By: Terry Rader

Anne-Karine Thoresen has been working full-time as an artist, painter and teacher since the year 2000. A native of Lillestrøm, Norway, Thoresen has always specialized in painting animals. Her work began with painting dogs and birds; then she moved on to painting endangered species. In January 2015, she founded the Coalition of Artists for the Recognition of Endangered Species (CARE).

Thoresen said that CARE is a small group of Triad artists that include Andi Hennings, an equine artist; Addren Doss, an animals, landscapes and abstract painter; Tucker Bailey, a sculptor and painter; John Gibbs, a sculptor; Alexis Lavine, a watercolor artist; and Cecilia Cox, a still life painter. CARE artists presented 93 paintings of animals residing at The Greensboro Science Center during its “See To Believe” 2017 fundraiser gala and each artist contributed a different dimension to the show including the animals, views of children looking at the animals, and the skulls in the curator’s room.

In 2016, CARE honored “Endangered Species Day” with an opening reception in a “Saving Animals from Extinction” exhibit at The Ambleside Gallery in Greensboro. In 2018, the Randolph Art Guild invited the artists of CARE to present a show for the benefit of the North Carolina Zoo that included animals from Africa and North America.

CARE donates a percentage of the proceeds of their paintings to the organization where the animals reside. Thoresen said the paintings are intended to invoke an emotional response and to educate. She said that it is a great way of giving back to the community and that she would like to see these paintings go on the road as a traveling national education exhibit. Thoresen said artists interested in joining CARE are welcome to call her to discuss the application process as the CARE artists intend to continue bringing awareness to endangered species. She said that they have plenty of paintings yet to come with the North Carolina Zoo, the Greensboro Science Center and Duke Lemur Center all located in the Triad. She said that CARE would welcome an opportunity to share this body of work as a whole if anyone would be interested in hosting a show, as it is quite an impressive collection.

Thoresen said she is an avid backyard bird watcher and loves to go to the mud flats when birds are migrating and photograph them. In 2008, she was so moved by the harm done to the environment, animals and birds with the BP Oil Spill that she called The Red Collection in Greensboro to get all they wanted from her house. Then, with all she could fit in her car, she headed to Destin, Florida, a little town that originated as a small fishing village where she photographed birds for five months in the Panhandle on the Gulf side. She said that she needed to better understand them before painting them.

When she came back to Greensboro, she moved into a house with an attached suite for her studio with her two Papillons (Flip and Filbert) and three Border Collies (Fiona, Farley and Finnegan). Thoresen shares her love of dogs through her volunteer work as a dog trainer with the Carolina Dog Training Club and competes in Rally Obedience, an AKC Dog Sport. She recently qualified for the 2019 Nationals with Fiona, and she also does workshops with her Border Collies in herding, disc and dock diving, just for fun. Whistler, her African Gray Parrot, repeats, “Purple is your friend,” as Thoresen says every painting needs a little purple in it.

Thoresen will be one of several artists to be featured in the “Menagerie” exhibit of the North Carolina Zoo’s animal residents art at The Artery Gallery. The opening reception will be on Friday, Feb. 8 from 5-8 p.m. and the show will run through Feb. 26. The Artery Gallery’s co-owner and artist David Thomas said that the “Menagerie” exhibit includes artists, Jack Stratton, Mark Kingsley, Vito Ciccone, Don Morgan, Hank Rudisill, Janet Oliver, Andrea Hennings, Casandra Liuzzo, Roy Nydorf and Thoresen.

Thomas said that he accompanied these artists to the North Carolina Zoo, where they painted on location in mixed medium, oils, watercolor, ink, gouache and pastels, and that he was happy to take part in exhibiting their work.

“I decided to take the big leap to become a full-time artist when I first moved to Greensboro,” Thoresen said. “I can’t believe I’m still doing it, but through being consistent, persistent and through a lot of hard work, I’m still here. I teach classes two times a week, and I tell my students to paint what you’re passionate about and about what you know. When you paint what you are passionate about, I think it shows through in your work.”

She said that when things get hard, she reminds herself that it’s worked for 20 years, so why wouldn’t it work now. Then she does the best thing she can do. She takes a dog on a walk in the woods.

TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, poet, songwriter and wellness herbalist, formerly an ad agency creative director/branding strategist/copywriter and Earth Harmony columnist, a storyteller on a mission to raise awareness for creativity and environmental sustainability along with part-time work in Community Outreach & Wellness Buyer at Deep Roots Market Co-op and her business, Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind (pet, house sitter).

Wanna go?

Feb. 8 from 5-7 p.m., “Menagerie” opening reception. The exhibit runs through Feb. 26 at The Artery Gallery, 1711 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, 336.274.9814 and is free and open to the public, gallery hours Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed Sundays),  Karine’s studio is open to the public by appointment for individuals and small groups. Ongoing painting classes for all levels on Mon., 9 a.m.- 12 p.m., 336.209.4151 (Karine),,,,

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