Teachers

Tony Armendariz

Tony Armendariz was born and raised in Chicago in a graphic arts family. Upon graduating from Lane Technical High School he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he had the privilege to study watercolor under renowned instructor Irving Shapiro. Upon receiving his AA in Graphic Art, Tony continued developing his skills as an illustrator, graphic artist and web designer in a variety of industries including advertising and manufacturing.

Aside from his many travels throughout the US, Tony has developed themes featuring subject matter he found in Europe and Cuba. These countries make their presence known heavily in his paintings. When describing his themes and subject matter Tony says, “Sometimes you see the stories you’re looking for when you’re not looking at all, be it people or buildings. The creative switch is always on.”

Tony paints exclusively with watercolor in the pure transparent tradition. He currently belongs to many artistic organizations across the country, including the Illinois Watercolor Society of which he serves as their Executive Director.

Tony’s work is represented by the Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri.


Cynthia Boudreau

Cynthia Boudreau is a fiber enthusiast who loves creating beautiful fabric using the shibori dying and nuno felting techniques.  Inspired by nature and travel, her work includes one of a kind fashions sewn from her own designs as well as two and three dimensional art pieces created by felting. Cindy exhibits regularly at several Midwest area galleries and her art wear fashions have claimed top honors at many shows including the Midwest Fiber Show and the Uncommon Threads Fashion Show.

Discovering her passion at an early age, Cindy learned to appreciate the art of fiber under the guidance of her immigrant grandmother, an amazing professional seamstress. She learned to weave fabrics at Northern Illinois University and continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin and Loyola University, earning degrees from all three locations.

Cindy’s personality is as vibrant as the dyes she uses in her projects.  Students taking her classes will find themselves in an encouraging environment where they will be free to explore their power of design and color, so why not unleash your inner designer?

Completed projects will make wonderful gifts, for yourself or for others.


Andria Burchett

Portrait artist, Andria Burchett, has a background in fashion merchandising, but since 1990 has been concentrating on her colored pencil and graphite creations.  She has won numerous awards locally and nationally,and currently is an active member in the Colored Pencil Society of America.  As owner of Beech Tree Studio, Andie teaches adult drawing and colored pencil classes, and conducts a variety of workshops in surrounding galleries and art leagues.


Tony Carnesecchi

Ask Tony Carnesecchi about art and you will learn the definition of passion. “My love of art inspires me. I view each new painting as a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn.”

After serving in the Navy, Tony pursued his art education, earning degrees in both art and business.  Tony unleashed his entrepreneurial spirit and opened Tony and Friends Art Studio in St. Charles where he offers classes for adults and children. Looking to expand his art following, Tony joined the staff at the Naperville Art League in 1998 where he regularly offers classes, workshops and art camps to a receptive group of art lovers.

Tony is most proud to have prints of his painting “Wings of Freedom” hanging at the White House, Pentagon and Ronald Reagan Library. “It’s great to know that my works of art are in other people’s homes and offices, and that those works of art have special meaning to those who have purchased them.”


Teresa Cash

“I am forever changing, my art is forever evolving yet one constant remains. . .
I create from my heart.”I am a self-taught artist mixed media artist who enjoys using all sorts of mediums.  I love learning new techniques and discovering new products then applying them to my art. My passion is in crafting inspirational art depicting simple truths or simple reminders and to serve as a beacon of light in those not so bright times.

You can read more about me and follow my creative journey on by blog: www.asmilemaker.com


Penny Coffman

Penny Coffman has served as the President of the Naperville Art League Board of Directors since 2012 and has been an NAL Fine Art Center & Gallery board member and teacher at the art league for many years. Regarded very highly by her peers and students, she has a lot of fun in the classroom with her creative art projects. Her talents and giving nature as an art instructor for the Naperville Art League have earned her a loyal following of elementary and high school students.

