Artist Profiles

Diane Balister

Diane paints in her studio in Spring Creek, Virginia and on location when the opportunity presents itself – most often using oil on canvas. She creates contemporary, original paintings of people, creatures, and her impressions of the world we live in. She is especially fond of lively colors and movement. She is a native of Virginia, where she met her husband Michael, and they raised their large, extended family.  She has traveled extensively, often visiting Great Britain where her husband was born.  She draws from her life experiences and travels in her work.  She moved to the Charleston, SC area in 2000 and discovered the joy of painting en plein air. She has recently returned to her native Virginia. Her portraits of animals and children are in demand and her paintings from life are on display in many homes in the Charleston area and throughout the US.  More examples of her work can be found at

Aaron Bowles

Aaron Bowles is a contemporary painter whose themes involve relationships, dreams, and mythology. He also paints the dramatically changing qualities of nature in the Chesapeake Bay region. Aaron holds a bachelors degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he focused on graphic design and illustration. He continued his art education at the graduate level by studying painting at George Mason University. A former assistant professor of design, Aaron taught art at George Mason and Northern Virginia Community College. Aaron is also a digital creative director and illustrator, whose artwork has appeared in national publications, and in advertising campaigns. Aaron is engaged in an exploration to integrate the human figure and scenes of nature into an abstract environment and has a special interest in dreams and personal stories. His work is in several regional galleries, and he enjoys commissions. Aaron works from his studio in the Scott’s Addition area of Richmond, VA.

Dalhia Cavazos

Color and texture are a driving force in the art Dalhia Cavazos creates. Her paintings invite the observer to see the world through her eyes as she preserves a moment. A moment– caught in a look, a point in time or felt in a flash. Working with water-media she investigates color, texture, and imagery. Exploring each medium’s visual qualities, handling characteristics and how they react to water or each other. Water-media includes watercolor, ink, gouache, charcoal, and graphite. A graphic designer and instructor by profession she obtained her BFA from the University of Kansas.

Steve Ferretti

After a career as an exhibit designer and creative director in Washington DC, I now focus entirely on painting in my Richmond, Virginia studio. The majority of my paintings are abstract watercolors. I recently moved into acrylic painting. My art is a visual record of personal exploration. Sometimes my subject is clearly defined before I begin a piece, other times I begin blindly and allow my intuition to lead me along an uncharted path. As much as I may view my paintings as a completely new medium of creative self-expression, my extensive skills as a designer are manifested through the precision and organized structure I bring to my paintings. I consider a successful painting one that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also presents the viewer with a unique visual perspective, whether the piece be abstract or representational in style. I strive to attract and engage the viewer and allow each viewer to respond and interpret as they so choose.

Susan Fisher

Showing us an impressionistic dance between sketch and realism, Susan Fisher paints with a distinctive style.  Many of her images are from “the mind’s eye” taking us to places that we have never been and conveying feelings that resonate with most viewers.  Self trained, she has painted prolifically since she was 12 years old.  As an adult, she studied in studio for eight years with Professor Erjun Zhao focused on portrait, landscape and figure.  Susan is the president of the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association. She grew up in the city of Richmond and lives there still.

Keziah Gehring

Keziah is an emerging young artist who works mostly with figures in oil. She is fascinated by texture and uses palette knife frequently in her paintings, as well as other mediums that make her work stand out from the canvas. With a minor in Studio Art from Randolph-Macon College, which includes a semester of studio classes in Florence, Italy, Keziah continues her growth as an artist under the instruction of Susan Fisher here in Richmond. Most of her work is inspired by photographs taken on her extensive travels abroad and revolves around a captivation with locals in their most raw environment.

Mike Haubenstock

Mike Haubenstock lives in Glen Allen, Virginia where he produces beautiful and soothing oil paintings. Starting with drawing lessons in 2003, he moved on to oils when he desired to learn more about painting. He continues to refine his technique and paints what inspires him almost every day. While fundamentally representational, Mike’s painting uses color and depth to inspire and create continual interest. Inspiration comes from architecture, landscapes, still life and, most importantly, color, which moves the artist as well as the audience. One of his early themes was fruit and vegetables, which complimented his passion for cooking. This evolved into a series of paintings of the raw ingredients of recipes, such as eggplant parmesan and guacamole. This theme continues, and he recently did some some cocktail recipes, such as Bloody Mary or Sangria. Other works include arches (architectural and natural) and the exteriors of Richmond restaurants. He has participated in juried shows in Richmond VA and San Diego.

