Illustration Essentials
World Building


Zufar Bikbov

Zufar, a Russian native, started taking drawing and painting classes at age nine. He was eleven when he painted his first few plein air works; depicting nearby village cottages and a horse resting next to a carriage delivering pies to the local market. He fell in love with landscape painting and started exploring the language of direct expression of what just in front of him.

Zufar’s town and landscape style leans towards Russian and Soviet era impressionism. For him, art is a continuous experimentation and growth. After more than a decade of traveling and painting in the US, he changed his painting palette to a higher key.

A spur of interest to plein air painting in the United States, brought the artist to national level competitions, where he won a number of awards. Among others, Zufar treasures his several Artist Choice awards at Plein Air Easton (Maryland). Another memorable achievement was receiving "The Medal of Honor and Merit Awards" from the Kent Art Association, the first U.S. art organization he had joined. Recently, he was honored to receive the Irvine Museum Award at the Laguna Plein Air national competition in Laguna Beach, California. His works are widely present in private collections across the United States, in the UK, Spain, and of course in Russia.


Brian Booth Craig 

Brian Booth Craig is a contemporary sculptor who specializes in bronze. Sculpting from life, his work translates classically derived figures into contemporary icons. Brian studied sculpture at Pennsylvania State University (BA) and the New York Academy of Art (MFA), and worked with sculptors Nina Akumu and Audrey Flack. Brian taught at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and instructs workshops world wide. See more at


Samuel Hung

Samuel Hung (born in Taiwan, 1981) is a New York based artist currently living in Brooklyn. He earned his BFA in illustration from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA) and furthered his painting studies at the Grand Central Atelier (New York, NY) focusing on techniques from the 19th century French Academy. His paintings can be found in collections in the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. See more at


Rick Lacey

Originally from Evergreen, Colorado, Rick has spent most of his life living in Lyme, Connecticut. He graduated from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in 2011, with a BFA in painting. He is a recipient of the American Visions Award as well as the John Stobart Fellowship Award. Rick has taught observational drawing, figure drawing, portrait painting, and horse drawing. Rick has been featured in both American Artist and Art of the West magazine.  His work is primarily figurative, he strives to create timeless contemporary American portraits.

William Minter

Will Minter and Leah Russell founded Wheel to Sea, a video production company that serves mission-driven organizations in CT and beyond. They create videos to help clients promote their causes, celebrate their achievements, and educate their audiences. They have worked with many partners, including museums, non-profits, schools, cities, factories, and social enterprises. Besides video production, they also bring expertise in teaching, publishing, and non-profit work. See more at

Kimberly Monson

Kimberly received a BFA from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and a MFA from the New York Academy of Figurative Art, Cum Laude. Kimberly Monson taught with Lyme Academy Founder Elisabeth Gordon Chandler 2001¬2003 and is a core instructor at Lyme Academy teaching sculpture, anatomy and drawing. She launched the sculpture program at Amagansett Applied Arts in Long Island, NY and co-founded the East Hampton Academy of Art. Ms. Monson won the National Sculpture Competition in 1999. She is a National Sculpture Society Merit Scholarship winner and a two time recipient of the Reutershan Trust Sculptor in Residence in Sag Harbor, NY. Noteworthy commissions: author John Steinbeck, philanthropist Margaret Russel Sage and Katharine Hepburn for the “Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award”. See more at
Represented by Peter Marcelle in Southampton, NY.

Bob Potter

Art Lecture Presenter Bob Potter is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. He spent his early career as a creative director at Scholastic Magazines, Time Warner, and National Geographic. Later, he helped develop an innovative art therapy program at Save The Children, was a corporate development officer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, headed marketing for Mystic Seaport, and most recently is a docent at the Yale Center For British Art and Board member of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. He and his wife Jeanne, who is an artist, live in Old Lyme, CT.

Michael Viera

B.F.A., Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
M.F.A., New York Academy of Art 
Michael is core instructor at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and developed the painting program at Amagansett Applied Arts in Long Island, NY. Michael Viera has awards from the National Arts Club, New York and The New Haven Paint and Clay Club, where his work is part of their permanent collection. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is part of numerous private collections. 
Michael is represented by Peter Marcelle, Southampton, NY and MM Fine Art, New York, NY. See more at

Leah Russell

Leah Russell and Will Minter founded Wheel to Sea, a video production company that serves mission-driven organizations in CT and beyond. They create videos to help clients promote their causes, celebrate their achievements, and educate their audiences. They have worked with many partners, including museums, non-profits, schools, cities, factories, and social enterprises. Besides video production, they also bring expertise in teaching, publishing, and non-profit work. See more at

