Biography

Me at my watercolor station

From an early age, I felt compelled to draw and paint, often with encouragement of my teachers and family. As I grew up into a practical young woman, I began to think that painting was something one did for enjoyment, not as a serious career. My head told me to be practical, but my heart told me another story. Eventually I followed my heart and made the switch to Fine Art in college.

In 1994, Kevin, my husband, and I took a leap of faith and started a wholesale business selling my framed original watercolors to retailers across the nation. I became overwhelmed by the “business” side of our company, Primitive Folk, and found little time to paint. However, in 1997 that all changed when agent Linda McDonald introduced me to licensing. Licensing my art meant I would get back to the creative side of my business, painting. We began a professional and personal relationship that has brought prosperity to each and hundreds of products to consumers hungry for my artwork. Products range from greeting cards and calendars to resin figurines and quilting fabric.

It has been an interesting ride so far and particularly interesting to see how my art has grown and transformed along the way. I went from painting small 5×5 and 5×7 loosely painted watercolors without much detail in the early days, to larger more detailed and colorful watercolor paintings and now onto acrylic painted over collaged papers. My subject matter varies from country teddy bears and gardening to  whimsy chicks, folk angels and Early American folk art…..I love all styles and mediums….as long as I’m creating, I’m happy.

Most importantly, and always first in my life is my faith and family. I am a happy wife and mother of two amazing young men and step mom to a beautiful young woman. I am blessed to have been able to "be my own boss" while the kids were growing up so I could take time off when ever I was needed; whether it was for a field trip, a classroom party or to nurse a sick child back to health. I want to give special thanks to my husband and best friend, Kevin, for his unwavering encouragement and support throughout the years.  I believe God has guided my career, bringing opportunities and special people my way in order to share the talent He gave me with the world.

Below is a peek into my studio. When we were looking for property it was imperative that it had a "pole barn" with electricity run to it in order for us to even take a look. One day on our way home from a tough racquetball workout, we followed the real estate signs down to a dead end road simply out of curiosity. It was spring 2001 when we slowly drove through this quiet neighborhood approaching what would become our wonderful home. We pulled alongside the garage where we could see the back yard and pond. The five acres of spring green grass looked like a park setting and the pond’s glassy stillness reflected the blue spruce trees in it’s fullness and then we saw it….there it was to the left of the pond behind a clump of tall pine trees…my future studio! We couldn’t wait to get a hold of our realtor to take a look at the house and barn. I remember us saying…who cares what the house looks like, the property alone is worth it!  Welcome to our little piece of heaven on earth……..

This picture was taken from the north end of the pond. The studio is the building you see on the right and our house is on the left. The second summer after we moved in, Kevin put a beach on the pond (it’s to the right of that raft but out of view). I cannot tell you the amount of fun the boys had swimming and playing in that pond over the years. We would have cookouts, end-of-school-year parties, lazy Sundays just floating around in the cool water but now that they are older it is far and few between that they actually swim in it….Ryan still likes to fish and hunt for frogs a little and Kevin loves a quick dip after working hard in the yard.

My Studio….when it was first finished. Now I have to tell you…my work area for the previous 7 years had been in an old dingy, dark basement so my first request was lots of WINDOWS!!! The pole barn was basically a cement floor, no windows, no drywall or ceiling. Kevin and a friend of ours created an amazing place for me to work and grow my business. Job well done guys!!

I had to laugh when I saw this picture because the studio is chock full now! This photo was taken in 2002…many a painting has been done since! Every nook and cranny is filled with "something". My husband just said today (May 4, 2012) there isn’t a clean flat surface to set anything!"

My studio is set up in "stations" as I call them….I have a computer station, watercolor station, acrylic station, jewelry/clay station, punchneedle/hook rug station (which is in the kitchen)…..pictured above is a shot of my acrylic station.

I have been collecting antique bread boards/dough boards and cupboard doors since 2006 on our annual girls Ohio shopping trip (which we have been doing since 1992). I had a nice supply……until I started painting on them. I am always on the hunt for more. I find it hard to part with the paintings that are painted on these treasures since they are becoming harder to find and when I do find them they have become so darn expensive!

This is my clay station…..something I miss……I am so busy meeting licensing deadlines that I rarely have an opportunity to "play with clay".  Some day…….

Something else I love to create yet rarely find the time to do…..make jewelry. I think when I retire, I will be just as busy as I am now with all the things I love to do……gardening, playing with clay, jewelry making, punchneedle, punch/hook rugs, and I will NEVER stop painting!!!!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie Korsgaden June 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi Teresa, I love this site. What a great job. Laurie Korsgaden I would love to hear from you!

