Zufar Bikbov

Oil Painting/En Plein Air

“Painting en plein air always was very special for Zufar. In every painting he strives to play an ode to the light. Under the moon’s glow or sun’s beam, Zufar finds it an essential tool to express his feelings and thoughts on a blank canvas.

Zufar’s father was a master of Industrial Landscape. Browsing through albums of his watercolors and from his works, he learned core basics about perspective and air effects. He started to study optics as a science, while geometry was one of his favorite subjects at school. Zufar attended Art school in Russia during the Second Thaw, when the Cold War was over but traditions of the Soviet Impressionism were still strong. When time came to choose college and a profession, his need to help people led Zufar to a medical career. After becoming a doctor in Russia, Zufar moved his family to the United States. He was honored to participate in exhibits “Doctors Paint” in State Museum of Fine Arts in Kazan and at Yale Medical School.

In the last 10 years his En Plein Air painting in United States has brought Zufar to national level competitions, where he has won a number of awards. Among them, Zufar treasures most his Artist Choice awards at Plein Air Easton. Zufar has number of followers of his art and considers teaching art another significant point of his artistic career.

Zufar’s work is widely present in private collections in United States from New England to California, UK, Spain, and of course in Russia.

Ron Blanchard

Photography/Photo Safari's

Ron Blanchard, dba, Exposures and Art, is a Connecticut native who began his journey in photography as a crime scene, wedding, and portrait photographer. Ron became involved with wild life and nature, and is both a Connecticut and South Carolina Master Naturalist who volunteers his time at the Shepaug Eagle Observatory in Southbury — combining his love of nature with fine art photography. Serving as President of the Seacoast Artists Guild for several years, Ron lead photo safaris to barrier islands by riverboat and on foot and is the recipient of numerous awards for his photographic work. Now working in the digital age, Ron’s creativity has flourished using a variety of software and applications.  He has added Mobile Artography to his repertoire; printing on canvas, glass, and fine art papers, which emphasizes the colors and textures of the images captured.

Ellie Boyd

Needlepunch Embroidery & Plein Air

Ellie Boyd is a Georgia native who began her journey in creativity at her grandmother’s knee, learning traditional needlework, and later branched into drawing, sculpture, painting and printmaking. Ellie cut her teeth teaching cub scouts leather-working, knot tying, and all manner of outdoor skills, which carries over into her first love — plein air painting.  In 2012, Ellie founded Pomperaug Outdoor Painters in Southbury, and has enjoyed exploring the beauty of New England via plein air competitions and painting with other painters who love the outdoors.  The 2019 season promises to be a great one, so put learning to paint “en plein air” on your list.  If you’d rather be painting with thread, give punchneedle embroidery a try — it’s fun and easy.

Dita Carley


Carley has many works in private collections across the country. While in the Northwest, Carley studied under Jacob Lawrence, known for his paintings of African-American culture, most notable, “The Migration Series.” Carley studied with Wolf Kahn, who is known for his brightly colored landscapes. Carley alternates between the whimsical and the serious, looking for connections between visual art, the written word and music. Her materials range from elegant handmade papers to altered book pages, to everyday scraps found and collected.

In Seattle, Carley led workshops at the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center on the Psychiatric Ward for non-diagnostic therapy. Carley also taught art for fifteen years at Cold Spring School in New Haven, CT. Carey has been working with the Seedlings Collaborative for the last three years. In addition she has taught workshops and classes at Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT and at Brookfield Craft Center, Brookfield, CT, as well as in her private studio. Carley recently retired and has returned to working full time as an artist.

Lorraine Chapin

Acrylics/Oil Painting

Southbury resident Lorraine, a UCONN-trained fine artist, has taught and painted for 30 years. Lorraine says “I love to paint—I can’t stop—it’s something I was born with. I try to convey the feeling for my subject, not just record the details—I want my viewers to feel like they are there with me. ” Lorraine is an artist/member of the Board of Directors at the Fine Line Art Gallery in Woodbury and has won numerous awards in shows throughout the Northeast.

Robert Crawford


Robert Crawford is an illustrator and fine artist living in the beautiful northwest hills of Connecticut. He works in his own unique style which he says influenced by magic realism and the regionalism of post World War Two artists like Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. Robert points to some highlights in his career having most recently won first place in The Artist’s Magazine All Media competition as well as being a finalist in Southwest Art’s Artistic Excellence Competition. His work for Bank of America featured a gigantic mural on three sides of a building facing the Kennedy Expressway where upwards of a half million people a day passed by the work.

