Our Teachers and Collaborators
Carla SonheimSeattle, WA www.carlasonheim.com
Carla Sonheim is a painter, illustrator, and creativity workshop instructor known for her fun and innovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students rediscover a more spontaneous, playful approach to creating. She started teaching art in her sons’ elementary school classrooms as a volunteer, and then taught adults at mixed-media art events for about five years before starting to teach online 10 years ago.
Carla is the author of three instructional art books, including Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun; Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop and The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone. In 2013 she co-authored Creative Photography Lab with her husband, Steve.
Alison O’DonoghuePortland, OR aliorange.com
The artwork of Alison O’Donoghue can be described as contemporary folk art. Partly naïve, sometimes illustrative, at times cartoony, with some of her pieces being heavily patterned. Her paintings are mostly playful with creatures and people that are quite often glowing with life… awash in dimensional color and shade in a mostly two dimensional world. She combines everyday objects such as cups of coffee, fruit, plants, humans, birds and odd, made-up animals, into a fluid motion of interaction of intertwined shapes. The playful next to the sinister, give the paintings a sense of humor and the complexity of an unfolding story.
Alison O’Donoghue’s contemporary folk art and patterned worlds invite us to explore visually the simple beauty, complexity, interactions and sometimes the humorously sinister aspects of everyday life.
Anita LehmannSeattle, WA anitahlehmannartist.com
Anita Lehmann is a registered architect in the state of Washington. She is also a teacher and an artist. After receiving training at the University of Washington, she taught freehand drawing in Rome and in Seattle, and currently offers small group classes in drawing and painting. Her other skills include architectural design, graphic design, community planning and design illustration.
Using figures as disparate as bugs and urban monuments, Anita has designed several series of alphabets, which have been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to receiving the 2013 NAIUSI fellowship, Anita was a graduate student at the University of Washington Rome Center, in Rome, Italy in 1985.
Anne Marie GrgichTacoma, WA annegrgich.com
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1961, Anne Marie Grgich began making spontaneous art at the age of 15, mostly junk constructions and clandestine paintings in her family’s books. She first introduced collage into her work around 1988, but took it to a higher level in 1997 during a period of illness. After her recovery she began to produce collage paintings – images of people encountered over time in the street and in mind journeys that manifest themselves and recombine, according to her mood, in the process of creation. Over the past 30 years, Anne has been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions, and her books and paintings are in public and private collections worldwide.
Anne was mentioned in The New York Times in January 2018 and is exclusively exhibiting her prolific work with ZQ Art Gallery in NYC and New Jersey City (visit their site in April when they hold a huge international auction of her work!). Anne lives with her sweetheart and collaborator Steve Fisk, Seattle record producer. Together they create and support each other and live in Tacoma, WA.
Aram KimQueens, NY www.aramkim.com
Aram Kim is a writer and illustrator as well as a designer of picture books for children. She was born in Ohio, raised in South Korea, and now lives in Queens, NY, happily surrounded by diverse food and culture. By day, she is a senior designer at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. By all other times, she writes and illustrates her own stories.
Aram’s debut picture book Cat on the Bus was called a “beautifully designed visual work” by School Library Journal and included in the Children’s Choice Reading List 2017 by ILA/CBC, as well as New York Public Library’s summer reading list 2018. No Kimchi For Me!, about family, food, intergenerational connections, has universal themes, and at the same time celebrates Korean culture. It was selected as a Junior Library Guild selection, Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year 2018, and 2018 A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Her most recent picture book, Let’s Go to Taekwondo! came out on April 28, 2020. It’s a sequel to No Kimchi for Me! and was selected as a Junior Library Guild Selection. She just completed the next book in the series to come out in March 2021.
Bari ZakiChicago, IL barizaki.com
Bari Zaki has been a professional bookbinder for 28 years, and a paper person her entire life. Her dad, a printer, regularly brought home paper in various forms: stacks of paper, scraps of paper, pads of paper…and assorted printed samples. This was her FAVORITE part of the day. In Bari’s bedroom she had a little walk-in-closet, where she often hung out for hours, amusing herself arranging all her paper samples. She still thinks of her bookbinding studio as a larger version of that closet.
