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Below you will discover our artists' history - how, what, and why they paint, or create.

  Pat Flachbart

Meredith Janssen

Born in St. Louis, Mo, Pat moved with her husband and children to Paris, France in 1986.  During this time, she was able to resume her artistic endeavors.  Working with a group of International artists from Brazil, England, Holland, Germany, Japan, as well as the U.S. Pat painted both in oil and watercolor throughout Europe.  For the three years she resided in France, Pat refined both her style and interests in painting.


Upon returning to the U.S. Pat and her family settled in Monterey County, CA.  After eight years of being surrounded by the beauty and the “fog” of the Bay area, Pat and Dick sought the sun and serenity of the Sierra Foothills and made this beautiful area their home for the next five years.


Having received a BA in Studio Arts from San Jose State University, Pat expanded her artistic explorations to include the most unusual processes of creating Handmade Paper and Raku Pottery.  In making paper and Raku pottery Pat incorporates the very old and traditional methods along with her own innovations, resulting in unique and beautiful art pieces.  She has studied and adopted many different variations in her work over the last few years and both thoroughly enjoys and respects the dramatic and unpredictable results of her labors.  Each and every attempt seems to bring both new challenges and awesome fascination.


Pat’s work has won prestigious awards and has also been purchased for display in several corporate offices including:  IBM, San Jose, CA, Seagate Magnetics, Fremont CA, and Hyundai Electronics, Milpitas, CA.  Additionally, her works have been shown in the U.S. Embassy, Paris, France, The American Church, Paris, France and many of the Town Halls and Exhibition Centers in the suburbs of Paris.  She is thrilled to have her work shown in commercial enterprises and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.


Just a few years ago Pat and her husband moved to Hickory, NC.  The backdrop of the Western Carolina Mountains and the country roads of the Piedmont have provided Pat with inspiration for her future art which has taken a bend toward expressive and representational abstract.  A new environment always lends itself to new attitudes in one’s work.


Pat offers classes in pottery and painting at her home in Hickory, NC and teaches painting classes at Catawba Valley Community College.


Her work is currently exhibited in several venues in Hickory, NC.



Meredith moved to the Hickory area from her original longtime home in Monmouth County, NJ in 2007.  She received her art instruction and training at Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, New Orleans (1967-1969) and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from George Washington University (1971).


The years 1971-1979 were spent living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where she continued her photographic and drawing work.  While there, Meredith became involved with the up and coming video art scene, working on the technical side of video for such internationally well-known artists as Nan Hoover and Raul Marroquin.


After returning to the United States, Meredith received an Associate of Arts degree in Media Communication and worked as a producer and cameraperson for a cable news magazine show.  She also renewed her interest in oil painting, taking courses at the community college.  Her studies in the arts were enhanced while working toward a Master’s degree in creative arts education at Rutgers University.  In an effort to diversify her technique, Meredith began studying watercolors  and has been active in that media for about 15 years.


Formerly a member of various art societies in New Jersey, Meredith’s work has been exhibited in Amsterdam, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and around North Carolina. She is currently an active member of Full Circle Arts, Hickory, Watercolor Society of North Carolina, the Rock School, Valdese, Foothills Painters Group, and Uni4Artists.


“Art, to me, is a means to escape the rat race world we live in and go to a more tranquil, pleasant and, sometimes, whimsical place.  It can take us back in time to a memory or project us forward to the next season’s beauty. It expresses the joy of life as well as the melancholy.  It is capturing the essence of the moment whether experienced in life or devised in our imagination. When most artists create, time stands still for them—an afternoon can pass in an exhaled breath.   And yet, in that time spent, something comes to life that can touch a chord in viewers and speak to the inner souls.  This is the gift of art.”


Meredith has received many awards for her work.  At present she is concentrating on watercolor, oil painting and printmaking and retains a keen interest in photography.  She also creates original designs in copper and silver jewelry. Her work is in private collections from Australia to Spain and the Netherlands and across the United States. Several of her works are in the collection of Preston and Sandra Bryant of Hickory.


Susan Grant
Carrie Graves

For a full bio, visit Susan's page at:

Wind Swept
Chris Witherspoon

As a native of Hickory, North Carolina, I love everything this state has to offer. From the majestic Great Smokey Mountains to the ever changing coastal Outer Banks; there is no better place to draw inspiration for my art. Generally, my art is meant to create a feeling of overwhelming calmness and peace.

         For me, art is a great stress reliever. My occupation is in the field of healthcare. I have worked in the laboratory at Frye Regional Medical Center for 30 years. I truly love my job as a medical technologist. In 2010, I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. I overcame that battle and began to look into ways to de-stress myself. I found yoga, meditation and my art to be just what I needed.

         In 2015, I was introduced to alcohol based ink by renowned artist Cathy Taylor and fell in love with this media. I love the freedom of the inks as they flow together to form skies and mountain ranges. There is a certain energy created with the inks.  The vibrant, bold colors are very pleasing to the eye. Experimenting with this media has led me to try watercolor. I find both extremely relaxing. 

         Although watercolor has been challenging, I am absolutely in love with the fluidity of this medium as well. I find that the softness of my creations create a sense of peace. This is something we all can use.

         As a graduate of Lenior Rhyne University, my degree was in health science, not art. I am totally a self taught artist. I have taken lessons from only a few artist which include Judy Ryder (watercolor), Linda Meyer Browning (watercolor) and Pat Flachbart (multi media.)

         I often participate in the local Hickory Art Crawl, which is a great venue for local artists. I also have had month long single artist showings at Carolina Vines in Newton, North Carolina.

         And I have participated in a juried exhibition of my alcohol inks at Lenior Rhyne University, where I received an honorable mention for one of my pieces.