As an illustrator he has been on the cover of major magazines such as Fortune, Business Week, The Atlantic and U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. Hi illustration work is represented by his New York agents Lindgren and Smith. He recently finished his fifth children’s book, illustrating the poems of the great American poet Carl Sandburg. Robert is also pleased to include two LL Bean Christmas covers in his portfolio. He has also shown in galleries in Florida, Litchfield County, New York City and as far away as Germany and Japan.

Robert was chosen by the German car maker, Volkswagen, to do six paintings for a book which celebrated Volkswagen’s 50th anniversary.

His work has won numerous awards from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Graphis and Print. His paintings have been included in many group shows. He participated in the United Nation’s sponsored show on the environment in New York City. That painting was featured on CBS’s Sunday morning with Charles Osgood. Robert Crawford has also been included in the latest SOI show on the environment, “ Fragile Earth”.

When Robert Crawford is not painting he can be found riding his bicycle around Connecticut.

Stephen Collins


Stephen Collins grew up in Cambridge, and received a BA in Literature from UMass Boston. He has been teaching seminars on Whitman, Hardy, Shakespeare, Frost, and Contemporary Poetry at various locations throughout the country. Stephen Collins’ style of teaching has been described as a hybrid between teaching and performance. His current seminars are on Contemporary Poetry, Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy Poetry, Shakespeare, and Walt Whitman. Each course provides an interactive learning experience.

The newest addition to his repertoire is a one man show, Shake-Scene and it has been met with rave reviews. He also works as a professionally licensed tour guide doing narrated historical tours of Boston.

Stephen’s website is

Cindy Eastman

Writing Instructor

Cindy Eastman is an award-winning author whose first book, a collection of essays entitled Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts On Aging I Remembered To Write Down was published by She Writes Press in April 2014. She has taught writing classes to students between the ages of 5 and 85 and is the creator of the “Day of Her Own” women’s writing retreat at Old Platform 6 in Oakville, Conn. She has presented nationally at the Story Circle Network 8thWomen’s Writing Conference in April 2016.

Cindy has a Master’s degree in Education and publishes a parenting blog online from her experience as a family supervisor. Read additional essays at and find her on Facebook at

Chuck Fleischman


Chuck has been an avid serious photographer since the mid 1970’s, starting with his own darkroom. As a member of the Milford Camera Club in Milford, CT he began learning how to control his cameras, composition, darkroom techniques and how to present his work. Chuck took his first Photoshop Elements course in 2002 and it opened a new world. All of a sudden he became empowered and created images that he could never create before. He became an instructor, teaching Photoshop Elements and Photoshop for the adult education program in Milford. Later he was president of the Milford Camera Club. Presently, Chuck is Vice President of Education at the Camera Club of Oxford Greens where he developed and taught “Lightroom for Beginners” to members of the Camera Club of Oxford Greens. Chuck’s work is eclectic and he draws inspiration from the work of his peers, iconic photos from the masters of photography and masters of painting. The light falling on the village elder reminded him of a Rembrandt painting. He is also an admirer of Winslow Homer, Asher Durand, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper and many others. Chuck has won many awards for his work at the Milford Arts Center, Pomperaug Woods Connecticut Seniors Juried Art Show, Connecticut Association of Photographers and others. A former registered professional engineer Chuck holds advanced degrees in Business Administration and in Computer Science. He resides with Norma, his wife of nearly 55 years at the Village of Oxford Greens.

Kothy Hafersat


Kothy (not Cathy) lives in Oxford, Connecticut. She is a national educator for three sewing machine companies. Singer, Viking and Pfaff. She has a love for Zentangle and has been doing it for a while and decided to become a certified Zentangle instructor. She has transformed what she knew in Zentangling to free motion quilting. Kothy loves the entire process of how Zentangle works and she loves to teach and has been for over 35 years. This is just a new addition to what she loves to do. Kothy also co-owns and runs a pattern company that produces quilt and sewing patterns and is a professional digitizer for the 6D embroidery software company which is sold to use with today’s embroidery sewing machines. In her company (Simply Everything) they also produce training software for the embroidery company.