Bari attended the University of Iowa for a couple of years, but continued to feel restless and decided to come back home to Chicago. There she met a friend for coffee who had brought her a blank journal. The friend had made the first entry; a doodle with an endearing sentiment, and it was that afternoon she refers to as her “Dorothy Moment.” She instantly sought somewhere to learn about bookbinding and discovered Artist Bookworks (now the Columbia College’s Book & Paper Arts Graduate Programme). After completing various classes and workshops, Bari opened Ardour Bookbinding, now Bari Zaki Studio; Bookbinding Studio & Shop, where she now offers a range of classes in Hand-bookbinding, Calligraphy, Paper-marbling, and Drawing.
Camilla EngmanGothenburg, Sweden www.camillaengman.com
Camilla Engman grew up in a small Swedish town named Trollhättan. This is where she began looking at life from a perspective that most of us see only momentarily, and just a few are able to record. Camilla practiced her skills at the Dome Art School and later at the School of Design and Craft, Gothenburg University, where she acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree. Often through animals or people, Camilla’s pictures inspire their audience with a wide range of feelings. Her work has a knack of allowing you to grasp a notion without robbing you of your personal interpretation, regardless of whether it’s an acrylic painting, paper-on-paper or mixed media. She has collaborated with other magic makers, including Karin Eriksson, Maria Vettese and Elizabeth Dunker, and has undertaken some fabulous commissions from the likes of The New York Times, Google and Converse. Engman’s illustrations manage to transmit a whole range of feelings whichever technique she uses, capturing forever a situation from a unique perspective.
Cat BennettWatertown, MA www.catbennett.net/
Cat worked as an illustrator/designer for about thirty years. Her illustrations have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun and Time Magazine, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, Harcourt Brace and many other publications. She has also made short animations for CBC-Sesame Street, Nickelodeon TV, WHDH-TV, WGBH-TV and various non-profits. She has exhibited her art in group shows in Boston, New York, and Tokyo.
Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, LA Yoga Magazine, Yoga Magazine UK, Integral Yoga Magazine, Red, The American, Lightworker, High Spirit Magazine and others.
Cori DantiniPullman, WA www.coridantini.com
Cori Dantini would love to dress like her paper ladies and explore the world in their skirts and buns and neat little boots, but she is far too practical for that. In fact, she spends much of her time in her studio, covered in a mosaic of ink stains and glue dabs, bits of wordy paper clinging to her slippers.
After earning a BFA in painting from Washington State University and spending a couple decades fiddling with brushes, oils, pencils, markers, and most recently, the mouse attached to her computer, she has discovered an organic process involving layers and language. Any meaning found in her work comes from this process. She never begins a project with a message in mind. Rather, the materials and her process are what do the talking. It is this mysterious, reciprocal quality of art that intrigues her and makes her think of her works as visual poems.
Cori has licensed her work for fabric, greeting cards and numerous other products. See more of her work at www.coridantini.com.
Dar Hosta JamesNew Hope, PA darsworld.com
Dar Hosta James is a collage artist, a painter of trees, a writer/illustrator of children’s books, a teacher of both children and adults, a public speaker, and a life coach.
She is the daughter of an artist with a BA in creative writing from the University of Missouri and a secondary education certification in Language Arts. After a brief stint as a high school teacher, she became a stay-at-home mom in rural Ohio where she discovered a love of collage while spending days at home with her two young sons. She continued working in education through writing and art as a visiting author, an artist-in-residence and a national speaker on creativity in education. In 2003, after a move to central New Jersey, Dar started an independent publishing company.
She is the mother of two grown sons and lives in New Hope, PA. When she is not busy creating art, Dar is an avid runner, a regular yoga practitioner and an amateur student of tarot. She recently became a Certified GOLDEN Artist Educator.
Della WellsMilwaukee, WI www.instagram.com/dellaartwells/
Della Wells is Milwaukee native and a self taught artist who was attending collage to become a psychologist when she was assigned to write about a professional person. She chose an artist, who remembered that Wells had the ability to draw. The artist kept encouraging Wells, who starting drawing and painting seriously at age 42. Her art is traditional and symbolic, it is unique, vibrant, and funky. She mixes the colors of her pastels and paintings in combinations of such clarity they vibrate with intensity.
Well’s art celebrates the wild beauty, radiant colors and rich textures found in nature. She also uses her studies in psychology, sociology, African American and women’s studies to shape ideas for her work. Della Wells is an extraordinary mixed media artist. Her work evokes everyday scenes and cultural values. She specializes in pastels, using found objects in her pieces. Her work includes dolls, boxes, cards, painted vests and more.
