Meet the Artists
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Ninety-nine percent of my oil paintings are done on site, “alla Prima”. I feel that allows me to capture the light that caught my eye as well as the true colors of nature. I love what I do and it is my goal to pass that love along in my work. If a viewer can step into the scene I have just painted and get as much pleasure from it as I did painting it, I consider it a successful painting.
Cathy Berse is a long time resident of Florida. Cathy attended the University of Wisconsin, University of Tennessee and Milwaukee Area Technical College. In years past she has worked as a graphic designer, teacher and muralist. Cathy’s murals ranged from small to the largest at 4, 800 sq. feet. Cathy taught art for Daytona Beach Community College, Artists’ Workshop, Inc. and Atlantic Center for the Arts. She is now an avid Plein Air Artist and her work can be found in private homes as well as public places including The White House, New Smyrna Beach’s City Hall, the Historical Museum and AdventHealth.
Palm Beach Shores, Florida
Depicting joy through my paintings is of great importance. I’m always intrigued by the way light affects colors and values of an object and long to enhance it on my canvas. As I develop studies of my scene, I transform realism into creativeness. Having grown up in South Florida, island life has greatly influenced my paintings, with brightly painted buildings, colorful landscapes and turquoise waters, including the locals who live there. Whether the subject matter is a timeworn cottage, a day at the beach or a sun-drenched garden I invite the viewer in, to imagine being there enjoying the scene I captured.
Kathleen Denis is known for capturing sun-drenched light in her contemporary-impressionistic style paintings, whether painting scenes of island life, timeworn cottages, inviting gardens or adorable doggies. Presently living in Palm Beach Shores, she was born in Miami, grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, and spent much time in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, which greatly influenced her use of subject matter and colorful style.
Kathleen’s love of art began with lessons at the age of four, and graduated from University of Miami, with a BFA degree in Graphic Design, while continuing to passionately study, paint en plein air and studio, teach, and win awards.
Her art is licensed by leading manufacturers worldwide and found on numerous home décor and gift products, found at stores such as HomeGoods and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Her original paintings are acquired in galleries, exhibits, plein air events and on her website.
St. Augustine, Florida
Whenever I create a painting I wish to convey to the viewer some of the life’s energy and light that I see so abundantly in the world around us.
Charles Dickinson is a graduate of Paier School of Art with an additional two years of study at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Connecticut. Charles has always felt most comfortable in nature and began to paint on location early in his education. He has continued to study nature first hand throughout his career. He has worked as a professional plein air artist for more than forty years.
Charles is collected by private collectors internationally and often participates in invitational and juried paint outs year round. Dickinson is an award-winning artist whose most recent award was Best in Show in St. Augustine, FL in 2019. His favorite subjects are varied and range from pure landscape, to marine, to architectural scenes, and to the unexpected compositions found in a plein air landscape.
Dickinson says he is challenged and inspired to create quality and lasting beauty in his work that reflects his love of nature and his love of exploring the pictorial possibilities nature provides.
Mt. Dora, Florida
My artwork can best be described as “classical representational”. I do not seek to change what is, but to paint it and present it as I perceived it at the time. I strive to create a painting that shows the beauty and character of wildlife and/or landscapes.
Although I do paint a little of everything, wildlife and their landscapes are my favorite. My landscapes are painted from life whenever possible and the wildlife is studied and photographed by myself. My goal is to capture scenes in the hope that others will see and appreciate the land that we have today.
Elisabeth Ferber was born in Belleville, Illinois but spent most of her adult life in Central Florida. Born of artistic parents and having spent much of her childhood in Europe, Elisabeth was exposed to a very classical art background which in turn influenced her current style.
Elisabeth is a member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Florida and Central Florida Plein Air Artists.
St. Augustine, Florida
My inspiration comes from the familiar subjects that surround me. I love to paint the scenes of old gritty towns, capturing the feel of the area and the locals that walk the quaint streets. I am often drawn to architecture and the way the light comes through the subject. I want my paintings to be more than a likeness but an experience or a nostalgic feel. I can walk by the same scene many times and then all of a sudden there is a moment that tells a story. That’s what I seek to capture. That’s when the painting is successful!