Penny is dedicated to the beginner and offers entry level classes for youth and adults.  She is highly motivated and provides a positive experience for her students.  She frequently works with scout troops and community or social groups and regularly leads open studio classes, drop in classes and a variety of children’s as well as adult workshops.


Nancy D’Agostino

Nancy has enthusiastically taught painting, drawing, and printmaking to children and adults for the past twenty years.  An award winning printmaker, fine artist, and graphic designer, she has created work that has been exhibited internationally and in private collections and galleries in Italy, England, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, and the USA.  Nancy enjoys judging exhibits, developing exhibits, and is founder of the Mayslake Peabody Estate Fine Arts Fair.  She has attended Parson School of Design, Academy of Art University, Studied Botanical Art, and holds an AA in Graphic Design, BA in Studio Arts from Benedictine University, cum laude.

Nancy currently is an instructor at Benedictine University Center for Life Long Learning; an instructor for Grumbacher Paints; and is a facilitator for developmentally challenged adults, at the Center for the Arts for Little City Foundation. For more information visit: nancydagostino.com


Marilyn Dale

Marilyn Dale is a fine artist, art instructor and award winning painter. She also is an accomplished graphic designer and marketing professional. Marilyn works in oil, watercolor and pastel, from traditional portraiture through abstraction. For the last several years, she has taught drawing and painting for North Central College’s community education department and previously for the Naperville Art League, where she served as president from 2004-2007 and continues as a board member.  Marilyn has a certificate of painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MBA from the University of Illinois. She is member of CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts).

​The past-chair of the Art and Environment Ministry for her church where she served for many years, Marilyn has designed large-scale liturgical fabric and stained glass works. Several of her pieces have been featured in publications by the North American Conference of Separated and Divorced Catholics, the Lutheran Church, University Hill Congregation and frequently by Ministry and Liturgy Magazine. She is the author of Energize Your Art Ministry (Lulu Press).

Her work can be seen at www.marilyndale.com.


Sherry DeFillippo

Sherry DeFillippo has been in love with the creative process for as long as she can remember.  She has a BS degree in elementary education and a BS and MS degree in Art Education from Augustana College and Northern Illinois University.  Although art has been part of her life since childhood, her love of painting didn’t blossom until about 18 years ago.  While hiring instructors to teach classes at Michael’s, a woman came in with a box of items painted in the most lovely, decorative style she had ever seen, and she was hooked!Sherry’s favorite student is the beginner.  Teaching the basics and watching someone’s love of painting develop is a true joy.  Pablo Picasso said it best, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”  Sherry teaches the basics, one step at a time, then lets the artist inside you break out and experience the joy of painting.  You will learn to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Sherry has been a member of The Society of Decorative Painters and the Illinois Prairie Painters since 1994 and takes classes as often as she can.  She believes that it’s important to have things to your life that spark joy, and that’s what decorative painting has done for her.  Take a class and find out why.


Jacqueline France

Jacqueline France received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught art to children as an occupational therapist for four years. While raising her own family she continued to paint recreationally and developed an antique business that she and her partner operated for over thirty years. After leaving the antiques business, Jacque became a member and oil painting teacher at the Du Page Art League, Naperville Art League and the La Grange Art League where she is a board member and school director. Her urge to paint full-time blossomed in 2000 after she attended a landscape painting workshop in Tuscany. Jacque made her public painting debut in March 2005 with a successful show at the La Grange Art League Gallery.

Influenced by the French impressionists, Jacque teams up with her husband annually to paint and attend European workshops where she has expanded her repertoire. They also attend workshops at the Scottsdale Artists School in Arizona and make painting trips around the US and Canada. Her work hangs in private and corporate collections throughout the country.