Deborah Lepièce

I’ve been selling my painting since I was 10 years old when I displayed a painting from a class with a local New Orleans artist. I was the kid who liked the illustrated projects associated with schoolwork. My professional training mostly started at Louisiana State University where I earned a degree in Art Education. Afterwards I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Textile Design and began designing and styling textile prints for Stroheim & Romann. These textiles included reproductions for the Winterthur Museum and Stately Homes which were used in the Washington, D.C Blair House. My work is primarily influenced by my childhood in New Orleans, 14 years in New York City, and 4 years in France and by my love of the outdoors. You will frequently find me on my bike when I’m not in my art studio or traveling.

Bart Levy

Bart Levy, an emerging artist, works mostly in oils, but also oil pastel, and some printmaking. She works mostly from her own photos in her studio, as well as some en plein air. She has exhibited in galleries, group shows and solo shows in Virginia and North Carolina. Levy expresses the peacefulness and sometimes austerity of the North Carolina and Virginia rural areas, from the mountains to the wide-open countryside, to the beaches of the coast. Her florals and still life paintings concern shape, color, and light. She records the beauty and simplicity of daily life. Design is a vital aspect of all her paintings.

Emma Lou Martin

Emma Lou Martin is a professional mixed media artist in Richmond, VA. An enthusiasm and passion for the arts is evident in everything Emma Lou Martin does, especially evident in her past thirty years living in Richmond. Usually working in series, her wide ranging subject matter includes florals, still life, portraits, landscapes and abstract works of art. Martin has become especially well-known for her collages created from found objects from the natural world, whether they are “natural” pieces or not. Martin has served as the President of the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association, and was a co-founder of Uptown Gallery in 1992. She is a signature member of the Virginia Watercolor Society and is a charter member of the newly formed Mid-Atlantic Pastel and Virginia Collage Societies. She is an award winning artist in multiple media, and her work is in individual and corporate collections internationally. EmmaLouMartin-UptownGallery

Sandra Moran

Originally inspired by the scenery near her upstate New York home, “Sandy” grew up drawing; she was a doodler. After studying at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology she designed children’s clothing, and pursued art classes at Pratt Institute. After moving to Richmond, she took watercolor classes at the Visual Arts Center for five years and had her first show there in 2008. She enjoys studying the science of watercolor because each color reacts differently with other colors and the papers. Moran specializes in painting landscapes and people. The sources of her inspiration range from photos to old memories. She likes capturing a special moment. Moran attended Nimrod art center in Bath County, and the Maine Frederick Church camp summer arts programs. I’m still developing my skills, she explains.

Mary Montague Sikes

Although her first official art training did not come until her college days at the University of Mary Washington, painter Mary Montague Sikes says she has always been an artist. From early childhood days in Fredericksburg, Virginia studying cloud formations, she has loved color and dreamed of how it might be used in unusual and exciting ways. At the College of William & Mary, she discovered acrylic paints and fell in love with sculptural form and design. Later, she studied painting and earned an MFA degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the years, every art medium has attracted her attention at some point and brought joy to her West Point studio. Working on both wooden panels and canvas, she currently is experimenting with oil and cold wax as well as anything that brings texture to her work. The delight of intense watercolor on Yupo (a synthetic paper) also intrigues her. She has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean and often brings the sights and sounds of exotic places into her work. Sometimes, she paints and writes intuitively which recently resulted in the publication of the book, Spirit Visions Soul Songs.

Robert Winne

Robert is a contemporary artist from the Richmond metropolitan area. His mixed media paintings are influenced from his extensive travels throughout Europe and the Middle East and his passion with the beaches, inlets and marshes along the North Carolina coastline. As a life-long sportsman, Robert is inspired by the outdoors, which is reflective in many of his works. While he does not consider himself a “landscape” painter, he often describes his paintings as “accidental landscapes”. A graduate of Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N.C. with a Graphic Design degree, Robert has served as an illustrator with the Department of Defense, an adjunct professor teaching Airbrush Illustration at John Tyler Community College and a free-lance illustrator for ad agencies and corporate clients throughout Virginia. In 2004, Robert transformed his skills from a structured graphic design professional into an artist creating beautifully crafted abstract paintings. Robert is represented by Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond.

Douglas Orr Zeigler

Douglas Orr Zeigler was born in Dixon, Illinois and attended The University of Chicago and The Art Institute of Chicago (BFA). He studied drawing, painting and design with several European emigre faculty who emphasized the traditional disciplines. In this rich environment, he developed an approach to an individual vision which is grounded in representation, but also taps expressive, spontaneous impulses—and yields to immediate responses of color, line, form and texture. Zeigler works from his studio in Manakin Sabot, Virginia. He accepts commissions for a wide variety of artwork. Zeigler states that the visual artist has a responsibility to be faithful to his will to create, to go to those places where his vision takes form by means of paint on canvas or pigmented water on paper.  Nature is his starting point, but the subconscious guides his response to what he “knows” or “sees.” His goal as an artist is to enable others to share the beauty and excitement of the creative spirit.

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