For this months issue of  Salt Magazine,  I got to visit and photograph the Ward home, nestled on Harbor Island, overlooking Banks Channel. While there I was fortunate to meet the two ladies of the house, Alisa, and her engaging daughter, Lily.  The home is a wonderful, cheerfully decorated Wrightsville Beach house and you can tell that Lily and her brother Bennett, are the star inhabitants!

Marisa, who besides being a full time Mom to children Bennett and Lily, ages 7 and 4 respectively, wife of  husband Chris, and manager of the home, also makes really cool jewelry. Busy woman. Her company is called Gypsy*Lew and her designs are available at several boutique stores in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Raleigh and Greenville, SC. You an also learn more about her business on her Facebook page at Gypsy*Lew. Check it out. Below you can view some of the photos from the days shoot. If you haven’t already done so, go out and get a copy of Salt and turn to the Story Of A House feature and read the full article by the ever talented Ashley Wahl. You won’t be sorry. Enjoy.

















In 2010 I worked on a personal, photojournalistic project called Wilmington Artists In Their Studios. It featured portraits of local artists as they actually worked on their craft in the confines of their studios. It was a fun and rewarding project, as I got to meet some wonderful creatives. During that time I was fortunate to meet Gayle Tustin at an impromptu dinner party at the home of a friend. I spoke briefly with her about my project and how I would welcome the opportunity to photograph her at work. She was interested, but was consumed at the time with work, and planning the wedding of her daughter. We became friends on Face Book and time moved on. Recently, she sent me an email and said that she was working on a commission for the NC State Bar Foundation in Raleigh, and if I was still interested, we could get together for a photo session. Of course, I jumped at the chance and we recently spent a morning together at her very cool studio.

Gayle has exhibited locally and internationally for over 20 years. She studied at Alfred University and Penn State and was the first student to graduate with honors in Studio Art from UNC Wilmington. She worked as a studio assistant to renowned artist, Marco Zubar while in Pennsylvania. She has received the Woman of Achievement in the Arts award and in addition to being published in several Ceramic  journals and magazines, has been invited to and attended International Artist Colonies in Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Macedonia and Paris. Locally, Gayle was one of the Co-Founders and Directors of No Boundaries International Art Colony. This is a non-profit group who invites international artists to get together on Bald Head Island every two years for expression and dialogue through their art. Her art has been on exhibit in collections and galleries throughout North Carolina and the United States. Internationally she has been featured in collections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Spain, South Africa and Macedonia. At UNCW, the Randall Library has a collection of her working papers and manuscripts which document her career.

While I photographed Gayle during our session she was working on the piece that will eventually hang at the NC State Bar Foundation. It depicts people from all walks of life. She works in several mediums, oil paint, ceramic, mixed media and ink. This particular piece is clay which has a liquid finish applied to it called terra sigilatta. Terra Sigilatta is made through a sedimentation process of clay particles. A deflocculant is used to change the electrical charge of each clay particle, which causes them to repel each other. The finest clay particles that remain on top are terra sigilatta. Coloring oxides are added to the base clay and the terra sigilatta adds a unique gloss, low luster finish, which also acts as a sealant. You will notice in a few of the photographs, small colored ceramic tiles. Gayle uses them as her palette library so she has an idea how the terra sigilatta and colors will portray on the clay. Its a fascinating process and I was in awe of the amount of work and attention to detail that is required to produce such a piece.

Once again I was really honored to have met and spend time with such a talented creative. I had great fun during the shoot and had to force myself to leave so Gayle could continue to work. The scope of her current project seemed a daunting task to me, but you could see the passion the woman has for her art. Enjoy the following photos and if you’d like to know more about Gayle, visit her web site at



As you travel down the driveway to Jodie Wrenn Rippy’s studio, you have a feel of anticipation that you are entering a special place. The canopy of trees gives way to  a small clearing and there you are greeted by this inviting cottage with its small sign by the front door that reads simply, “The Studio”. As I entered the studio and was greeted by Jodie, I was in awe of how all of its details just blended together to make such a wonderful space. A space to create.

Before I broke out my cameras I asked Jodie for a little history of her studio. It was constructed several years ago and many of the materials used were salvaged from other places. The Chinese Chippendale balcony railings and French doors were saved from the demolition of the Cape Fear Country Club and all the interior doors were discovered in various antique shops. It is a cheerful space and it has a calming feel as you receive its energy. Jodie’s nook desk is a journey itself as its walls are covered with show and gallery announcements and post cards of art work that she has collected in her travels. She calls her studio her sanctuary, a retreat, and it is well deserved of such a description.