Melissa Crosson

Ever since I was a child, I have always admired and enjoyed making art.   However, it wasn’t until my early twenties that I understood, embracing my creativity was vital. I realized that art, does indeed, inspire my mind, body, and soul.  After receiving my Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Mitchell Community College in 2003, I decided to make a career out of my passion and created my first business, Nomadic Artist.  I spent time traveling NC by going to different festivals and selling all styles of art that I made.  After a few years of traveling, I have since settled down and now focus on making and supporting the arts for my community.


I have had the opportunity to teach art to youths at the Newton Conover Auditorium (formally known as the NewArt School), as well as volunteer teaching the art club occasionally at Discovery High School in Newton.  I have also done numerous commission projects (both residential and commercial) including signage for The Hen & Egg restaurant and Bax Street Jewelers in Newton, NC.  My art has been showcased in numerous local businesses throughout Catawba County, NC which also includes three solo exhibits at Carolina Vines.  I currently serve on the board of the Foothills Painters, have my art on display at Custom Therapy Massage in Hickory, NC while working to create future commission projects. 


But let’s move on past formalities and get down to the main question: What kind of artist am I?


I feel that art is a learning process and is constantly evolving.  I do not have a particular style and I take great pride in that.  I want to be as versatile as possible so I’m always pushing myself to try something new and different.  From technique to subject matter, I hope to always surprise both my audience and myself!  I primarily work with acrylic painting.  However, I do enjoy making art using a variety of mediums such as: oils, pencil, ink, pastels, and mixed media.  


Feel free to follow me:


Twitter: @ArtistNomadic

Instagram: nomadic_artist_ 

Carrie Graves hails from NW Pennsylvania where she spent her youth traipsing through creeks and fields on her grandfather’s property.  Her marriage to a military man took her to various states and eventually to Japan where she developed a love of architecture, design, and eating with chopsticks.  


In 1997, her husband got out of the Air Force, and they settled in the Hickory area of North Carolina.  She attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Architecture.  After a number of years doing commercial design work, she wanted to try something more personal and conceptual.  She began writing and created a vast store of work which included short stories, screenplays, and four novels.  She also wrote bios and copy for businesses.  


As much as she enjoyed writing, writers still have a fairly large audience to whom they are beholden.  She eventually longed to create something even more singular and personal.  She began painting in 2019 with these goals in mind--to explore and have fun.  Her primary mediums are acrylic and alcohol ink, but nothing is off limits.  Most of her work is abstract or loosely representational.  Her need to create expresses something inside of her, making it visible to others.  


Carrie’s artistic interest bleeds into every area of her life.  Besides painting, she plays drums and is a lifelong martial artist.  She continues to study painting at CVCC in Hickory and belongs to Foothills Painters.  Much of her work can be seen and purchased at Trade Alley Art Gallery in beautiful downtown Hickory, NC.  


Online purchase:

Mountain Mist 2
Anne Fredley


Melissa Crosson

I was born in Hagerstown, Maryland when my dad, who was career Navy, was stationed at Camp David.  We moved so much that by the time I graduated from high school in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, I had attended at least ten different schools.  I always had an interest in art and design and started making jewelry when I was in my early teens.  I didn't begin painting until 2002, after I inherited my mom's oil painting supplies.  My great grandfather was a glass blower, Mom and my great uncle were both painters.  I guess you could say that I come by my artistic interests honestly.


I began by taking classes at Catawba Valley Community College in the fall of 2002 and in the spring of 2003 signed up for a "plein air" painting class in Italy.  That trip provided inspiration and photos for many of my paintings.


In 2003 I was invited to join the Foothills Painters and I have participated in many group shows in the foothills area.  I have also entered my work into juried competitions and was awarded in Mooresville for "Marching Cypress". I am also a member of Uni4 Artists.

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Leesa Woodard

I love art, all kinds of art, always have. Making art has been my energy for a long time. It is a part of my spirit, guiding me when I’m lost, healing me when I hurt. But, mostly fulfilling me when the ideas come, sometimes like lighting bolts, sometimes like a gentle breeze, but what I create with the ideas is the best part of being an artist. Nature is usually involved, a seascape, a landscape, or the creatures in them. Occasionally the abstract view of nature is the vantage point, or the perspective is pushed, or my natural pallet contains unnatural colors. Painting in acrylics and oils are my major choices of expression, but drawing is the base for all my work, along with my camera to capture source material. I like to work large, even diptychs and triptychs are not out of the question, especially if I am doing an unusual perspective. My work is based in reality, but my colors are often bold, and textures and patterns are also play an important role in the storytelling. As long as the viewer feels emotion, feels at least slightly transported to inside the work, I feel my art found the right path.

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Andrew Atkin

I earned my BFA from Eastern Kentucky Univ. with honors in painting in 1981 and my MFA from Western North Carolina Univ. in 1988.


I have garnered over 35 years of teaching experiences ranging from Lenoir Rhyne Univ. to all local community colleges, Suzuki school of the Arts, art therapy programs for at risk youth and currently teach our military veterans through the Caldwell Arts Council. I also currently teach visual art at University Christian High School in Hickory.


My home/studio(The Tilted Moon Visual Arts Studio), is located in the Granite Falls area. My exploration of various visual art themes is an ongoing endeavor in which I take great pleasure. I love the mystery that creativity brings simply because you’re never going to know exactly what the outcome of each piece will be. I like that very much. My work involves subjects that range from simple landscapes to complex abstracts and conceptual pieces of all sizes. I’m mainly known as a painter but I also indulge in combination art such as collage and surface structure with the painting to expand the visual experience of beauty and subject.


Much of my work can be seen on my Facebook account along with relevant information. If interested in collecting/purchasing one of my pieces this is the best place to contact me. Thank you!!!

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