Della’s work is about storytelling she states, “I make up my own folktales in my work… I like to make up my own realities. I find a lot of people make up their own realties.”
Her creative process stems primarily from her personal experiences, embellished through the art of storytelling into a visual work, “I see myself as a storyteller,” she explains, “…and maybe I’m still finding my story.” Her images reflect her own experiences and occasionally the interpretation of other people’s experiences, her work is about life and therefore living. “Art is many things,” says Della, “I think we tend to think that it’s just paintings and sculptures but art is everything. Art is this floor… Art is man’s desire to create. Art is also, to find you… Art is how we live our lives.”
Diane CulhaneSeattle, WA dianeculhaneart.com
Diane Culhane is a professional artist and art educator who lives in West Seattle in a 1910 home, and works out of her studio in Ballard, Building C. She received her BFA from the University of Utah and Master’s Degree from Seattle University.
Diane has taught for The Bellevue School District, Seattle Pacific University, Kirkland Arts Center, Bellevue Arts Museum and currently directs and owns Kelsey Creek Fine Art Camp, ‘Go Go with Van Gogh,’ for children in the summer.
When Diane is not in the studio painting you can find her on her bicycle or hiking.
Fred LisaiusSeattle, WA fredlisaius.com
Fred Lisaius is a painter, sculptor, and a popular art teacher at Bellevue College, WA (“Fred is perfect!”). Fred is represented by the Patricia Rovzar Gallery in Seattle, and his work is in many private and corporate collections. Fred recently had a show at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum.
From his artist’s statement:
The deeper I go into the forest the closer I feel to the truth. Off of the trail, there is a quiet calm where ideas can be contemplated and refined. In my paintings and my sculptures, I utilize the forum of nature to explore our relationship to the natural world and to each other.
Henrik DrescherBrooklyn, NY www.hdrescher.com
In his artist statement, Henrik Drescher writes: “Since an early age I’ve been an image scavenger, my mind has always been alert to image debris, keeping ideas and images in books, which then spill into my painting and illustration. In my image making I try to register the idea of ‘everything at once,’ a sort of Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog filled with an inventory of all that has ever existed in the course of organic history and human memory…scars, tattoos, cracks, memories, impressions, flashbacks, and forgotten instructions.”
Born in Copenhagen, Drescher and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 12. In 1972 he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After one semester at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he left school and began to work as a freelance illustrator, traveling extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Central America. While traveling he kept “notebooks” filled with icons and ideas from his journeys, which eventually became his illustration portfolios. To this day, he continues to create such notebooks, and says most of his imagery grows out of them.
Jenny Sue Kostecki-ShawTaos, NM www.jennysuekosteckishaw.com
Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw has been an illustrator for over twenty years, beginning with six years as a greeting card artist at Hallmark Cards. She is a freelance illustrator and a national award-winning author & illustrator of children’s books. Her picture books include Papa Brings Me the World (May 2020), Same, Same but Different, for which she won the 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the South Asian Book Award, Luna and Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest, and My Travelin’ Eye, all published with Christy Ottaviano Books.
Jenny draws her richest source of inspiration from her life experiences, nature, and her travels. She lives with her family at their mountain homestead in Northern New Mexico and carries a tiny sketchbook and pencil in her back pocket for just the right moments.
Kara KramerBrooklyn, NY karakramer.com
Kara studied illustration at Washington University as an undergraduate in St. Louis, Mo. A few years later she moved to New York and got an MFA at the School of Visual Arts.
Karine SwensonCerrillos, NM karineswenson.com
Karine Swenson grew up just outside of a town called Rapid City, South Dakota in the Black Hills. The closest neighbor was a mile away. Reared in this environment, Swenson’s connection with the natural world was strong. After receiving her BA in painting from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, she moved to Colorado. She has spent most of her life in small towns that sit right next to the last remaining bits of wilderness. From the mountains of Colorado, the ocean surrounding Maui, Hawaii, the desert near Joshua Tree, California, and now the high desert outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Karine feels the most at home out in nature.
In the studio, her second home, she can explore her relationship with the natural world. Her oil paintings are reflections of this relationship. Swenson has been a full-time artist for the past ten years.