Jacque regularly conducts painting demonstrations, critiques and workshops for art associations in the Chicago area and is a workshop instructor at the popular Peninsula School Of Art in Wisconsin


Tom Francesconi

Tom Francesconi’s paintings have become nationally recognized for their loose and interpretive style, flavored with a richness of color and decisive brushwork. Tom studied watercolor at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.  He has earned Signature membership in numerous watercolor societies, including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, of which he has been honored with ‘Master’ status.  Tom has served as president of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America.  He has received many awards in regional and national exhibitions, including the 1st Place Award at the 43rd  Annual Watercolor West Exhibition and most recently, the Soft Edged Expressionism Award at the 2013 Adirondacks Exhibition of American Watercolors.  Along with his weekly classes in Chicago, Tom has conducted workshops throughout the United States, France and Croatia.  Tom’s work has been featured in numerous books and magazine articles including the 2013 October issue of Watercolor Artist.


Jeannice Gagnon

Jeannice Gagnon discovered her passion for art at an early age and attended private lessons in art for 10 years. She then left her home in the Niagara Falls, NY area to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received her BFA degree. Her background in fine art, fashion illustration, oil painting art history and computer graphics led to a career in the graphic arts where she mastered Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. During those graphic arts years, she continued to oil paint, became a professional faux finishing painter, and was accepted in a juried Fine Art Fair in Downers Grove.

In her spare time, Jeannice continues to immerse herself in art, whether it be painting, learning, teaching or admiring. She has been a Naperville Art league members since October 2014 where she regularly exhibits her work ranging in styles from classical to contemporary abstract. You may view selections of her work at her website: jeannicegagnon.smugmug.com.


Angela Graefenhain

 

Growing up in Minneapolis, Angela Graefenhain discovered her passion for art as a child. She learned the art of Batik, a method of cloth dyeing and wax resist, as a young girl and applies this training to her art today. Known for her lively, pattern and color-saturated subject matter, this award-winning artist credits her early exposure to world travel experiences as the driving force behind her artistry.

After earning a Bachelor of Art degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters of Business Administration at Benedictine University, Angela went on to sell over 900 original paintings and was featured in Chicago Home, Better Homes and Gardens and Naperville Magazine. Her works are found in many corporate collections including Naperville’s Edward Hospital, where one of her pieces was acquired as a permanent addition to the Children’s Specialty Clinic.

Angela is a long-time instructor at the NAL. Her love of art is contagious and she is able to translate that love to her students.  In fact, Angela’s impact is so profound that she received the 2012 Karyn M. Brown Excellence in Teaching Award for her role as art director for St. Raphael.


Frank Jackowiak

Frank Jackowiak is a seasoned, expert photographer with an impressive background. As a Professional Marketing Representative for Nikon, he called on professional photographers all over the world, tested new camera equipment, and provided memorable imagery for numerous publications. Frank’s client list includes: NASA, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Sears, Chrysler, Bp / Amoco Oil, Smithsonian, Air & Space, Abercrombie & Fitch, and the Experimental Aircraft Association. His expertise also includes the documentation of space shuttle launches for NASA as well as other aviation events.

As a well-liked and sought after photography instructor, Frank is willing to assist anyone looking to make sense of his or her camera. His book, “Introduction to Photography – An Instructional Workbook” has been used by hundreds of students all over the country. With a Master’s degree in Education from DePaul University and a dozen years in the classroom, Frank’s humorous, patient, and engaging teaching style makes learning photography a breeze. Having taught photography at the college level, in both digital and old school analog film that includes darkroom processing and development, Frank is equally comfortable assisting students with whatever medium they choose to express themselves photographically.


Michelle LeBlanc

 

Michelle LeBlanc has been teaching art, music and creativity workshops since 1996. She enjoys mosaics, illustration, abstract art, comics, art journaling, photography and writing. In 2005, Michelle opened her own studio in order to conduct classes in world culture, art and music. She has now joined forces with the Naperville Art League coordinating their education program and offers classes in abstract art, creativity and mosaics. She also is an instructor at North Central College where she also earned her Bachelor of Art degree. Michelle attributes much of her love of art and expression to growing up in a multiracial family from Chicago where art and music seemed crossed all borders. She has found inspiration from travel coast to coast, abroad and through her visits and study of indigenous peoples’ cultures.