Laurie

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teresakogut June 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi Laurie! It’s great to hear from you. Glad you like my site. It was a huge undertaking….especially because I had no idea what I was doing but just kept forging ahead and finally figured it all out! I love running the site myself and being able to make any changes at any time. Hope licensing is going well for you :)

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Laurie Korsgaden June 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Hi Teresa,

Good to hear from you!

As far as licensing, it’s weird, I see my designs recently on things in stores and magazines (LTD,ABC, Collections, Catalog favorites) but the royalties don’t show it. It must be the sign of the times.

I see alot of your designs as well. Good! You go girl!

It’s not easy being an artist but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Lets keep in touch.

Laurie
(805)234-3844
lauriekorsgaden@yahoo.com

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teresakogut June 19, 2012 at 7:23 am

Exactly! Meeting deadlines and painting art with “too much direction” can sometimes be frustrating but I always say the same thing…I’d rather be doing this than any other job in the world! We are blessed! Let’s keep praying that the economy turns around so we can still afford to be artists :) Thanks Laurie and let’s do keep in touch!

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Jen Weyhrich June 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hello Teresa!
I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years and you’ve made two of my dreams come true.. being able to find your artwork in stores where I live.. and your beautiful angels!! My hubby and I made a trip to one of our department stores 3 weeks ago and just as we were getting ready to leave (empty handed), I spotted one of your angel prints from clear across the store!! I was just about on a dead run.. 4 prints I bought that night, all they had. My hubby asked me “how did you spot those from all the way over here?” My response.. “I’d know her work anywhere, it’s like no one else!!”
I’ve collected your teddy bear and Christmas prints over the years, which are hanging all over my house. Anything I could find of you, I bought it!! And now that I’ve found your angels, I’m in Heaven for sure!! Thank you for bringing such beauty into this world with your wonderful talent and your beautiful Heavenly angels.
Sincerely, Jen Weyhrich

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teresakogut June 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Jen,

Wow!! Thank you so much! You really made my day. Hearing from friends like you makes everything I create more special. I am glad you like my angels. I love this new direction (although I will still always paint watercolor bears and Christmas art) and hope it is well received so I can continue on this path. Blessings to you, Jen and thank you again for your kind words……big smiles :)

Teresa Kogut

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Donna Collins December 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

Hi Teresa,
I do hope you remember me, owner of “Henrietta Hen’s Country Store”. Remember, I met you at the Valley Forge Show, selling your illustrations and I bought a lot of your original watercolors. Everyone loved your work.
I had to close my store about 6 years ago. The building was sold. I am now getting into what I LOVE BEST, Illustrating. I love watercolor the most.
I have my work on face book under Designs by Donna Collins. Please stop there and friend me…I am also building my web site to put my work up for licensing.
I have 8 of your original watercolors in my home. I always loved your work.
So glad I found you.. Hope to hear from you.

Donna Collins
408-227-5713

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teresakogut January 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Hi Donna,

Yes, I remember Henrietta Hen’s Country Store. I think you contacted me through FB as well. Glad you are following your dreams of illustrating and watercolor! Thank you for your kind words and wishing you the best!
Blessings,
Teresa

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Cheryl McNulty December 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hi Teresa. I am so glad I found you on wordpress! I have been a fan of yours for many years, along with other artists as Susan Winget, Susan Branch, Hollie Hobbie…the list goes on. You all inspire me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a licensed artist one day.

I just was wondering, do you do any work with photoshop with your art? I feel like I need this knowledge today, but it is so time consuming to learn this at the same time as trying to keep my artwork fresh. Do you think this could hurt me in the licensing business?

What do you mean when you say that you paint acrylic on collage papers? This sounds interesting.

Also, do you have any advice for approaching art licensing companies?

Thank you so much and you did a nice job on your blog.

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teresakogut January 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Hi Cheryl,
I do a little work with photoshop….not a lot though. My licensing agency has a graphic artist on staff and she handles much of that work if needed. I don’t think it would hurt you in the licensing business because some companies that will license your work will also have that capability.

I cover my board or canvas with collage papers and then I paint over top of it for added texture and pattern.

If you are planning on licensing without an agent, I would just prepare a nice package of copies of your art along with a nice cover letter. Send it to the company you are interested in working with…. attention to “licensing director” (it would be great if you could get that person’s name ahead of time). Then follow up with a phone call a week or two later. I have an agent that does all that for me.

Good luck in your endeavors, Cheryl and let me know if I can be of any more help.
Blessings,
Teresa

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Cheryl McNulty January 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Thanks so much for that wonderful reply, Teresa. This info is very much appreciated. Thank you so much and I thank you for your time. Take care and if I think of anything else, I will surely contact you.

