Palos Verdes Art Center instructors are highly-qualified and have a wealth of experience. Many also teach at local colleges, and all are artists in their own right. They focus on the individual needs and interests of their students. In addition, children’s teachers (rather than relying on formulas that stress strict rules and copying) have special experience in bringing out children’s unique creativity.

Nancy Backes a certified Zentangle teacher, has been a member of the Artists Studio for 9 years, and has worked as an architectural draftsperson and renderer for various architectural firms in Honolulu. She also enjoys sketching historical sites and has had many commissions in Palos Verdes and Arizona.

Robin Bott has taught children’s art in several area schools and been included in numerous exhibitions.

Paul Brayton (BFA Pitzer College), owns and operates Brayton Glass Designs, producing high quality glass works that are displayed in galleries and private collections worldwide. He also teaches glass blowing at both Palos Verdes and Peninsula High Schools.

Loren Clapp (AB, painting, sculpture, & graphic arts, UCLA; MFA, painting, Pratt Institute, NY), a local artists and member of the California Art Club and former CEO Graphic Arts Coordinator for L.A. County. He has drawn from the figure for over 43 years.

Annie Clavel (MS, Universite Paris, France) formerly a mathematics teacher, now gallery director and abstract painter, teaches drawing and painting in Long Beach.

Jennifer Fabos Patton and the Gallery Girls have been doing amazing workshops filled with fun and inspiration for over 8 years.

Bernard Fallon (BA, Liverpool College of Art; Leicester University School of Photography) has traveled around the world to create pictures. His work is in collections both in the U.S. and abroad, and he has taught many pastel and watercolor workshops. A member of the California Art Club, he often paints “en plein air” and says: “I’m not copying nature, I’m translating its effect into patches of color. Isn’t it the artist’s calling to declare the beauties of nature?”
     At the Palos Verdes Art Center, he teaches oil and pastel painting classes for all levels and teaches photography. His photography career began at the BBC in London in 1973 and his book, Bernard Fallon's Liverpool, may be purchased

Karen Graff (BA, art education, Millersville University) has taught art for over 20 years in a variety of settings from traditional art studios, fine arts museums to a campsite on a Shenandoah mountainside.

Kim Kei (BFA San Francisco Art Institute) is an artist whose personal work exists somewhere between representation and abstraction, but is fundamentally about the body. Studying the figure and working life has remained a constant feature in her practice as an artist.

Young Kim a largely self-taught artist, likes the flexibility and spontaneity of silk painting. Her vibrant realistic and abstract designs grace wall hangings and pillows as well as kimonos and scarves. She says: “I like the spontaneity of dye on silk, watching the dye spread itself in unique patterns. I am continuously fascinated by the interaction of the dyes with the silk. I feel like I am watching magic at work.”

 She promises that even beginners with no art training can find success in her classes and create pieces they will be proud to wear and share.

Laurel Koss (BA Temple University, Philadelphia ) is a freelance artist who teaches adults and children throughout the Los Angeles area.

Roy Kunisake (Cal State, Long Beach) describes his wheel-thrown porcelain vessels as “fine crafted pottery inspired by nature, cycles of aquatic ecosystems, Japanese ethnicity and California life style.” A native of Japan, he has lived in California most of his life.  He says: “When I go to Japan to visit my family, I go to the pottery villages to absorb what the potters are creating. And usually I bring back small pieces and tons of ideas for my future projects, taking small steps toward crossing bridges of ceramic art.”
    At the Palos Verdes Art Center, he teaches both hand-building and wheel-thrown ceramics to adults and wheel-throwing to youth, ages 10 and up.

Carolyn LaLiberte (BFA Ceramics, CSULB) is a ceramic artist who focuses mainly on the human figure.  She has traveled extensively taking workshops and teaching and has received numerous awards for her work.  

Henry Li Henry Li was trained in the time-honored tradition of art in Nanjing.  He studied Chinese archaeology and art history at Nanjing University and Asian History at the University of Washington. He has been teaching Chinese painting since he came to the US in 1987, at universities and art shows, as well as live and online workshops.

Victoria Li plays 6 musical instruments including violin, guzheng and guqin.  She has been teaching Chinese as a second language in China and US universities for more than 20 years.

Terry Madison (BA fine arts, MA, art education UCLA) has been an art educator for PVPUSD for 48 years.

Frank Minuto(Chouinard Institute of Art; Otis Institute of Art; University of London) has work in numerous private and corporate collections. He has also worked in illustration, art restoration and stage design.
His painting classes fill extremely rapidly, because, as one student wrote on an evaluation: “Frank has a wonderful ability to communicate with his students. He is able to quickly assess the problem and give wonderful ways of attacking it. He is easy to talk to and very knowledgeable about all areas of art.”

Mario Mirkovich Classically educated in Europe, marries traditional art skills, superb draftsmanship and expert use of color. His paintings, characterized by robust and sculptural brushstrokes, hang in collections throughout the world. He says: “My favorite thing about living in Southern California, which I use as subject matter in many of my paintings, is the resemblance it has to my homeland on the Adriatic coast of Croatia….Feeling that the light of natural scenery is its most attractive aspect, I strive to accentuate that light in my painting technique.”
    He teaches landscape, portrait and still life painting, primarily in oils. Students often work from photographs that Mario has taken.

Jim Murray (BFA, illustration, & MFA, painting, Art Center College of Design) is an artist, educator and former gallery director. He taught art and directed the gallery at Mount St. Mary’s College. He has had numerous exhibitions. 
    In his gallery visitation class, he shares his unique viewpoint, providing an artist’s opinion and historical perspective to the exhibitions the class tours and leading discussions of contemporary art issues. 