Laura Lein-Svencer

Laura Lein-Svencner has spent most of her adult years immersed in her personal studies of drawing, printmaking, sculpture, papermaking and collage. As a professional artist, she creates art through a visual expression of moments she captures in her journals. Finding her passion in the medium of paper, Laura co-founded the Midwest Collage Society, an organization designed to provide exhibit opportunities and professional development to its members and actively participates in their exhibits and programs.

Known for her experience and expertise, Laura has become highly respected in the art arena.  She has received many awards for her art, most recently in the 27th Annual Juried Exhibit with the National Collage Society. Her work has been published in books and magazines including Watercolor Artist Magazine, Painting in Mixed Media and Incite, Dreams Realized and Mixed Media Artist and her collages can be found in galleries near and far. Currently Laura teaches her techniques of collage at several locations including the Naperville Art League.

As a natural leader, Laura’s students are immediately drawn to her classes and workshops.  Individuals interested in learning from her are encouraged to register early as her classes fill up quickly!


Lucas Leonard

Lucas Leonard is a lifelong artist who works in various media including painting, drawing and digital art. From realistic figure drawing to comic art to abstract design, he finds inspiration in a wide range of styles and formats. Lucas studied fine arts at Southwest Texas and College of DuPage. He also studied digital media technology at Columbia College Chicago.

​Since 2015 he conducted weekly figure drawing sessions that are modeled after the most useful aspects of his past classroom experiences. Lucas works hard to create a comfortable and relaxed environment for artists of all skill levels so they are free to hone their skills through practice, constructive critique, and general discussion. Samples of his work can be found at studiofinite.com.


Barbara Lipkin

After retiring from a career in nursing, Barb Lipkin pursued her lifelong passion for painting full time.  She took many courses and workshops over the years in painting, drawing, sculpture, print-making and art history to became familiar with the artistic techniques and materials. Armed with this knowledge, she’s been teaching others for over 15 years.

Barb’s paintings are all about knock-your-socks-off color.  Whether the subject is a Tuscan landscape, an image of Africa, or an abstract interpretation of the great desert mountains, she makes her viewers to feel that they are in the painting, surrounded by it, engaged in it, and wowed by it!

A resident of Naperville and active member of the Naperville Art League, Barbara has participated in many local shows and art fairs, including the Wells Street Art Fair, Chicago; the Geneva Art Fair, the Naperville Women’s Club Art Fair, and others.  Her work has been exhibited at Woman Made Gallery, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Northwest Cultural Council, to name a few.   Her work is included in the collection of Linden Oaks Hospital and many private collections.


Maureen McKee

Maureen works in Oil Pastel, Oil, and Oil Monotypes and enjoys the diversity of each.  She produces unique, harmonious paintings with movement and rhythm.  Her paintings are created in a interpretive style influenced by the impressionist and fauve art movements. Each painting takes on it’s own imaginative pilgrimage.

As an award-winning artist, Maureen is recognized in publications including Artist Magazine and the National Oil and Acrylic Society.  She does demos, workshops and classes within the Chicagoland area and has been an active board member of numerous local art leagues.

Maureen grew up in Chicago.  Her formal art training was at the American Academy of Art and the Art Institute.  She followed a professional path as a graphic designer and art director working on major accounts such as Kraft Foods, AT&T, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Baskin Robbins.  She has studied with C.W.Mundy, David Hettinger and George Shipperley.

A resident of Naperville Illinois, Maureen exhibits at the Proud Fox Gallery in Geneva.
You may view a selection of her work at www.MaureenMcKee.com


Lisa Ober, PSA

For over 25 years, Lisa Ober has been a professional pastel and oil painter with a reputation for creating exquisite realism and detail. She received her formal training at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and began painting professionally as a college student. She has since completed over 1,000 commissions both in still life and portraiture for notable clients including CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, Supreme Court Justices, local, state and nationally elected officials, the Pope and other clergy, as well as a myriad of sports icons.