Jean Hansen

Theorem Painting

Jean Hansen, CT native and RN and nationally known Decorative Arts and Theorem designer and teacher and author instructs her students in the “The Fine Art of Theorem Painting”. This technique is an advanced form of stenciling dating  back to the early 1800s and was traditionally done with oil paint on cotton velveteen or watercolor on paper.  It  has been Jean’s intent since 1983 with her first book Touch of Velvet I to offer a more contemporary realistic and diverse design approach with updated supplies and techniques, thus moving this beautiful technique out of the realm of the colonial period so it could take its rightful place in the 21st Century Decorative Art.  Thus, Theorem Painting can now be viewed as a very unique and versatile art form.  Thus, it gives today’s decorative artist the opportunity to CREATE, through the use of multi overlay stencils, a work of art that is acceptable by today’s standards, yet also preserving the principles of early Theorem Painting, an almost forgotten technique.  Some of Jean’s accomplishments early in the 80s was to introduce the Shiva Paintstiks, the Loew Cornell White Taklon Brush and the Velour Surface to this technique.  The Velour surface or Velour Board is now exclusively a Jean Hansen Publication product.  In 1989 Jean had four of her early designs converted to laser and things mushroomed after that.  Jean now offers nearly 300 laser cut stencils in various sizes to meet the needs of today’s stenciler.

Jean also authored Touch Velvet II, technique book for the Paintstiks (this is considered a crossover book (transitioning from artist oils  to the cleaner solid form of oil paint.  Jean also authored Kinder Bears for Binney and Smith.  These were all Jean’s original designs using Liquitex Acrylics for the paint medium.

To learn more visit

Erik Christian Hanson


Erik Christian Hanson earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU and was the recipient of an “Outstanding Writing For The Screen” certificate from the Goldberg Department. In addition, he was a finalist for Nantucket Film Festival’s Screenwriters Colony.  His work has been published by Smith & Kraus and Applause Books in 5 play anthologies. More than 30 of his plays have been developed and produced in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia. He has been a finalist for Lark Playwrights’ Week, EST’s Marathon of One-Act Plays and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference; he has been a semifinalist for the O’Neill Conference, Theater Masters’ National MFA Playwrights Festival, Theatre 503’s International Playwriting Award, and Fresh Ground Pepper’s BRB Retreat.

Gil Harel

Music & Music History

Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious “Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching”, as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted “Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College.” At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. His commitment to community-oriented lecturing spans many years. In addition to regularly leading seminars for Brandeis University’s BOLLI program, he has been hosted as a featured speaker at many learning-oriented events in Connecticut, New York, as well as Massachusetts. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

Lynne Henriquez

Creative Cards

Lynne Henriquez is a former middle school English teacher who “loves to make things!” Lynne enjoys crafts of all kinds, but especially those made with paper or fabric. She loves to reuse, recycle, and reinvent materials giving them new life. Her work includes greeting cards, pins, and fabric bags for varied uses. Currently, her work is on view and for sale at the Silo in New Milford, Connecticut.

Lynne’s professional career spanned 25 years of teaching English both in the United States and the Dominican Republic. She is “nearly” fluent in Spanish. Upon retirement, she completed the CT Master & Advanced Master Gardener programs through UCONN. She is an avid gardener and Friend of the Brookfield Garden Club. She is the former Volunteer Coordinator for Ann’s Place―The Home of I CAN in Danbury and a founder, fund-raiser and former secretary of the Latino Scholarship Fund located in Danbury as well. Lynne is also a member of her church choir and Women’s Guild.

Lynne holds a B.A. in English/Education from Merrimack College and an M.S. in Curriculum from WCSU. She hopes to share her love of “making things” with Arts Escape members!

Dr. Alfred Hunt

Historian/Lecturer - History & Culture

Alfred Hunt, Professor Emeritus, SUNY, College at Purchase, is the author of Works on Slavery and Southern History. Twice a Fulbright Scholar, and an on-camera host for an award-winning cable show, he has been giving lectures in New York and Connecticut for over 15 years.

Pat Keegan

Jewelry Design

Pat Keegan founded Celtic Pathways Studio in Bethlehem where she creates in many media, particularly painting, drawing and fine art photography. She is also a jewelry designer, whose work is available at The Jewelry Cafe Artist Co-operative in Woodbury, CT. A retired art teacher, Pat has received numerous national and state awards for her innovative teaching. she taught art at Shepaug Valley High School (Bridgewater, Roxbury, Washington) for thirty five years. Pat firmly believes that everyone is an artist : they need a supportive environment and specific strategies to find their inner voice and express their creativity. Through her approach, students of all ages enjoy success and learn to see the world in a new way.

” Creativity is contagious…pass it on.” Pablo Picasso

Betsy Rogers-Knox

Botanical Art

Betsy has been painting and drawing since childhood. Inspired by her English grandfather and his love of gardens Betsy has focused on illustrating plants and their habitats. She often follows the full lifecycle of a plant for a full year before beginning a painting. She received a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the New York Botanical Garden in 2006 and has been illustrating plants ever since.  Betsy’s work has been shown widely in the US and was exhibited in London at the Royal Horticultural Botanical Art Exhibition 2016  where she was awarded the prestigious Silver Gilt Award for her series of paintings titled The Life-cycle of the Milkweed and Monarch. Her work has been exhibited at the 11- 20th American Society of Botanical Artists Annual International Exhibitions in NYC and is currently in Out of the Woods:Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens Exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden and Botanical Art Worldwide: Americas Flora opening May 4 at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.  Betsy teaches Botanical and Natural Science drawing and watercolor to all levels at her studio in Bethlehem as well as other classes and open studio, all listed on her website She also teaches at the New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY, The White Memorial in Litchfield, CT, and Hollister House in Washington, CT.

