Artists Bios

Local Artists

Chris Blevins

Hi… I’m Chris. Like a lot of us, my life has taken some unexpected twists and turns in recent years. Until I was 48, I was following the corporate success track. I went to college, worked for large companies and climbed the proverbial corporate ladder. Maybe because I flunked art in grade school, I was pretty dang sure I had no artistic ability. And my mother would’ve confirmed that “fact” (another story – another time).

For some reason though, I signed up for a watercolor class in 2007. I can’t pinpoint exactly WHY the 10 week watercolor lessons beckoned me. However, the compulsion to attend caused me to try three times to sign up.

Then, after only three lessons, I was stunned to see my first completed painting. I knew I was on to something. Call it “Divine Providence” or the way things are meant to be, this introduction to watercolors changed my life. My intuitive connection to watercolors was evident even in my first finished painting “Tropical Flowers” After only one and half years since taking up the brush, my piece called “Vermont Birches” was featured in The Artist’s Magazine. Some call me “The Unexpected Artist.” While I sure didn’t expect to become a professional artist, the spiritual aspect of my art is a path familiar to me since early childhood. My soul is expressed in each watercolor I create. I never forget my art is an expression of the intuitive spirit that connects each of us to one another.

In January 2012, I set an intention to retire before full retirement age and plunged into the business end of my art. I got help establishing the infrastructure and processes so I could focus on creating art and building relationships. I knew delegating some tasks to others and not trying to do it all myself was critical. In September of 2014, I officially cut the ties to the corporate world.

The most important learning has been to let my intuition guide me. When I quiet the mind and pay attention to the voice inside, or just “play,” I experience some pretty cool outcomes. People tell me I am inspirational. It always surprises me. Then again, I believe that’s how we change the world…one person at a time. We all start with ourselves and lead by example.

Suzi Vitulli

I think of my artwork as wavering between impressionistic and expressionistic. I love to use texture to create movement in my art, not only movement across the page, but also into the artwork itself. I like to work intuitively letting the painting tell me where I should put the next brush stroke.

Bright colors are important to my work. I use them because they make me feel happy and balanced. I strive to create something beautiful and inviting. I hope to entice the viewer to come in and take a closer look.

My work does not focus on important political, cultural, or world events. My art is about another very important issue, happy people and a happy society. My goal is to create beautiful, colorful, interesting and sometimes funny pieces of art. It’s important to me because it gives us a place to go to find a few moments to relax into the right side of our brains for a while. A mini getaway so the speak to give us balance in this crazy busy left brained world we live in.

Matt Bauman

My name is Matt and I have been doing some form of art since I was a kid. At age 18 I decided that I wanted to pursue art as a career and enrolled in college for a Fine Arts degree. I have a great passion for oil painting as well as mixed media drawing. Although I primarily did seascapes for the last 10 years, I have recently started working a children’s series of paintings based on characters I came up with for my daughter when she was 3, and now get to show to my youngest who is only 2. I spend my days either working on my art or planning and sketching. When I’m not doing things with my family, I enjoy reading all types of books!

Visiting/International Artists

Carol Carter

Carol Carter received her MFA from Washington University, St. Louis. She received a MAA-NEA Fellowship in Painting and Works on Paper in 1994. Voted Best St. Louis Artist by The Riverfront Times in 2000. In 2002 her work was chosen for the cover of New American Painting magazine and in 2003, the US Embassy sponsored a solo exhibition of her work at the Teatro del Centro de Arte, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Ms. Carter has been visiting artist in Oslo and Stavanger, Norway, in 1999, 2001, and 2003. The Schmidt Art Center in Belleville, IL held a solo exhibition in 2006. She was invited to be in the National Watercolor Biennial at Parkland College in February. She is featured artist in the Herstory invitational at SWIC in Granite City, IL. A retrospective of her work will be held at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, GA opening this March. Different Strokes, by Quartro Publishing, in London, England is featuring her work.

Ms. Carter’s work is represented in many public and private art collections, including those of Citicorp, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Arjomani Paper, Leonard Slatkin, Price University, and Utah State University.

Fabio Cembranelli

Fabio Cembranelli, a renowned Brazilian artist, started painting at university, where he studied architecture. After graduating, he took drawing, sculpture and photography courses in his home town of São Paolo, and continued his studies in Europe and US during the 90s. He still lives and works in São Paulo. His paintings feature in exhibitions and collections worldwide.
Fabio currently works in two artistic fields: watercolours and acrylics, and his unique and luminous floral watercolours are known internationally.

Explaining why he has chosen transparent watercolour as his favorite medium, he says, “What compels me to paint with this approach is the possibility of painting quickly. It suits my personality best — the fluidity of the medium provides a unique sensation of unexpected colour mixing, particularly when I define only the main masses and allow the unpredictable to happen on the rest of the paper. Timing is quite important in my method. I lean intuitively toward realism, but the right speed forces me to create diffused effects and shapes. I love painting flowers and landscapes in watercolour and I’m always enchanted by the attempt to capture the contrast between loose and definitive edges, as well as light and shadow effects.”

Fabio teaches painting techniques in his studio, in art galleries, as well as workshops and painting holidays throughout Brazil and abroad. Nowadays his work is focused on plain air painting, observing and studying nature firsthand at inspiring outdoor locations.

Jean Haines

 Living in China was a time when studying brush control had the greatest impact on the evolvement of Jeans style. Later working with artists from India and Pakistan introduced vibrant colours in her results compared to her previous more quiet watercolours created whilst living in Europe.

The combination of East meets West in her style is unavoidable and to be enjoyed. Free flow of water along with no fear of working directly minus the use of a preliminary sketch leads Jean to amazing results that often leave viewers of her working in awe. Light and the use of beautiful colour along with the ability to take any ordinary subject and turn it into an extraordinary painting with consistently unique results is what many artists aspire to achieve. Furthermore Jean has the ability to install enthusiasm and inspirational motivation in all around her. 

Paintings by Jean can be found in homes all over the world. Favourite subjects are highly sought after from galleries as are places on her ever growingly popular workshops. These are always restricted in number of places to ensure the value for those attending.

Jean is a member of the SWA, Society for Women Artists, and won the Anthony J Lester Award in 2009 during the SWA Annual Exhibition where her work was likened to Joseph Crawhalls from the famous Glasgow Boys. She regularly writes for art magazines and exhibits in a number of galleries.