our dreams no matter how big or how small they may be.
The exhibition will be on display for the entire month of September with works available for purchase. You're invited to attend as we celebrate the power of achieving our dreams!
Francie Klopotic was born and raised in East Atlanta Village and taught herself to draw faces at the age of ten. A portrait artist for over 45 years, she finds exquisite beauty in the diversity of humanity and has spent most of her life drawing portraits in graphite and colored pencil. In 2018, she began showing her work at galleries and in art shows across the River Region. She has several collectors and many of her works are in private collections across the Southeast, Midwest and New England. In 2021 Francie picked up a paintbrush for the first time and began painting portraits in bold and bright hues. Painting opened up a whole new world for her as an artist, allowing Francie the ability to fully express her love for Pop Art and pop culture in a new way. Her influences include Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Peter Max, and Alex Katz. Francie’s goal as an artist is to encourage others to embrace their own uniqueness and to revel in their beauty, for every human is a work of art.
It's been a super busy year for me! Here is another group show that I'm thrilled to be a part of, this time at my favorite black box theatre.
On Friday evening, July 21, please join us at Le Chat Noir on 8th Street in downtown Augusta for Art of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Art Show. Heather Dunaway of the Greater Augusta Arts Council has curated this show celebrating The Lord of the Rings. As a portrait artist, you know I had to paint someone. So, I painted my interpretation of Gandalf.
I hope to see you there!
Gandalf by Francie Klopotic
On First Friday, July 7, there will be a celebration of women, goddess style, at 600 Broad in downtown Augusta! 4P Studios hosts the 2nd Annual Femmes de Pouvoir art show, and you're invited! Several local women artists have gathered together to explore what it means to be a woman of power, and the artwork is absolutely stunning. I'm honored to have a few pieces in this show and am sharing a wall with the insanely talented Christina Rice!
My work on the left. Christina Rice's work on the right. All goddess inspired women of power!
The reception will be held on July 7 starting at 7pm. Please mark your calendars now to join us in celebration of all things women!
Melinda Swift, owner of the Olde Town Inn, is hosting the upcoming Olde Town Inn Peach Gala to be held on Friday, July 7 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Olde Town Inn. Parking is located behind the Inn at 410 4th Street, Augusta, GA 30901.
This Gala is being held in celebration of Melinda's 7 years of Inn ownership in addition to the Inn’s 153rd anniversary. Each of the Inn's five rooms are being dedicated to one of five local women of Augusta history. Those women are Butterfly McQueen, Celia DeLaigle, Marion Hollins, Agnes Holliman, and Princess Augusta.
With sponsor support, Melinda will be raising funds to house breast cancer patients at her Inn while they receive treatment. Melinda is a recent breast cancer survivor, so this event is very special to her personally. In addition to this, she will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a student at Davidson Fine Arts.
I have been chosen to curate this art show and sale, and I can't express my gratitude and excitement at this opportunity! Dipping my toe in the sea of art show curating is scary but thrilling and I look forward to helping local artists find new collectors at this special art buying event.
Tickets for the Gala are $40 per person. Victorian dress is encouraged but not mandatory.
Click HERE to learn more and to purchase your tickets! Hope to see you at the Gala!
Photo courtesy of RedWolf Advertising
A reception was held on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History for the Emerging Artists Exhibition. You can read my column here to learn more!
I'm excited to announce that I've been accepted into yet another group exhibition, this time at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History! My painting of Sharon Jones and my mixed media drawing of Billy Preston will join the artwork of many new and established artists.
Below is the official press release. Hope to see you at this reception. It's going to be amazing, especially with the high school students whose work will be on display!
Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History Emerging Artists Exhibition
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is excited to welcome a first-time exhibit entitled “Emerging Artists” on display through March. This new exhibit highlights a lot of the new artistic talent in the River Region. It also includes a selection of more recognized artists. The mixture of new and established will give the newer artists an opportunity to learn more about Augusta’s arts community.
A list of the artists that have artwork on display include:
“Emerging Artists” will be on display at the Laney Museum in February and much of March 2023. A reception will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm. Artists will discuss their paintings and offer insights about their artistic journeys.
On Friday, February 3, 2023, the Voices of Augusta reception was held at Augusta & Co., and wow did the CSRA turn out for the event! From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., nearly 100 people came through the doors to enjoy the sounds of BillKarpJazz as they sipped wine, nibbled on treats, and perused the 13 portraits I created to celebrate local-grown talent. It was an amazing night and one I will never forget! Huge thanks to all who attended and to those who bought art. My heart is overfull!