Martha is an award-winning artist and has enjoyed painting in plein air ever since moving from the Jersey Shore to sunny Florida. She received a BA in Art from Flagler College, studied at the Art Student League in NYC and continues to learn by attending various workshops from master painters. Martha’s style is impressionistic, painting primarily in oil and watercolor.
Martha has been juried into several national shows including NOAPS, American Impressionist Society and Bold Brush. Her most recent accomplishments include acceptance to the NOAPS “Best of America 2021,” several works exhibited at museums, and a solo show at The Lightner Museum in St Augustine, FL in 2022.
I believe that evoking a feeling of light, space, and passion is the key to any successful contemporary painting. From serene, swampy marshes draped in ancient Spanish moss to tiny, rickety oyster towns bursting with rainbow buoys and boats, there is always a sight to behold. I am passionate about the morning glow of a waking sun illuminating an observant egret, the conversation between a fisherman and a hungry pelican testing its luck, or the simplistic beauty of a half peeled clementine, bursting with flavor and juicy color.
Born and raised in Maryland, Michelle knew from a young age that she was meant to fly the vast skies of the art world with a palette and paints tucked beneath her eager wings. Passionately working as an artist and business owner for the past 28 years, Michelle has been living out her dreams in Sarasota, Florida.
Michelle currently participates in invitational paint outs and is widely collected throughout the United States. She is also represented in 3 thriving galleries as well. Often commissioned for custom paintings as well as murals and the ever so important historical restoration, Michelle’s passion for wildlife and its ecosystems brought her to embrace the natural world through painting from life . Plein air has set flight to many paint outs, including Easton, Forgotten Coast, Olmstead, Lighthouse Art Center and Many more. Achieving many awards throughout this journey, Best of show Sedona 2020 PleinAir, Best Architecture Sedona 2023, 1st Place Quick Draw Forgotten Coast 2021 to name a few.
The real victory however, has come with her love of teaching. There were so many who encouraged her, Michelle finds that paying it forward is the best way to fulfill the soul.
In an era where life pulls and drives us for more and more, art allows us a meditated pause – an image that lets us remember and stay ever connected to what we love.
Jeanette was born into a family of professional artists and honed her art skills under the expertise of her mother and grandfather. Through those influences and through years of intense daily discipline, Jeanette developed her voice as an artist. Jeanette lived and studied in Italy where she was an invited and awarded participant in numerous plein air competitions, including the extempores “Tema Cima da Conegliana,” and “Nel Borgo di Valvasone,” as well as painting at the bi-annual Castelli Apertiat Castello di Strassoldo. Jeanette returned to the United States in early 2020, and now lives permanently on Florida’s Emerald Coast. She is represented by Kyo Gallery in Washington DC, Riverside Gallery in Apalachicola, Florida, and Dauphin Island Gallery, Dauphin Island, Alabama. In addition, she is a regular exhibitor and teacher at Artful Things in her hometown of Niceville, Florida.
Ormond Beach, Florida
Scott, a resident of Ormond Beach, Florida, is an avid plein air painter and creator of various bird and fish sculptures made from wire and various finishes.
Upon obtaining his art degree in Philadelphia, Scott was recruited by Hallmark Cards. He later worked for some 35 years as a graphic artist for various newspapers, including 15 years at the St. Petersburg Times, where he illustrated the outdoors pages.
Scott’s work has been recognized throughout the United States. He is a State of Indiana upland game bird stamp contest winner; was selected for the Paint America National Gallery Tour; and designed the Florida Bass Fish automobile license plate. Scott’s works are in many private and corporate collections.
Locust Grove, Virginia
I can’t imagine a day not painting. I consider it an honor to interpret the landscape around us and I hope that, through my art, I can record scenes for future generations.
Catherine Hillis defines herself as an artist, teacher, writer, and juror. Working primarily in watercolors, the artist loves the transparency and immediacy of the fluid mark. She finds herself drawn to scenes that are often forgotten and seeks out the intrinsic beauty in the most neglected of places. Trained in theatre and painting, the artist merges these disciplines in her fine art paintings with a narrative that is uniquely her own. She travels extensively to paint in national juried plein air events and invitationals and to teach workshops. Her work is found in corporate and private collections around the world.