Jodie has been an artist in the making since she was a child. At the age of 10 she produced a portrait of Caroline Kennedy and sent it directly to JFK and was rewarded with a thank you note from the White House. Her work utilizes various medias of oils, watercolors and collage. As she sees a work develop she creates a balance of  light and dark that guides the viewer through the painting. Her work encompasses landscapes, still life, portraiture and she is always striving to push herself creatively. Her mindset is to seek new stimulation that will push her to the next step of her growth as an artist.

Jodies work has been recognized with regional awards and appears in private and corporate collections, as well as being represented by several galleries. She has exhibited at St. Johns Museum of Art, Davidson County Museum of Art and the Fayetteville Museum of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of  the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Peace College in Raleigh, NC. She hold degrees from Peace College and a BS in Art Education from UNC at Chapel Hill.

In addition to her formal education, Jodie has studied with nationally known artists Wolf Kahn, Ted Goerschner and Burton Silverman, as well as at the Ringling College of Art and Design at Wild Acres, NC. Her fondness for travel has afforded her the opportunity to paint on location in Greece, France, Portugal, Spain, the Virgin Islands, the American Southwest and, of course, her local coastal areas of Wilmington.

Get to know this wonderful Wilmington artist by going to her web site : Jodie Wrenn Rippy. Like the drive through the trees to her studio, it is worth the trip.


When I walked into Carolyn’s studio it just seemed to fit the artist, light, airy and calm. She shares her personal studio space with the Young Artist Series where she conducts and teaches art to children. She has a passion for teaching both young and old how to develop their fine art skills. She has been doing it for over 14 years and has a firm belief that appreciation of the arts is a positive addition to a persons life.

Carolyn’s pieces are typically large with applications of acrylics, found objects and mixed media. She holds a BFA and MA from East Carolina University and has also attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota and Southern Illinois University. She has also completed Special Art Studies at the University of Georgia in Athens, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan and Le Cerquex-sous-Passavant in France. She has also studied with Masters Koji Ogura of Japan and Ginpoh Gin in Taiwan.

She has exhibited at  at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Georgetown, DC, the Joanne Rose Gallery, Reston, Va., the Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC and the Target Gallery in Alexandria, Va. She was commissioned by the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts to produce a free standing, painted sculpture for public space within the city, which was later auctioned to the public.

Carolyn is also interested in giving back to the community. She is offering a Young Artists Series full scholarship for a deserving child in the Wilmington community with special art interests. Details can be found along with examples of her work at her web site  Carolyn Faulkner Art. Stop by her site and get to know this wonderful woman and talented artist.


Once I found the home of Gail Henderson I entered an extensive showcase of her art. Everywhere I looked a piece as interesting as the last occupied its space on the walls of her home. I found her art  to be calming and organic on first contact and each abstract presented itself in a natural mood and color.

Gail has spent much time in the American Southwest and the high plains of Spain. The color, strength and stimulating energy of these locales has influenced her paintings to focus on these qualities in connecting with the viewer. In her words: “I find these locations to be stimulating as well as humbling with their heightened color and massive natural strength”. In her painting she uses layers of transparent color along with opaque passages of acrylic paint to imply the freshness and strength of the mountains, desert plains and the early peoples living there. “I build texture using thick paint, silica, resin, and metals to express the roughness of the terrain and natural attitude of the Southwest”.

Gail is a career educator, having earned her B.A and Ph.D from The Ohio State University and her M.A from Michigan State University. Her art career, however, was not related to her education background and it is something she has pursued in the last ten years. She developed her art through workshops, courses and by studying early and contemporary artists. Gail also lectures on the lives of artists, among those being Picasso, O’Keefe and the Abstract Expressionist painters of the 1950’s. She maintains that studying the recent master painters has provided insight into her own painting direction.

Gail’s work hangs in several private and corporate collections. Among those are Duke Power, PPD Inc., and the Randall Library at the North Carolina at Wilmington.Some of her juried exhibitions include the Wilmington Art Association;the Watercolor Society of North Carolina; the Womans Center in Chapel Hill; the Coastal Plains Exhibit in Wilson N.C.;South Cobb Arts Alliance in Atlanta;Northwest New Mexico Arts Council;the International Museum of Art in El Paso; the Vienna Arts Council in Vienna, VA.; the Cedar Key Arts Center in Cedar Key, Fla.; and International Watermedia XIV in Colorado Springs. She has had many solo exhibits including Abstract Journey at UNCW and Seeing the Unexpected at the WHQR Gallery, also in Wilmington. She teamed with Russian artist Vadim Bora for an exhibit at the Artists Gallery at Lumina Station in Wilmington.

Gail is represented by Raiford Gallery in Roswell,GA., the Little Art Gallery in Raleigh,NC., and the Sunset River Marketplace, Calabash,NC. If you have a chance you should view the wonderful paintings of this talented artist. Gails work may be viewed and you may contact the artist at her web site: Gail Henderson Art.