Ober is a co-owner of OA Gallery in Kirkwood, Missouri, which displays samples of her portraits and exhibits her still life paintings. When she is not in her studio she travels as a pastel and oil workshop instructor, appears as a featured speaker and demonstrator in a variety of venues, and is actively involved in the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.

A signature member of the Pastel Society of America, Ober’s work has been featured in publications including The Pastel Journal and American Art Collector. She was awarded third place overall as well as an honorable mention in the 2014 Pastel 100, an international competition of over 2,200 entries. Ober received second place in the Still Life/Floral category of the Pastel 100 in 2013.


June Padovani

June Padovani is an independent fine artist specializing in figurative, portrait, landscape and wildlife originals.  Working in mediums including pastel, Conte, oil pastel, watercolor and acrylic, her natural drawing talent shines through her work.  June’s formal training was in Communication Design from Parsons The New School of Design in New York City where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. She then furthered her education at the Art Students League in New York City while working as a graphic designer and assistant art director.

June has avidly attended figure drawing sessions for decades and believes that individuals can train their eye through practice. She is never without a sketchbook and draws from a live models whenever possible. As an active member of the Naperville Art League and the DuPage Art League, June has displayed her work in numerous art shows and has earned several awards. Check out www.junepadovanistudios.com to see samples of her work.


Carmelo Schifano

Carmelo Schifano immigrated to Chicago in the late 1950s where he attended Chicago public schools and graduated from Tilden Technical High School, majoring in woodworking and Architectural Drafting.  The Sicilian born artist later found his love for teaching and became a Chicago vocational instructor specializing in Art, Design, Drafting, Woods, Carpentry and Furniture Design.

With over 35 years of experience in the field, Carmelo continues to teach professional watercolor and drawing classes to several local groups while continuing his own art experience by taking workshops with nationally renowned artists. In addition, he devotes one day a week to a small Catholic school on the southeast side of Chicago where he conducts various art activities. Carmelo’s work has shown in many local galleries and was accepted in the 27th annual Illinois Watercolor Society Show 2011. He continues to inspire potential students by giving live demos for various groups and also serves as a judge for numerous art organizations.


Roger Schillerstrom

 

Roger Schillerstrom has been cartooning professionally for the past 35 years. He came to the Chicago area in 1980 to attend the American Academy of Art and began providing weekly editorial cartoons for Crain’s Chicago Business shortly after he finished his art training. Over the years, he created editorial cartoons for the editorial pages of over a dozen different Crain publications. He also contributed cover illustrations, caricatures and story illustrations. His cartoon work has also been featured in golf publications and on book covers. His work has been seen worldwide by millions of readers.

Over the years, Roger has enjoyed visiting classrooms to talk about cartooning and sharing with the students. He is looking forward to sharing his skills with the students at the Naperville Art League.
His work has been recognized with top honors by the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. You can view some of his cartoons at www.RogerSchillerstrom.com


Nancy Staszak

Nancy Staszak believes that every person has a well of creativity and talent- and it can be fun to discover and develop it. To prove her point, she has worked with students of all ages for most of her life.

Receiving her B.A. Degree from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, Nancy continued her studies at many colleges and institutions including M.A. Yale University, the Art Institute of Chicago and Oxbow, College of Santa Fe.  She made teaching her career, beginning at the elementary level then moving on to high school.   Nancy has since retired but continues to inspire the students in her classes and workshops.

In addition to her teaching capabilities, Nancy is an award-winning artist, receiving recognition from organizations including Illinois Art Educators’ Association, Illiana Artists League and the Alliance of Fine Art. Her work was shown at the Renaissance Court Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Norris Gallery, ZhouB Gallery and Addison Center for the Arts and other local venues.

As a member of the DuPage Book and Paper Arts Guild and the Midwest Collage Society, Nancy brings her love of paper to NAL as she presents printmaking, bookmaking, collage and more.