Hillis has won hundreds of awards in national and international competitions. She’s earned signature membership in eight national arts organizations as well as the Laguna Plein Air Painters and the Washington Society of Landscape Painters. A regular contributor to the American Watercolor Weekly Newsletter, her work has been featured in Watercolor Magazine, American Watercolor Weekly, Fine Art Connoisseur, PleinAir Magazine, the Washington Post and the Splash series.
Hillis maintains a home studio in Locust Grove, VA and at Sophia Street Studios in Fredericksburg, VA.
My work is a constant search for the best way to interpret what my visual senses experience and express them in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to both the viewer and me. Through the years, I have come to understand that this is an ongoing dynamic process, with my artistic sensitivities continually morphing, with little cognitive effort. Each painting is an extension of my past and a glimpse into my future. If a viewer stops for just a moment to view and reflect on a work I have created, then I have succeeded.
Preston King, an award-winning artist, was born in Clinch County, Georgia. He began studying painting at age 13, starting in pastels, and then received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Valdosta State University. Later, he returned to school to earn his Bachelor of Science-Nursing degree, also from Valdosta State University. “I am one of the most fortunate people I know. Being able to pursue both a career as a healthcare professional and an artist, is a luxury not afforded all. The combination of both created in me a sense of balance.”.
Having retired from healthcare as a Healthcare Compliance Officer, Preston now devotes full time to working exclusively in pastels, with the majority of his efforts devoted to “en plein air” painting.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
My love of the outdoors and plein air painting are perfect partners. In my paintings, I am trying to capture the essence and spirit of the landscape and at times individual subjects. Plein air painting allows for the direct observation of color, light and movement. When I am painting in plein air, I am involving all five senses. I can see the glowing light and soft shadows. My skin is feeling the warm breeze as I smell the fresh flowers. The paintbrush or pastel stick is gliding across the canvas and I can hear the birds chattering. I am fully engaged and could not be happier. This is the difference between plein air painting and painting in the studio.
I am fortunate to live in Florida where the atmospheric conditions create gorgeous light. We have exquisite beaches, turquoise springs and dense, rich forests. Hopefully my work will inspire their protection and preservation.
I took life drawing classes in the North Jersey Art Center while in high school. In college I studied fine art at Monmouth College and Fairleigh Dickenson University. In 1984, I moved to Cancun, Mexico where I resided until 1994. During that time, I owned and operated an interior decorating business. Upon returning to the United States, my husband and I along with our two children, settled in Florida.
Once my children were in high school I resumed studying oil painting and pastel. Pursuing plein air painting was a natural progression. I participate in juried and invitational events as well as competitions in both oils and pastels and have won a number of awards in both mediums.
Joe was born Aug. 12, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pa. He has been a resident of Sarasota for 30 years. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. 1979, studied landscape painting with Lou Sloan, and the Barnes Foundation, Lower Merion, Pa. Studied Sculpture at the Frudakis Academy, and metal sculpture at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. He also starred in the short Art film “A Lot in Common”, which played in the Sarasota Film Festival, 2011. He taught painting in community arts centers in Philadelphia, and Colorado, and spent seven years teaching physically challenged adults, in Philadelphia. He presented a highly acclaimed seminar at the St. Bridget Arts Council on Venetian Painting Techniques in Philadelphia. He was the Artist In Residence for the Everglades National Park, Florida and the Great Sand Dune National Park, Colorado. He has been jurying shows since the mid 80’s. He has had numerous TV appearances and interview on NPR Arts Edition, by Amy Tardiff. Recently won a Merit award for NOAPS small works show at McBride gallery, Annapolis Md.’20, And exhibiting in their National show at Cutter and Cutter Gallery, Nov. ’20.
He is in numerous private collections, throughout the country. He is represented by Dabbert Gallery in Sarasota, Arts on Douglas in New Smyrna, and Cortille Gallery, Provincetown, Ma. He has won numerous awards for his plein air paintings.
Joe’s paintings emphasize a soft brushwork that captures the fleeting moments of nature.
As humans, we are made of earth. I love exploring this connection with nature. Working en plein air, I have the opportunity to be immersed in the sounds and sights of the environment, and I try to capture those details for the viewer.
