Our Teachers

headshot of Carla Sonheim

Carla Sonheim

Seattle, 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 9 years ago.

Carla is the author of three instructional art books, including Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing FunDrawing 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.

headshot of Lynn Whipple

Lynn Whipple

Winter 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.

headshot of Anita Lehmann

Anita Lehmann

Seattle, 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.

headshot of Melinda Tidwell

Melinda Tidwell

Sante 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.

headshot of Lendon Noe

Lendon Noe

Jackson, 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.

headshot of Cat Bennett

Cat Bennett

Watertown, MA www.catbennett.net/
Cat Bennett is artist and author. In her Saturday Morning Drawing Club, she teaches drawing as a way to meet the true creative self. Her book, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind, published by Findhorn Press 2010, was a gold medal winner in the 2011 Nautilus Book Awards. 

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.

headshot of Diane Culhane

Diane Culhane

Seattle, 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.


headshot of Kara Kramer

Kara Kramer

Brooklyn, NY karakramer.com
Kara Kramer is an artist and illustrator from Brooklyn, NY.
She writes:
“Something happens when I spend hours exploring and working with color, line,  paper, markers, ink, paint, pencils. It is my favorite way to be. I can breathe. Completely. Calmly. Minutes dissolve. I’m fully immersed and focused on what my hands are simultaneously creating and discovering. The time spent making is what drives me to come back day after day. The art is a result of this time, a kind of memory, print, connection to some formless flow that continues to search and develop shape to hold it, have it, know it for a moment. The art shown on this sight and in my studio and in the sidelines waiting to be made is about the joy of creating.”

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.

headshot of Karine Swenson

Karine Swenson

Cerrillos, 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.

headshot of Alison O’Donoghue

Alison O’Donoghue

Portland, 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.

headshot of Bari Zaki

Bari Zaki

Chicago, 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.

headshot of Dar Hosta James

Dar Hosta James

New 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.

Dar’s Classes

Cut-Paper Collage

Stained-Glass Trees



headshot of Fred Lisaius

Fred Lisaius

Seattle, 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.

headshot of Cori Dantini

Cori Dantini

Pullman, 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.

headshot of Nelleke Verhoeff

Nelleke Verhoeff

Rotterdam, 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.


Nelleke’s Class

Creating Simple Characters

headshot of Stephanie Hargrave

Stephanie Hargrave

Seattle, 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.

Stephanie’s Class

Intro to Encaustic Painting