Betsy can be reached by email at: or through her website at:

Derek Leka

Painting and Color Theory

Derek Leka lives and works in New Haven Connecticut.  He has been painting for 15 years and teaching for 12 years.  He has an MFA from Western Connecticut State University in Painting, Drawing and Color and a BFA from Purchase College in New York.  In 2008 his painting Placid Motion was exhibited at the National Academy Museum’s annual invitational, where he won the Andrew Carnegie award in painting.  Derek is an art materials expert and has presented to College Art Departments throughout New England and upstate NY on the proper use of art materials to; Hartford Art School, RiSD, MassArt, Purchase College, New Paltz, Cornell and Syracuse University.  Derek is a master colorist and in 2018 he published his book about color; Color is Design Find Your Unique Color Vision. additionally, in 2019 he published his second book, The Big Li’l Book of Contrast.  Both are available on the Apple Bookstore.

Betty Ann Medeiros

Watercolor/Oils/Academic Drawing

Betty Ann Medeiros is a Connecticut artist who has worked as a successful illustrator, fine artist, art teacher, and Apple computer workshop instructor. Betty Ann specializes in watercolor, acrylic, and oil painting in a colorful realistic and impressionistic style. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Design and a Masters of Fine Arts from Western Connecticut State University. She has shown in galleries and shows in Connecticut, sold to private and institutional collectors, and has also been published in books and magazines. Betty Ann has a passion for teaching and loves to see confidence grow in her students. Her work can be seen at

Linda Marino

Acrylics/Open Studio

Linda studied business at Western New England University, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. However, Linda continued to pursue her love for creating art by signing up for as many art electives as she could. Enough to create a portfolio by her senior year to study aboard with Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. The year was 1986, a time, a place and an experience that altered the course of her life forever. From that point on creating ART would play a big part of her life.

For the next 10 years Linda continued to weave together both her love for creating art with a business mindset to forge a career in the marketing, advertising and graphic design world. Linda’s business, Image Express worked with both local and nationally known clients such as the Screen Actors Guild of New York, CRN International and Masonic Charity Foundation.

Currently Linda paints mostly in oil but she likes to explore with pastels, watercolor and charcoal. Her subjects vary from coffee cups to florals, landscapes, seascapes, backyard pools to puppies, chickens and cows. Diversity keeps her perspective fresh and ideas flowing. Linda has taught at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Artsplace in Cheshire and now Arts Escape.

Grace Scharr McEnaney


Award winning Connecticut artist Grace Scharr McEnaney works exclusively in water media and has exhibited her work at the National Arts Club, The Salmagundi Club, N.Y., The Slater Museum and various other creative venues throughout the metropolitan area. She has received awards from The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Connecticut Watercolor Society, and other regional and national art organizations. An experienced teacher, Grace has the unique ability to simplify complex subjects for her students and to show them how to connect with their unique artistic selves. Painting in her class is a calming and creative experience where her students can’t help but move forward. According to Grace, “We all have an artist inside of us just waiting to emerge – from there it is only a mindset.”

Nancy McMillan


Nancy McMillan’s award-winning book, March Farm: Season by Season on a Connecticut Family Farm chronicles, through essays, photos, and recipes, the life of a working four-generation farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut. A recipient of the 2017 Eric Hoffer Award, it was noted as a “wonderful book” by Connecticut Magazine.  Nancy’s essays have appeared in Connecticut newspapers and magazines, as well as online at Fiction Southeast.  She teaches piano at her studio in Bethlehem, Whistling Hawk Studio, and writes about her life in music and writing on her blog at

John Munno


John Munno is a multi-talented and faceted full time professional photographer who makes his living by creating beauty through his photography.  John studied photography professional through the New York Institute of Photography.  His career started out as a Fine Art Nature and Landscape Photographer specializing in photo healing art for healing and medical environments.  He has permanent displays in UCONN, and Yale Greenwich Hospitals as well as many medical facilities throughout Connecticut.  He has a line of Connecticut greeting cards, calendars, dvds and books and his work has been featured on many magazine covers of Seasons Magazine.  His Nature photography focuses on the beauty of Connecticut and brings a sense of peace wonder and appreciation for Connecticut’s wild and scenic lands.  In addition to his nature and landscape and commercial photography, John is a full time wedding photographer shooting over 30 weddings a years and merging is landscape photography skills with his wedding experience to bring captivating, evocative images capturing the moments and telling the story of the wedding day.    He worked as a professional photo editor and has over 10 years’ experience as a professional photographer.