Oil paint is chosen for its luminosity as well as for the enduring, earthly elements that compose the paint itself. The more I paint, the more it draws me in to discovery. This is the joy I want to express in my work.
A native of Florida, Robin attended Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, and received a certificate as a cabinetmaker from Ptec in Clearwater, FL. She started plein air painting in early 2000 and has been at it ever since. She and her husband run a small working farm in north central Florida, and much of the surrounding rural area has ended up on canvas. Robin has two studios on her farm where she does both painting and woodworking. She also loves teaching and travels throughout the southeast with her workshops.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
I have been painting and drawing most of my life and continue to get a thrill every time I paint. In addition, I get a great deal of satisfaction sharing with others what others have shared with me. Painting and drawing are very teachable and in time, creativity will follow and flow.
Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Patrick grew up with tropical and ocean surroundings. Numerous visits since childhood to the Florida Keys and years of diving and sailing along with having a home in the Ocala National Forest for a number of years has had a strong and lasting influence on the subjects Patrick chooses to paint.
From beautiful cloud formations at sunset, to a quaint cottage in the Keys, to tranquil back country landscapes, to soothing seascapes, he finds and captures a feeling that relates to the beauty around us.
Patrick has been sharing and teaching others to paint for over 10 years and currently teaches classes at The Artists’ Workshop in New Smyrna Beach.
I am a pastel impressionist painter. My main aspiration is to paint light. I consider myself a sunny-day painter and love painting outdoors to fully experience my surroundings with all of my senses. My innate color sense allows me to paint playful and inventive color palettes. I aim to depict atmosphere, a sense of time of day, and mood in my work.
Born in Israel to a family of artists, I am greatly influenced by my late grandfather, who was also a painter. As a child, I painted at the side of my mother, who still paints. I am inspired by the beauty of nature, and love to paint outdoors where I can truly experience my surroundings. I draw inspiration from light effects and love to observe how objects are illuminated. My paintings often depict glow and intense light. I prefer to paint on sunny days, which are plentiful in Florida, where I live. My innate sense of color results in playful and inventive color pallets.
In my previous career, I was an interior designer, which is why I often include structures in my paintings. I find compositional balance in the combination of linear geometry and organic plant shapes.
I am represented by several galleries I am a signature member of The Florida Painters, a member of Pastel Society of America, American Impressionist Society, and a Member of Excellence of the Southeastern Pastel Society. I participate in plein air events and draw inspiration from the landscapes I encounter where I live and on my travels.
I believe that being an artist is a never-ending learning process and I continuously experiment with new techniques and design principles.
Coming from a family of artists, I have been associated with painting and the art business for many years. My dad was a well-known water colorist in our area and taught me how to draw and paint at an early age. As years went by and his health declined I would take him on long countryside drives where we would stop and paint or take photos of the old barns and landscapes that he loved so much.
I majored in art at our local junior college and throughout my career studied under some of the artist that I admired, such as Donny Finley, Dmitry Proshkin, Roger Dale Brown, Greg LaRock and Jason Saunders.
I became very active in my art business in 1984 while also working in the steel industry. I participated in many juried shows and art events. In 2006 I opened Craig Reynolds’ Studio and Gallery at which time I became a full time professional artist.
North Palm Beach, Florida
Manon is an award-winning modern impressionist, born and raised in Berlin, Germany, who now resides in Southern Florida, which presents a cornucopia of inspiration for her. The effects of light on a subject and the feeling it evokes are of great importance to Manon as she puts down her impressions in interesting patterns, luminous color, and juicy brush strokes in her own distinct style.
Manon participates in invitational and juried nation-wide plein air events as well as in prestigious juried national shows. Her award-winning works are in galleries and private collections on three continents and have been included in publications such as American Art Collector, Plein Air Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, and Fine Art Connoisseur. She has been awarded signature status with the American Society of Marine Artists as well as the National Oil and Acrylics Painters’ Society and has been selected as one of the few exhibiting out-of-state members of the distinguished California Art Club.
Manon feels strongly about passing on her knowledge in national and international workshops and retreats and is represented by Park Avenue Contemporary Art in Winter Park, FL, and Lost Art Gallery in St. Augustine, Fl.