Lendon NoeJackson, TN lendonnoe.com
Lendon Hamilton Noe is a native of Jackson, Tennessee, where she has been a Professor of Art at Lambuth University, Head of the School of Arts and Communications, and Chair of the Visual Art Department. She taught primarily, drawing, painting and design. She graduated from Rollins College in Florida, earning the BA in Art and English Literature. She studied in Denver at the Rocky Mountain School of Art and then returned to Tennessee and completed an MS in Art Education at UT Knoxville. She completed her MFA in Painting and Mixed Media at Vermont College.
Her work includes oil painting, original prints, mixed media, and installation.
Lewis RossignolPortland, Maine www.lewisrossignolart.com
Lewis Rossignol is a Portland, Maine based visual artist who specializes in combining hand-drawn and collaged imagery. He’s worked with clients including Tyler the Creator, Current Affairs Magazine, and HBO.
Liz TranSeattle, WA www.liztran.com
Channeling subjects such as dream imagery, imagined landscapes, geodes, outer space and The Big Bang, Seattle Artist Liz Tran explores the shapes of nature, with the infusion of fantastical, pulsing synthetic hues. The psychedelic visuals are harvested from the place where inner-verse meets outer-verse, where optical misfires combine with a vacuum pull moving at the speed of light. Through painting, sculpture and installation, she creates atmospheres that aim to activate.
Public collections of Tran’s work include the City of Seattle’s Portable Works Collection, Capital One, Vulcan Inc., Oculus, Baer Art Center, Camac Art Centre, The El Paso Children’s Hospital, Harborview Medical Center, The King County Public Art Collection and The Child Center. Tran has completed multiple special projects and installations, including work for Chihuly Garden and Glass, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Gibson, The Upstream Music Fest, The Seattle Art Museum and The Brain Project Toronto.
She has been awarded multiple fellowships and grants; including a Grant for Artist Projects (GAP) from Artist Trust, Clowes Fellowship for residency at the Vermont Studio Center, the Nellie Cornish Scholarship and residency at The Camac Art Centre in France, The Baer Art Center in Iceland, Jentel, Millay Colony for the Arts and The Center for Contemporary Printmaking. She resides in Seattle, WA.
Lynn WhippleWinter Park, FL lynnwhipple.com
Lynn Whipple writes, “I am deeply grateful to live my life as an artist. Play and discovery are my dearest and most constant companions. There are a zillion tiny challenges in each art making experience, and so often I find, just as many small, sweet victories. Without a doubt, living creatively is the most enjoyable and satisfying game I know.”
Lynn shares a warehouse studio with her husband, John Whipple, in Winter Park, Florida. Lynn’s work includes “Big Bold Bloom paintings,” found-object mixed-media assemblages; found images altered with a combination of drawing, painting, sewing and more; and her well-known Ninny Boxes, collages combined with found objects, and assembled within a box format. Her unique pieces have a playful, quirky, charm. Lynn’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and her new book, Expressive Flower Painting, was published July 2017.
Mandy GreerSeattle, WA www.mandygreer.org
Mandy Greer: “I am a multidisciplinary artist working in fiber-based installation, photography/film, performance and social practice. I’m inspired to blend the boundaries between these ways of making, particularly the boundaries between artist and audience, and between process and final product. And yet my work is grounded in traditions. I work with craft on a haptic level, through a passionate engagement with materials and ideas rather than virtuoso technique. I am drawn to tinkering, inventive jury-rigging and the long tradition of using little means to turn the mundane into the transcendent. Using the physicality and metaphor of weaving, my goal is to transform the scraps of our contemporary textile waste stream into timeless, elegant and raw conglomerations of the ethereal natural world. By reclaiming the cast-offs of ‘fast fashion’ and reinvesting the material with painstaking hand-work, I hope to invite us to question how value and meaning are made.”
Mandy Greer has been exhibited in museums nationally and internationally such as Centro di Cultura Contemporanea in Florence, Italy; Bellevue Arts Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Craft, in Portland and The Hudson River Museum, NY. She has been awarded the Arts Innovator Award from Artists Trust/The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, as well as 4Culture Individual Artist Grants, City Artist Grants, an Artist Trust Fellowship and GAP Grants. She has been featured in many publications including The New York Times, Seattle Magazine, and the cover of Fiberarts Magazine. Mandy has an MFA from the University of Washington, and has taught clay, fiber and art in a broad spectrum of settings for the last 21 years, from university level to pre-school children, focusing on making art processes accessible to anyone through a lens of freedom and rebellion through play. German-born and Seattle-based, she shares her life with artist Paul Margolis, their son, and are caretakers of cats and an old dog.