Jan Napolitan who has studied with some of the best ceramists in the country, has been a studio potter for more than 35 years. Her pieces range from elegantly classic to abstract, from sculptural to functional, from large stoneware to small porcelain. She says: “Taking a lump of clay, with an idea in mind, through the process of forming, decorating, glazing and firing is demanding and rewarding.”
    Her classes (for intermediate and advanced students) focus on the functional ceramic forms used in everyday life and on how to produce a consistent product. One student said: “Jan’s knowledge is encyclopedic, and she really cares about the students.”

Kjersti Onderdonk  Registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance, has been practicing yoga for over ten years.  She appreciates the simple postures most and enjoys the stillness cultivated within these poses.

Dael Patton (BA, art education, & MA, painting, Cal State, Los Angeles) has been a painter and art instructor for over 30 years. She also has taught at LaVerne University, Idyllwild Arts Academy and the Los Angeles and Bonita school districts. She has been a featured artist at The Tang Gallery in Brisbee, Arizona, as well as with The Artists' Studio at the Palos Verdes Art Center and the Courtyard and Songolo galleries in Idyllwild. She says of her work: “This mixed media process is both challenging and exciting for me. My goal is to achieve an interesting painting surface.”   She teaches an abstract painting class.

Lerri Peterson teaches art to adults and focuses her own painting on animals and nature. She is a member of The Artists’ Studio.

Lance Richlin has been an instructor of classical figure painting at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Art Center Pasadena and Otis Institute.

Adrian Sandstrom (BA, Buena Vista University) teaches ceramics, works as a gallery assistant, has supervised a large-scale production studio and exhibits throughout California.

Anna Sapenuk (USC, dual MA in Art History and Museum Studies) is an art historian and a museum educator with ten years of experience working in Los Angeles area museums.   She is currently engaged with Artmuse.

Jennifer Siegal (BA, studio art, UC Santa Barbara; Florence Academy of Art) has been sculpting, painting and teaching for over 10 years. She says: “Drawing from life is a wonderful artistic inspiration, and capturing the ‘look’ of the sitter is something you can’t plan, but which is revealed in the time spent with the model. It is most fun when it all comes together in the end….my initial training of working from figures from life prepares me as an artist to paint anything—a still life or landscape—with the  same bravura and keen observation.”
    Her diverse background has helped her teach a number of adult courses from figure painting and sculpting to painting impressionistic still lifes. She also teaches figure drawing for teens and children’s drawing, painting and cartooning classes as well as imaginative camp sessions.

Jeff Stellges  is the Head of the Ceramics Department and has been at the Art Center for over 17 years, both teaching and managing the ceramics studio during that time. He has been involved in Ceramics for over 30 years, teaching, building kilns, firing kilns, developing glazes, tools and equipment all with the goal of helping his students have a better ceramic experience. Jeff is very hands on and continues to learn new techniques to pass on to his students.

Jennifer Stillwell (BFA, California Institue of the Arts) has taught animation and storyboards at Cal Arts and Mt. San Antonio College and has worked on numerous projects incluing "Super Mario Brothers" and "Zelda." Click here for her webpage:

Barbara Teller Ornelas is best known for her Navajo “tapestry” weavings (95–120 weft threads per inch). She has set several records with her weavings: she has won Best of Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market twice; she established a new record in 1987 by selling a weaving for $60,000 that she and her sister Rosann Lee made; and she has woven the largest tapestry-style Navajo weaving on record. Barbara is a fifth generation weaver who was raised near Two Grey Hills on the Navajo Reservation where her father was a trader. She has been featured in National Geographic, Business Week, Americana and Native Peoples Magazines, as well as numerous books. She has won dozens of awards, and has demonstrated and lectured at museums and institutions across the country and recently did a cultural exchange with the Peruvian weavers in Peru at the request of the US State Department.

Lynda Teller Pete began weaving at age 6 and won her first major award at age 12 at the Gallup Ceremonial. She has gone on to win numerous awards for her weaving; recently winning the Best of Classification for Textiles at the prestigious 2011 Santa Fe Indian Market. Lynda collaborates with museums, schools and other art venues in Colorado and around the country to teach the public about Navajo weaving. She is also known as an accomplished beadwork artist and has won many awards for this work as

Bill Ungar (BS Industrial Design, CSU, Long Beach) a career industrial designer and design instructor, with over 25 years experience designing and developing scuba diving equipment, sporting goods, medical equipment, and hand held devices, is a strong advocate of project based design curriculum to engage students, teach problem solving, and foster creativity.

Arlene Weinstock(BFA, Boston University) earned her Signature and Experimental Signature from the Colored Pencil Society of America. She is a leading proponent of the loose colored pencil style. She shows her work locally and nationally.

James Wisnowski(American Academy of Art) is a signature member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and a member of Oil Painters of America, California Art Club, Laguna Plein Air Painters of America, Chicago Artists Association and the Palette and Chisel Fine Art Academy. He says: “I am a realist painter who paints my environment as I see it….My focus is on outdoor landscape, which includes city scenes, seascapes and rural countryside. The beauty of the four seasons allows me to become a colorist, frequently changing my palette of colors when interpreting my subject.” 
    His watercolor classes, for intermediate and advanced students, include the use of simple classical concepts as the bases for successful paintings. One student called him “the best instructor I ever had at PVAC.”

Suzanne Young has had numerous one woman shows in San Francisco.  Originally a traditional watercolorist, she moved into representational work and now specializes in abstract art.

David Wolfram (BA Art Center College of Design) is a plein air painter, working in oils and pastels.



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