“Retired” Couple Turns Hobby into Business
By Sondra J. Casey
Carolyn Teague will paint anything that doesn’t move.
If you are standing in front of her, she might paint you.
The Haw River native once worked at the Burlington Social Security Office as a claims representative. She began taking art courses years ago and developed a passion for painting.
Her husband, Jim Teague, a native of Franklin, worked for Western Electric as a design illustrator. He also drew bridge designs for the NC Department of Transportation. All his life, he has liked to draw and paint. “Whenever there were drawings to be made, I was usually called on to do it,” he says. He studied architectural design at NC State.
The Burlington couple has been married for 36 years. Recently retired, they have turned a love of painting into a business called CJ Merchandise Gallery. They have original paintings and reproductions for sale through their web site and simply by calling them.
Carolyn focuses on still lifes, especially florals. “I like to try to create on paper one of God’s creations,” she says. “I cannot make it like He did, but I like to get an impression of it. I like light, airy, soft, delicate paintings.” Some of her most popular paintings include “Iris,” “Blue Hydrangea” and “Dogwood.” She especially enjoys contemplating the blank piece of paper before she begins. “It’s a flat piece of paper, but with light and shadow, you can make it look three-dimensional.”
Jim concentrates on scenery like landscapes and seascapes, painting mostly from memory and the emotions he feels when he looks at nature. “My paintings reflect my drafting training in the details and the preciseness,” he says. “Seascapes and landscapes are relaxing to me. I can express my comfort in doing those. Most people, when they see them, can relate.”
Some of his most popular paintings are “Cape Lookout Lighthouse,” “Cullasaja Falls” and “Carolina Ocean View.” He also provides house designs for people planning to build.
When the two travel, they take pictures of scenery, rather than each other. They adopt wild animals, and one of their favorite paintings is of an adopted squirrel named Butch. They collect rocks of all sizes for their lawn, and Carolyn covers a lot of them with painted designs. I like colors,” she explains. “That just comes from being an artist.”
“Painting has always been a hobby for us,” Jim says. “It’s never been the main focus of our lives until we retired.” “Now we are trying to re-emerge, like a butterfly,” Carolyn says.
Jim is president of the Burlington Artists League, and Carolyn is secretary. Their work is available at the Burlington Artists League Fine Arts Gallery at Burlington Square Mall. On July 21, the couple will be demonstrating their work at the Heritage Festival in Franklin. On Aug. 4, they will be demonstrating their paintings at Burlington Square Mall.
To order paintings or reproductions or for more information, please call Carolyn and Jim at 336-584-6888. Or visit their web site at www.ArtistsTeague.com.