Don Demers

Director of The American Academy of Landscape Painting

Donald Demers is considered to be one of the finest marine and landscape painters in America. The exemplary level of Don’s paintings has placed them in some of the most prestigious public and private collections in the country. Don Demers is a highly sought after instructor and his teaching has taken him around the United States and Europe. His work as an illustrator has been honored four times in the annual exhibition of the Society of Illustrators. Don’s marine paintings have garnered him a record 21 awards at the Mystic International Marine Exhibition including the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Award. He has received awards for his landscape painting from the Joan Irving Museum in Irvine, California, the Laguna Plein Air Invitational and from The Guild of Boston Artists. Don is a Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists, a Signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America, an elected member of the Salmagundi Club and an elected member of the California Art Club.

Kenn Erroll Backhaus

Kenn Erroll Backhaus is a Master Level Artist in both the Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society.  He is a Signature Member and Past President of the Plein Air Painters of America, the oldest and most prestigious plein air organization in the country.  Kenn has also achieved Signature Member status, the highest level, in the California Art Club, one of the oldest and most active art organizations in the country today.
Kenn’s paintings have won numerous awards, including Best in Show, Collector’s Choice, and Artist’s Choice Awards. His work has been included in several museum shows.  Kenn was one of the host artists in the APT Television Series, Passport and Palette and the PBS Series Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape. Kenn was featured in the Plein Air Magazine’s June/July issue, 2016.  In addition, his painting graced the cover of Plein Air Magazine in the fall of 2011, and his work also appeared in an article in March of 2012. Kenn’s paintings, along with other top, national artists’, have been published in some wonderful coffee table art books, including  Art of the National Parks, 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic, Sea to Shining Sea and The Enchanted Isle: A History of Plein Air Painting in Santa Catalina Island.  In November of 2014, Kenn was invited, along with 9 other artists, on a painting trip to China by Chinese-American Master Artist, Zhiwei Tu and the Zhiwei Tu Museum of China. This trip proved to be a great honor and a very humbling experience.

Eileen Eder

An avid painter for over 25 years, Eileen has won numerous prizes for her still life and landscape paintings in competitions both locally and nationally. 2018/19 awards include Plein Air Easton, Best New Artist, July 2019, Salmagundi Award, Hudson Valley Art Association's 86th Annual Juried Exhibit 2019,
Buck’s County Plein Aire Festival 2018 Honorable Mention and, Wayne 12th Annual Plein Air Festival Golden Art Award. Her most recent award was Best Outdoor Still life for Plein Air Salon.
Eileen’s work has been published in several magazines. Plein Air Painting Magazine gave her a 5 page article in the June/July 2017 publication. Previous awards include being a finalist for Still Life for 5 years running in American Artist Magazine.
Eder has an MFA from The New York Academy of Art. She has studied at the NY Studio School, Rhode Island School of Design, Jerusalem Studio School in Italy and with numerous professional artists. Eileen currently teaches at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme, CT.  She is a member of the Salmagundi Club, Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, Signature member of the Hudson Valley Art Association and Lyme Elected Artists. Her work can be seen at and the Susan Powell Gallery.

Jackie Jones

Jackie’s artistic journey began at age 12 when she took oil paintings lessons with local artist Joseph Gionfriddo of Gilead, CT.  A former student of Guy Wiggins and James Goodwin Manus, Gionfriddo instilled in her a love of traditional oil painting. After high school, she earned an Associates Degree in Graphics and worked as a designer for number of years, selling her oils on the side. She then earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, where she paints in the footsteps of the Old Lyme Art Colony of the Florence Griswold House. Her love of Plein air painting and travel takes her from the east coast to the west each year. She has participated in Telluride Plein Air, Painter’s on Location in Knoxville, TN and Hudson Valley Plein Air. The recipient of numerous awards including “1st Prize for Outstanding Work” at the Salmagundi Club in NYC, her work also hangs in Stamford Hospital’s permanent collection.
In additional Jackie is a popular teacher at the Glastonbury Art Guild, Marlborough Art Center, the Hillstead Museum and the Lyme Art Association. Her professional memberships include Allied Artists of America, American Artist Professional League, American Society of Marine Artists, Oil Painters of America, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, and the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