Theresa Suchy-McGraw

Theresa has been working with exploratory and expressive arts since 1992. What began as an inward journey into life’s great mystery, became a graceful conglomeration of various roles from art mom, pregnancy cast artist, Spirit Art Meetup organizer, Whole Foods Market Kids Club facilitator, to Mandala and Expressive Arts educator in the Chicago area.

Embracing four foundational creative practices of Exploratory Art, Mandalas, Nature Art, and Group Art, Theresa incorporates PLAY as a core ingredient. “When we play BIG and allow ourselves to view and feel the world through the eyes of a child, curiosity opens us up to a whole new world.” Through her experience working with all ages from one to ninety, the process of creating in any art form is what feeds the soul.

Beyond facilitating local classes and retreats, Theresa shares her knowledge and creativity with the global community. She is currently one of the Teaching Artists at the Wellness House in Hinsdale, IL, through their Expressive Arts Program made possible by the Livestrong Foundation. Visit www.naturessweetgrace.com for tutorials and eCourses.


Lisa Tolbert

After spending 13 years in the classroom, Lisa Tolbert left her career as an elementary teacher to pursue her ultimate dream job – creating and teaching mosaic art in her preferred of “picassiette,” which means “broken plates” in French.  She utilizes anything from colored glass and clay dishware to old vintage china and porcelain.  Additionally, she incorporates antique vintage jewelry, beads and buttons as well as small polished pebbles and rusty artifacts found along the beach shore lines. Three dimensional statues, lids and spouts as well as capodimonte flowers offer even more enhancements. Lisa personalizes her mosaic pieces or “memory ware” by placing small everyday objects such as keys, nails and shells that have personal significance to either the maker or recipient.

Lisa’s greatest love of mosaic is in teaching it to others.  As a master’s educated teacher, she has the ability to convey the basic techniques she has learned and mastered to the students who experience one of her many classes.  Challenge yourself to attempt this very approachable art form by taking one of the classes offered…you, too will be hooked!


Marita Valdizan

Even from a young age, Marita Valdizan knew she wanted to be an artist. While strolling through the boutiques in the town of Miraflores, Peru, she found a piece of jewelry that captured her heart. That very same day, Marita began to sketch her own unique jewelry designs.With her aunts’ influence, guidance, and support, Marita started designing and fabricating custom jewelry. Inspired by her passion, she majored in ceramics, painting, and sculpture at the Latin American School of Arts in Lima, Peru.

Marita uses Peruvian knitting and crochet techniques as well as resin and polymer clay to create her designs. She first started exhibiting her beautiful custom jewelry in Peru at the Anthony Tapies Gallery and also at San Marcos University. Her designs have been displayed at the Germantown Expo in Coralville, Tennessee as well as at the St. Thomas Art and Craft Fair in Naperville, Illinois. As a member of the Naperville Art League, Marita now presents her work locally in the Naperville and Aurora area as well as other exhibits around town. Her values center around family, art, and giving back to the community that she lives in and enjoys so much.


John Walker

John Walker has been working as a professional artist for over thirty years. After graduating from The American Academy of Art, he began a career in illustration creating a wide array of artwork for clients nationwide including McDonalds, Random House and National Geographic. Acrylics became his medium of choice during this time and he became fluent in their application.

As the recipient of many prestigious awards, John’s credentials are impressive.  He was named a finalist in Artist Magazine’s annual competition in 2012 and has taken Best of Show honors in both the 2012 and 2013 Alliance of Fine Art’s “Best of the Best” shows with his paintings, “The Rabbit Fur Cap” and “The Fisherman’s Wife,” which was also named Best of Show in the Richeson 75 International Portrait and Figure Competition 2013. His painting, “Ginni Moon Prepares for Takeoff,” was recognized with the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic Award at the society’s 59th annual exhibition in New York in 2013 and “VooDoo Steps Out” was selected to appear in a new North Light Books compendium, AcrylicWorks, which showcases the best of contemporary acrylic painting.

You can see a selection of John’s work on his website, www.WalkerBrushWorks.com