Mystele KirkeengCrystal Lake, IL www.mystele.com
Mystele Kirkeeng: I began painting in 2008 as an answer to prayer after a very long season of depression. My home studio grew into a space where I could exchange the weight of depression for Something More. I work intuitively and abstract my subjects from the chaotic mixed media grounds I create. I’m inspired by my childhood, my ethnicity, my affinity for old things and the landscape of Northwest Texas where I grew up. Life with Jesus at the center, my two beautiful sons, national and global issues and simple things like a good cup of coffee get me going, too. I can’t get enough of the doing, discovering, not knowing what’s next and sharing my passion for the creative process with others.
There are times when I wish God had connected me more clearly with visual art when I was younger, but ultimately, I know that everything I’ve done and been through is essential in making me the person and artist I am today. My whole story matters, and yours does, too. Keep going.
Melinda TidwellSante Fe, New Mexico www.melindatidwell.com
Melinda Tidwell is a mixed media artist with a passion for discarded books and Abstract Composition. Her love of books and vintage materials lured her from the world of graphic design and into her current work in book collage.
Tidwell’s collages are shown in yearly gallery exhibitions, international art fairs, and are included in numerous private and corporate collections in the United States. Her work is currently represented by galleries in San Francisco, Seattle, Sun Valley, and Santa Fe. Melinda also teaches from her studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at other venues around the country.
Nelleke VerhoeffRotterdam, The Netherlands www.redcheeksfactory.com
Nelleke Verhoeff is an artist/illustrator based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. She started her professional career as a theater performer and made physical and visual theater using circus techniques and masks. Nelleke then discovered her love for drawing, painting and digital art. She is mostly inspired by people and animals and loves to watch their attitudes and facial expressions develop as she works. She has illustrated several books. Both for adults and children: In 2018 she made her first own children’s picturebook: ‘Boss of something big.’
Nelleke is the owner of the Red Cheeks Factory where she sells prints, postcards and paperdolls of her work. ‘Red Cheeks’ stand for enthusiasm! She has often red cheeks while working and so do her characters.
Her work was selected for the Ilustrarte 2016 exhibition in Lissabon in Portugal. In 2017 she won the Worldwide Picturebook Illustration Competition ‘Picture This’ and she was one of the finalists in the Silent Book Contest 2018 with her book ‘Concerto,’ which was included in an exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Pam GarrisonLos Angeles, CA www.pamgarrison.com
Pam Garrison is an artist, crafter, and general creative pursuit enthusiast. … She’s been published in numerous books and magazines as a contributing artist, and teaches art classes all over the world. Known best for her art journaling, she also paints, stitches, hand letters, doodles and more, blogging the adventure as she goes.
Stephanie HargraveSeattle, WA stephaniehargrave.com
Stephanie Hargrave has been painting and/or working in clay since college, where she studied color theory, ceramics, sculpture, drawing & painting, as well as creative writing. She started a line of functional ceramics as a small business in 1997 after studying with Carol Gouthro, and has worked with metal, oil paint, watercolor and acrylics over the years, but her medium of choice is beeswax. She learned a great deal studying with Jef Gunn and Larry Caulkins at Pratt Fine Arts Center, and later began co-teaching at Pratt (using wax as an element in sculptural collage) with Rickie Wolfe. She also teaches at NW Encaustic, various other venues, and from her studio.
She has shown her work in Seattle, Minneapolis, New York and Atlanta. Encaustic has been her focus for the last 16 years – it is the one medium that affords all the other materials she has worked in to overlap and inform one another.
Memory is a GameMusic Scoring! bio.fm/thebalancekingreigns
memoryisagame is a sonic architectural firm, that designs malleable music compositions for creative and business projects. Their manifesto is anchored in sculpting unique backdrops that compliment the vision and commercial messaging of each client. memoryisagame has collaborated on projects with Tom Ford extreme collection, Carla Sonheim Presents, artist Liz Tran, Topo Chico, Jacksonville Zoo, Seattle Design Festival, Rhino Shield, Franklin Thompson Photography, Shark Coatings, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and The Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville (The Balance King: Mechanics of Music). @memoryisagame on Instagram
Zaiche and Jeremy create the amazing music for all of new classes!