Joseph McGurl

Joseph McGurl is one of America’s most prominent contemporary landscape painters. He has had retrospective shows at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, The Cahoon Museum of American Art, and the Saint Botolph Club of Boston. The Arnot Art Museum’s Representing Representation exhibitions included his work as an example of contemporary landscape painting.  He is in the collections of the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Cape Cod Museum of Art, The Cahoon Museum of American Art, the Mellon Collection, The Art Renewal Center, the Tweed Museum of Art, the Forbes Collection, Westmoreland Museum of Art, Christopher Forbes, and Sen. John Kerry. He has been designated a Living Master by the Art Renewal Center, elected to the Guild of Boston Artists, was a Copley Master with the Copley Society of Boston, was a fellow with the American Society of Marine Artists and is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America. Among his many awards are the Guild of Boston Artists Gold Medallion; the Art Renewal Center’s International Salon two First Place in Landscape awards, Plein Air Magazine award, American Fine Art Magazine Award of Excellence, Rehs Award, and a Purchase Award; Best of Show and Patron’s Choice at the Laguna Plein Air Painting Invitational; Patron’s Choice Award at the Coors Western Art show; Best Group of Paintings at the Salmagundi Club American Masters Show; the Boldbrush Award; and the Copley Society’s the John Singleton Copley Award given for Artistic Achievement. He is represented by Cavalier Galleries, NY, NY, Collins Galleries, MA, Palm Avenue Fine Art, FL, The Gallery at Somes Sound, ME, and the Guild of Boston Artists, MA. And Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA

Michelle Jung

Award winning artist, Michelle Jung is recognized for documenting the beauty and fragility of our planet's natural resources through fine art. Working from remote locations, Michelle records the present state of the environment through sketches and small painting studies which she brings back to her studio to develop into large scale paintings. Utilizing classical oil painting techniques, Jung merges the past with the present creating timeless works of art.

Jung received her MFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University, and her BA in Art History from Colorado State University.

She has participated in international and national exhibitions including most recently; the Art Renewal Center’s International Salon (2016, 2017 & 2019) and the California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition (2016-2020). She has won several notable awards: "Alden Bryan Memorial Award for Landscape”, The Guild of Boston Artists, “Jurors' Award", California Art Club; "Silver Medal" and “Honorable Mention”, The Guild of Boston Artists; and two "Honorable Mentions", Oil Painters of America. Jung recently had two solo gallery exhibitions in New England, and coming in 2021 her first solo museum exhibition at the Santa Paula Art Museum in California.

Michelle is a member of the Salmagundi Club, an elected Artist member of The Guild of Boston Artists, a Signature Member of the California Art Club, a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master.

Jung maintains studios in California and Arizona.

Jerry Weiss

Jerry Weiss studied drawing with Roberto Martinez in Miami, Florida, and drawing and painting with Harvey Dinnerstein, Robert Beverly Hale, Ted Seth Jacobs, Mary Beth McKenzie, and Jack Faragasso at The Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York City.
Jerry Weiss has had one-man exhibitions at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and galleries in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maine. His paintings are represented in numerous public, private, and corporate collections, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Harvard Club of New York City.
Mr. Weiss teaches workshops and has lectured in Florida, New York, Washington, Maine, New Mexico, and Colorado. His artwork and teaching methods have been featured in American Artist Workshop and American Artist Drawing magazines, and he is a longtime contributor to The Artist’s Magazine. He is represented by the Chester Gallery (Chester, CT); Elizabeth Moss Gallery and Copper & Smith Gallery (Essex, CT); and Portraits, Inc.

West Fraser

West Fraser was born in Savannah, GA in 1955. He is a true “Son of The Low Country”, with deep roots in Dorchester, S.C. dating back to 1695, to coastal Georgia’s colonial plantation history. He came of age on Hilton Head Island where he developed his love of the coastal environs that still today provides inspiration. One of the leading American artists in the representational and plein air tradition, he has built his career on richly painted, atmospheric vistas of cities, coasts, and the landscape throughout the United States and internationally - from the pristine Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, to the hill towns of Tuscany. An inveterate traveler, he has painted throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and Scandinavia. Yet his passion always draws him back to the marshes and landscape of his beloved Georgia and South Carolina Coast.
West Fraser has been honored with nine solo museum exhibitions in the Midwest, the Southeast, and California. His most recent museum exhibition, Painting the Southern Coast: The Art of West Fraser, is currently on view at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina from January 28 – April 30, 2017. Fraser’s paintings have also been included in many juried museum exhibitions nationwide. During the past 35 years, Fraser has been published extensively, including features in Art and Antiques, Plein Air Magazine, The Robb Report, Charleston Magazine, Garden and Gun, Sandlapper Magazine, SC Wildlife Magazine, Southern Living, Southern Accents, American Artist, Nautical Quarterly, Southwest Art, US Air Ways, Fine Art Connoisseur and American Art Collector to name a few. Exhibition catalogs and books exists of his work from solo museum exhibitions, The Color of Light, 1995 Springfield Museum of Art, OH and A Native Son, 2012 Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA.