Ultimately, Manon aims to communicate her joie de vivre through paintings that reflect the color, light, and joy Manon feels surrounded by and is ever so grateful for.
Mary O. Smith
I love painting in plein-air. It comes with many challenges: weather conditions, hot or humid, cold and windy. I love getting a painting that coveys something about the day that I encountered and the shapes that caught my attention for the painting. I use the moment to inspire me and my work.
Living near the Gulf Coast has a wealth of marine subjects; working boats, shrimp boats, boats in dry storage. Moss covered oaks are among the wonderful subjects of the area. I fall in love with each area that I paint in.
Mary O. Smith received her bachelor of design in 1982 from Louisiana State University. In her professional years working for an architectural firm as an interior designer, she developed a quick architectural rendering style to convey ideas to clients which lead her to the love of plein air painting.
Mary O. is a member of Plein Air Painters of the Southeast, signature member of Southern Watercolor Society, Georgia Watercolor Society and Tallahassee Watercolor Society. She is a founding and current board member of Pines & Palms. She was invited to be faculty at Plein Air South in 2021 and ambassador for the Forgotten Coast plein air event in Apalachicola in 2022. She was invited to be one of the featured artists for the High Cotton Paint Out in Thomasville, GA. Mary O. will say that her highest achievement thus far is winning the artist choice award at the Shadows on the Teche event 2021. She won Louisiana Beauty Award 2023 at the Shadows event. Her motto that she tries to reinforce as of late, is “a little planning is planning to succeed”.
I grew up in Winter Park Florida. I have long enjoyed the landscape of the chain of lakes and canals. I am also fond of the many weekends spent at New Smyrna Beach enjoying the beach, sun and ocean. I enjoy the challenge of capturing the outdoors and color. While painting the different scenes, I think about the paint quality, in other words, how the paint is layered on the canvas.
Don was encouraged and supported by his parents at a young age to pursue his love of art. He graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and studied portraiture at The National Academy of Design and Art Student League in New York City. Don paints with oil using a variety of brushes and palette knives and works both en plein-air, on location and in his studio from sketches and photographs. Landscapes as well as commissioned illustration and portraiture drove his early career.
Teaching at Seminole Community College, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Crealde School of Art allows Don to share his love of painting and encourage and guide both emerging and experienced artists. Don’s 28-year association with McRae Art Studio allowed him to work amongst Central Florida’s esteemed artists and refine his work.
Don’s art has been exhibited in many juried art festivals, plein-air competitions, and group shows, and his work has been featured on a variety of posters and publications. His large landscapes of Winter Park and Orlando are prominently displayed at country clubs, hospitals and living communities. Don was honored to be featured in a solo exhibit “Venetian Canals of Winter Park: The Art of Don Sondag”, at the Albin Polasek Museum from Dec 2019-April 2020.
Port Orange, Florida
Ruth believes that working from life allows you to put the most truthful statement onto paper, and also the most interesting. “The camera doesn’t capture all the light and details in the shadows, but puts everything in focus. That is not how we see the world.” To this point she studies the scene that’s in front of her and puts down what nature presents her with, carefully repositioning certain elements, eliminating others, but always focusing on the quality of light (when painting in oils) or fun details (when doing urban sketching).
Ruth Squitieri was born and raised in a small town in Germany, before settling in Florida in her early 20s. She always had art in her life. While her family was very musical, she was the only one who always had a pencil or brush in her hand. After painting a lot in watercolor and acrylics, she discovered oils about 20 years ago. In 2008 she took her first plein air workshop and has been hooked to on-site painting ever since. Ruth currently includes quick pen and ink sketches in her repertoire, especially when traveling. She is now focusing on urban sketching with pen and ink washed over with fun splashes of watercolor.
Ruth loves to share her talent and knowledge and has been doing demos at artists’ groups as well as during paintout/plein air festivals in the Central Florida area for many years. She is a sought-after instructor at the Artists Workshop in New Smyrna Beach, teaching principles of Composition and Perspective along with an intensive immersion into art for beginners, head and figure drawing, and pen and ink sketching.
"To protect and restore Florida's coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."