SQUIRRELS! Meet the Artists

Brenda Bickta

Brenda is an avid gardener and artist. She moved from Pennsylvania to Sneads Ferry, NC, about four years ago. Before her move, her art consisted of flowers and butterflies. Now she paints many turtles, mermaids, octopus, fish – anything in the ocean! After Hurricane Florence, Brenda and her husband helped restore the Topsail Beach Post Office. She painted a Turtle Sanctuary Forever stamp on the customer service window!

Brooks Koff

Brooks “paints with glass” creating unique stained-glass mosaics that beg for a sunny window to catch and transform light into brilliant color! Unlike traditional stained-glass work, her pieces are created without the use of patterns, giving her freedom to fully explore color and design. For nearly twenty years, Brooks volunteered as an art teacher at her children’s elementary school, New Horizons. In 2004, she was invited to be one of the contributing artists to the Minnie Evans Sculpture Garden at Airlie Gardens. She helped over 100 local students create the mosaic stepping stones that adorn the foundation and walkway into the chapel. She also created a tribute piece to Minnie Evans – a small mosaic wall around the back of the sculpture. Brooks currently has pieces in  the Art in Bloom Gallery downtown. You can follow Brooks on Instagram (@instigrammie).

Courtney Kapczynski

Courtney is 24 years old and has been painting all her life. She started out as a toddler painting the walls in her room (sorry mom and dad), but eventually moved on to more appropriate canvases. She has created her own business, Court Kap Art, where she paints custom pet portraits, and is currently in school studying Biochemistry. Acrylic paints are her favorite medium, but as far as she preferred canvas she says “I love to explore!” Some of her favorite surface to paint on include: table tops, walls, stretched canvas, shoes, desks and much more. Artists who she loves and inspires her include Bob Ross, Frida Kahlo, and Chuck Close. Follow Courtney on Facebook (CortKapArt) or Instagram (@courtkapart).

Evelyn Fischer

Evelyn was a Textile Artist/Designer for twenty years – painting designs that were translated into woven fabrics for the Home Furnishings Industry. She moved to Wilmington in 2019 and works as a full-time artist. Her mediums of choice are acrylics, oils and pastels; and her paintings come from a desire to capture the beauty she sees in nature. Evelyn is a member of the Wilmington Art Association.


Jen Schellenberg

Jen grew up on Long Island, and spent her childhood drawing pictures and petting dogs. After earning her BFA in painting, she combined her love of oil paints and her love of animals and began her career as a pet portrait artist. Jen now lives and works in Wilmington NC with her four legged best friends and her husband.

Karen Snave

Karen has been illustrating and designing professionally since 1984. She studied Fine Art at the Chelsea School of Art in London and graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She excels in both traditional and digital art and has illustrated for publishers, ad agencies, manufacturers, developers and corporations both large and small. She enjoys bringing a positivity and joy to others with her art and making magic happen!

Kristin McLoughlin (in collaboration with Tara Sall)

Pictured on right – Kristin is a native New Yorker who is now based near Wilmington, N.C. Kristin attended Marywood University where she studied painting. She mainly focuses on acrylic mediums, with an affinity for small details, color combinations and pops of texture. Kristin is also a licensed esthetician who works as a makeup artist combining her love of art and beauty. She works as a painter doing personal projects as well as commissions and has done illustration work on a children’s book. Kristin has been drawing and painting literally as long as she can remember, and sees art and creativity as an absolutely essential part of her life. You can follow Kristin on Instagram (@km.fineart.faceart), or on her website.

Tara Sall (in collaboration with Kristin McLoughlin)

Pictured on left – Tara is a Wilmington, NC, based artist of many mediums who finds influence and inspiration in nature and the creatures around her, including her beloved black rescue cat, Joey. She studied graphic design and illustration at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and has practiced the art of makeup for the past 13 years, giving her artistic style a unique and colorful twist. Her approach to art is finding delight in the simple things and making grand gestures of color where it may not normally exist. You can follow Tara on Instagram (@dioxazinepurple).

Laura Kalina

Laura received her BFA in photography from the Art Institute of Washington in 2013. Originally a photographer from Northern Virginia, Laura moved in June 2017 to Wilmington, North Carolina and decided to set up her own multimedia business.  To Laura, her love of art is only rivaled by her love of animals. No matter what medium, she strives to capture the character of each animal subject. A firm believer in conservation and rescue efforts, Laura has worked with multiple non-profits with the aim of showing the outcomes of our work to save both wild and domestic animals. You can follow Laura on Facebook (mossyfoxstudio)Instagram (@mossyfoxstudio) or visit her artist website www.mossyfoxstudio.com

Sally Martin

Sally has been creating art in one form or another for about 31 years! She has done many custom jobs from jewelry, pet portraits, baby photos, album covers, logo design, etc. Sally’s proudest achievement is the sting ray mural she painted for Topsail Elementary School, but getting a squirrel to eat out of her hand is a close second! She hopes that her work will encourage others to appreciate the earth and it’s amazing little critters. Sally is passionate about gardens, local artists, creativity and of course – SQUIRRELS!

Sara Toothman

Sara is an idealistic, creative visual arts teacher determined to make a positive impact in her community. She loves unraveling the unique motivators of children as they progress through their educational journey. Using the art of play and playful use of art, Sara strives to foster a trend of life-long learning among her students. She is also an aficionado of high and low quality visual puns!