His love and enthusiasm for photography and teaching has helped many to go on to become accomplished photographers.

View his Nature and Landscape work at

Views his Wedding photography work at

Rita Paradis

Colored Pencil/Alla Prima

Rita is a versatile artist, working in four mediums: oil, colored pencil, pastel, and acrylic. Her work is joyful, colorful, whimsical and fun. She studied English Literature at Concordia University in Montreal Quebec and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA. Rita then went on to study Printmaking at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and graduated with a BFA. The summer after she graduated she spent an awesome summer in Florence, Italy as a teaching assistant in printmaking at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence. Rita has been creating paintings for several years. She is a signature member of The Colored Pencil Society of America and of the Connecticut Pastel Society. She has won many awards on local and national levels and two awards in CPSA’s International Exhibitions

Jan Peterson

Floral Design

Jan is a freelance florist and garden designer, specializing in wedding styling. For the past 14 years, she owned and operated Stewart Flowers and Gifts in Wilton, CT, a boutique florist and gift shop, geared toward the garden enthusiast. She taught floral design courses for Wilton Continuing Education as well as seminars to seniors at The Greens, a senior living community, and various women’s and youth groups. She was an active member of the Wilton Garden Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Most recently she was the lead designer and wedding stylist for Rodier Flowers, in Ridgefield, CT. Her work has been featured in Brides Connecticut.

Prior to discovering the floral industry, she had a 20 year corporate career developing products and businesses for various companies, including The Swiss Colony, Highlights for Children, Doubleday and Cendant. She has a B.A. in Government from Simmons College and a Masters in Direct Marketing from Northwestern University.

Alain J. Picard


Alain J. Picard is an award-winning artist, instructor, author and speaker. His acclaimed pastel and oil paintings have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe, China and the UK. Alain travels internationally as an art instructor, demonstrator, speaker and artistic advocate for the vulnerable.  Alain’s work and writing have been featured on numerous occasions in such publications as The Artist’s Magazine, The Pastel Journal, and Practique des Arts. In an effort to share his passion for art, Alain has written three instructional books, including “Mastering Pastel” and “Beginning Drawing,” and stars in a growing collection of instructional art videos.

Alain has lectured and demonstrated for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Arts Club in New York City, Vose Galleries in Boston, MA, the IAPS Convention in Albuquerque, NM, and the Biennial International Pastel Art Exhibition at Ming Gallery in Suzhou, China.

Alain has garnered top awards in esteemed exhibitions, including the Pastel Society of America, The American Artists Professional League, Hudson Valley Art Association, the Portrait Society of America, and the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). He is a judge and juror of international exhibitions, and a sought-after portrait artist and landscape painter. He makes his home in Connecticut with his wife and two sons.

Linda West


Linda West is a contemporary representational artist and teacher who specializes in portraiture and still life artwork. In pursuit of a fine art education in New York, she received a Certificate for Fine Art from the National Academy of Design, was a Merit Scholar of The Art Student’s League, studied at Grand Central Academy, and privately at the ateliers of Burton Silverman and Carlos Castano. Additional studies were at SACI in Florence, Italy. The mediums of choice are oil painting and mix media drawings receiving awards in both. Linda’s early art profession began with illustrative work for commercial clients including Young and Rubicam (Channel 13), The Wall Street Journal, Double Day Books, Mercedes Benz, etc. Her portrait clients include the late politician Jack Kemp, Johnson & Johnson family members, doctors, corporate leaders and children. Her work has been exhibited in New York at the Cork Gallery, The Salmagundi Club, the Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, in Connecticut at The UConn Stamford Gallery, Hurlbut Gallery, Artwell Gallery, the Behnke Doherty Gallery, and the Cudahy Gallery in Virginia.
In Linda’s journey from art student to illustrator, to portrait artist, to fine arts artist and art teacher, she continues to learn and experience the blessings and joy that creating art and observing from nature have to offer. She teaches classical art skills for a strong technical
foundation with encouragement and guidance toward the student’s creativity. You need both!

“Arts Escape – where creativity and
learning never get old!

Marilyn Wald
"The teachers are encouraging, not judgemental. They always find the good in you – they hold up the mirror to you like a good friend, so you see the good. It’s the journey not the appearance of perfection that’s important."