Cindy Baron

Cindy is nationally recognized in both watercolors and oils, painting the grand landscapes of the western mountains and coastal shorelines.

 Cindy was raised in South Bend, Indiana and has had the experience of living all over the country.  Her art career started early when her 1st grade teacher noticed her drawings, which lead to weekends assisting teachers through high school at the Art Center in town.  A full-time artist, she conducts workshops across the country and internationally and has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design in their Continuing Ed Department. 

Her passion in the arts began with pastels, which then led to watercolors and in 2000 was awarded signature status of The American Watercolor Society.   In 2012, she became a signature member of Oil Painters of America and in 2018 a Master Signature of OPA.  She is among a select group of artists  that has received acknowledgment from her peers in both mediums.  A plein-air painter enthusiast and her extensive travels have given Cindy an abundance of information and knowledge, which she shares with her students.  She has become a highly sought-after instructor, teaching her skills around the country and Continuing Education classes to teachers.  She has had the privilege of judging many award shows and has been featured in numerous publications.

 Her paintings reflect the beauty that is found in nature, if you take the time to study the colors around you.  She can capture beauty in a blustering storm or the tranquil air of everyday places. Her portraitures relay a story of human life as though they were family or friend.  The versatility of mediums, subjects, keeps her energized, excited and creative.   She finds that each medium has influenced the other, which gives her paintings a wall of their own.


David Wenzel 

David T Wenzel is a renowned illustrator and children’s book artist. He has illustrated over thirty books and is recognized internationally for his visualization of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, illustrated in graphic novel format. Other notable publications include the graphic novel, The Wizard’s Tale, by Kurt Busiek and the Holiday book, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which has been in publication for over ten years. In his early career, David penciled/inked covers and graphic novels for Marvel Comics Avenger series.  David worked with Maurice Sendak, who served as his art director, to produce thirteen books based on the Sendak’s popular Little Bear character. Over David’s career he has illustrated for book publishers, advertising agencies, magazines, the giftware industry, and toy and game companies.  A few of his more unique assignments included concept artwork for a motion picture and a proposal for an animated TV show.

He has been part of many group shows and had a one man show at The New Britain Museum of American Art, where he is part of their permanent collection.

David is a graduate of The Hartford Art School.             


Jon Sideriadis 

Jon Sideriadis has a BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters from The Harford Art School. Jon has been an active freelance illustrator, author, and adjunct professor for fifteen years.  His specialty is mythological art and storytelling.  He teaches Intro to Illustration, Illustration I, Concept Art, World Building, and Digital Painting at Lyme Academy.  His work has been published in film, television, video games, novels, comics, album art, board games, and trading cards. His work is displayed in solo and group shows throughout the country, he is represented by Haven Gallery in New York, and he is internationally acclaimed in the illustration field. He is often invited as a Guest of Honor to illustration conventions and exhibits work with the finest fantasy and science fiction illustrators in the business.
Jon is the Art Director of the Spartan Museum of Art. Every Summer, he teaches Painting and Art History in Greece. He is also currently writing and illustrating an original mythology series called Astromythos. He received his bachelor's degree in illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, and his master's at the Hartford Art School's M.F.A. in Illustration Program.



Roland Becerra 

Roland Becerra holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MFA from Yale University, School of Art. Mr. Becerra has also studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and The Cleveland Institute of Art. In addition to winning several artist grants, Becerra has been awarded the Ralph Mayer Prize, Yale School of Art; and the Schickle-Collingwood Prize, Yale School of Art. Becerra has exhibited his work widely throughout the North East including six solo shows at Rodger Lapelle Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; His work has been published in several publications including and Philadelphia Enquire. His short film “Dear Beautiful” won the Moving Pictures Magazine animated short film competition and was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. “Dear Beautiful” also screened at the L.A. Short Film Festival and Toronto After Dark, where it was awarded Bronze place in the audience choice competition. Becerra’s current project is titled “Agatha”, a 60 min animated film that he has been working on with his wife Kelly Bigelow Becerra for the past five years and will be completed this year.


Bruce Wallace 

Bruce’s formal studies in sculpture began at the National Academy of Design in New York, NY where he received a Certificate of Sculpture. He went on to earn his BFA in Sculpture at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art in Old Lyme, CT and then followed up with his MFA in three disciplines- Sculpture, Drawing and Painting- all from the New York Academy of Fine Art in New York City. He has studied under and worked alongside many notable sculptors in this country and abroad and has contributed to such projects as the F.D.R. Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Presidential commission), the Father McGivney Memorial in New Haven, CT (Papal commission) and the Leonardo da Vinci Horse in Milan, Italy among others.



    This website is created and hosted by's Site Builder.