Regards,
Cheryl

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mary March 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm

What an inspiration you are. I love, love, love your studio. My dream someday! We are looking for property with a pole barn to convert into my art/writing studio.

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Teresa Kogut March 23, 2013 at 7:52 am

Mary,
Thank you, I love my studio too. When I walk in, I feel a rush of energy. I hope you find your dream studio, too. Send me some photos when you do. I love seeing artist’s studios and work spaces.
Teresa

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Carol Salini May 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Teresa, I just found a fabulous piece of gift wrap paper that you had designed for the National Wildlife Federation, and would dearly love to be able purchase some of this! I’ve contacted the National Wildlife Federation, with no luck, and am wondering if you can possibly help me! It’s such beautiful paper with bands of moose, log cabins, bears, leaves, fish, deer, and ducks. I would love to be able to use this great paper for any and all gift occasions! Thanks so much!

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tkogut May 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hi Carol,

I wish I could help you out! However, that was one-time-deal with the NWF and I can’t even get any more of it. Unless they were to use it again in the future. Sorry, I wish I could help. Thanks for contacting me :)

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Charlotte Phillips May 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

I love your beautiful studio!
What a treasure your husband must be!!
Thank you so much for sharing this story.
I feel like I have known you already.
I am thrilled with my studio too.
Your blog is wonderful!!
Charlotte

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tkogut May 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Thanks Charlotte :)

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Josie April 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

Just wanted to thank you for a lovely morning, may God bless you. The following is simply who I am.

A Christian lady. God is the love and strength of my life.

I am 70, a very married lady (50 years) my husband was disabled in (ll/2000) I am his care giver, a married son (Jim Jr.), daughter in law and 2 grand children (Jean Marie and Mark) that help me stay alert.

My husband Jim and I share our home in rural NJ with Rocky, a 94 pound dog of no particular breed, he’s a wonderful animal, and 2 cats, Lovey and Sweet-hart. They are all rescue animals.

I enjoy my animals, some crafts. No talent at all, not an artist or writer by any stretch of the imagination. But ever so thankful for every breath and any strength.

Oh, for grace to treat the Lord as my God: to trust Him and to serve Him, as His Godhead deserves! Oh, that I could love, worship, adore, and obey Jehovah in spirit and in truth! This is my heart’s desire. When I shall attain to it, I shall have found my heaven. Lord, help me! Be my God in helping me to know Thee as my God, for Jesus’ sake.

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Annmarie Madges May 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

Found your site through Pinterest and just placed an online order – LOVE!
Is there any chance you will be doing a pocket planner of your angels. I would love to have one and know others would also. It would be great to see your inspirational pieces of art each and every day of the year.
Thanks
Annmarie

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tkogut June 10, 2015 at 10:37 am

Hi Annmarie,
Thank you for your kind words. At this time there are no plans in the works for a pocket planner of my angels. Maybe some day! Let’s cross our fingers.
Blessings,
Teresa

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Marlene September 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Dear Teresa: I just want to let you know that I am a big fan of your flannel collection Bear Lake. I was not aware you were a watercolorist too! I went to a local fabric store in hopes of finding collections similar to the Bear Lake collection, but unfortunately I was unable to. I made a Queen size flannel quilt with your Bear Lake fabric back in 2002 and found that the complimentary fabrics were beautiful and fun to work with. I would provide a picture of the quilt, however, it has a little too much cat hair on it (my cat loved your stuff too!). I found your website by searching Southseaimports. How often do you have flannel fabric collections? The fabric store is Country Sewing Center in Elk Grove, CA. Thank you for your exceptional talent and I love your studio!

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tkogut September 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Thank you Marlene. You are very kind. I actually haven’t designed fabric in a couple of years. After leaving South Sea Imports I tried a couple of other companies but it just wasn’t the right fit. I hope to design fabric again some day but I’m so busy right now, I don’t think I could find the time! I loved that Bear Lake flannel line, too. So warm and cozy. Thank you for contacting me :)
Blessings,
Teresa

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Jane Owens March 18, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Hi Teresa,
I am thinking back to 1996 when I first started collecting your work. Spoke with your husband as you were in bed with strep!! Anyway, so glad to see that you are still hard at work.
I have many pieces (I love them all) but the large snowmen is my very favorite as I too collected Longaberger baskets and you include them with your snow people!!

Wishing you peace and joy in all your days and I look forward to all your new endeavors.

Jane Owens
Wichita, Kansas

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tkogut March 26, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Hi Jane,
So nice to hear from you. Yes, that snowman print was our number 1 seller! Glad you are still enjoying it :) 1996 was a great year for our Primitive Folk business. I miss it in a way but I also love how far I’ve come and how God has taken me on different paths. Thanks for connecting with me!
Blessings,
Teresa

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