Like most children, when she was little, Candee Masters would get in trouble for drawing on the walls. Little did her mother know that as an adult, Masters would make a living painting larger than life murals on clients’ wall. She’s recently achieved a dream come true and opened a studio and art academy in downtown Lincolnton, CM Art Studio and Academy. 

The studio all just sort of happened for Masters with the COVID pandemic helping out. Friends who had children they were virtual schooling started asking her about doing art classes for their children. Masters formerly owned the Fun Factory in Lincolnton, but she lost the lease on the space and wasn’t able to reopen it and was looking for something else to do that involved children.

“When we knew we weren’t going to be able to reopen the Fun Factory, I really started looking at spaces to rent for a studio, but it didn’t quite work out plus I got some big art jobs,” she said. “Now I have the best of both worlds, children and art. Out of all of my years of dreaming to have an art studio, I would never have chosen to do it during a pandemic and an election year.”

The studio is located in what was once the Crafted Southern Speakeasy on East Main Street. Masters was pretty much able to decorate, touch up some paint and move into the space. She’s currently teaching two days out of the week and the other days she converts the room that she teaches into a studio for her own work. 

“I haven’t expanded out of the eight to 13 age group yet, but I will,” she said. “I’ve had requests for teenagers and even adults.”

The classes that Masters runs are fine arts classes wherein the students come and learn the skills of drawing and painting. They are two-hour sessions that run over four weeks. She starts with Drawing 1 master class, where she teaches gesture drawing, drawing materials, line and contour drawing, structure drawing, tone or value drawing and drawing in perspective. After the Drawing 1 class, students can elect to move up to a Drawing 2 and Drawing 3 master classes, then up to Painting 1, 2 and 3. Currently, Masters teaches 31 students throughout four classes a week.

“I tell parents it’s like dance classes, you learn the skill and get better and better,” she said. “They sign up for the four weeks and if they want to continue, they can.”

Masters obtained her associates degree in fine arts and during her college days worked at Disney World and then became an assistant art director at The Sumner Group in Gastonia in her twenties. 

Shortly following her graphic design career, she created a mural business in which she still paints larger than life murals with her portfolio spanning from North Carolina to South Carolina, to Florida.   

In 2013 she began painting on oversized canvases as well as walls and ventured into the abstract world of worship painting and spontaneous realism.  Her work hangs in private homes, medical facilities, churches, schools, restaurants, boutiques and businesses.

CM Art Studio and Academy is located at 411 East Main Street Suite B in Lincolnton. For more information, telephone (704) 240-3013 or visit

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