Jeff Bass

Troy Crisswell

Chris Cruz

Joan Curtis

Katie Elkins

Thomas Andrew Findlay

Mark Foster

Mike Grecian

Andy Jordan

Alisa Koch

Liz Lane

Larry Leach

Ron Lewis

Melanie Morris

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Troy Crisswell:

Troy Crisswell is an oil and watercolor painter from Birmingham, AL.

His interest in drawing became apparent in his early teens as he and his good friend spent many summer hours cartooning cynical and exaggerated figures. He began taking art classes at Indian Springs School and continued his studies at Birmingham Southern College. Later, he worked in graphic design during the day and began attending a life drawing group in the evenings. He drew there weekly over the next twenty two-years.

In 1987 he began exhibiting pen and ink drawings and watercolor paintings. By 1991 Troy became a full time, self-employed artist. His painting continued to develop steadily and around 1997 he started to explore painting with oils.

Troy creates a signature mood in his paintings by using both realistic and surrealistic elements. He has won a multitude of awards at art festivals and his work has been featured in many galleries all over the Southeast. He is an established member of the Birmingham art community as well as a guitar player and songwriter. In 2010 he published his first book Thoughts On Painting (available at

View Troy Criswell’s Website (Click Here)

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Thomas Andrew Findlay:

Thomas Andrew Findlay was born in Miami, Florida in 1967 but moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama, at age 8 when his parents divorced. He is the middle of three sons and attended Auburn University where he studied computer graphics. After graduation, Tom moved to South Carolina to become the Art Director for Conso Products International. In 1996, he moved back to Alabama to be with his mother who was dying of cancer. Shortly after her death, Tom started publishing a magazine focused on pets and pet owners. He then launched a radio show named “Pet Talk” and a retail store that sold pet related merchandise. Tom sold his business in 1998 and launched an Internet search engine targeted to small retailers. When the dot com bubble imploded, Tom decided to pursue his love of painting. He is a natural born illustrator but a self-taught painter. Starting with portraiture, Tom quickly realized his fascination with the human composition. He then created a body of work based on the female figure that appeared dramatic yet angelic. Tom quickly became known for his “angel” paintings.

In 2007, Tom started creating images based on the American landscape. While in his 20’s and 30’s, he spent much time at his family’s home in Colorado. It was an impressionable time for him and thus the landscape of the West is a large influence on his subject matter. Moreover, while traveling through the United States later that year, he was inspired to create his highly collected “Somewhere in Time” series. Tom says this about the artwork: “I had just visited friends in Canada when the inspiration hit me. As I drove home, I noticed that each state was peppered with beautiful old barn houses set way off in the distance. These were homes at one time in our history. Their simple silhouettes gave me a haunting sense of serenity. Now old and forgotten, these structures seem lost in time.”

Furthermore, Tom’s artwork has been collected by patrons and corporations throughout the world. His style is visually unique as he blends acrylics, oil stains, inks and pastes onto wood panels with a combination of palette knife and brush. His canvases are rich in paint and texture, and each piece is finished in a tinted oil varnish. Tom says this about his work: “I am a true colorist at heart. I have color - or the lack of color - because it can conjure deep emotions. I am inspired by it and I hope to inspire with it. The color of a painting is far more important to me than the complexity of the image.”

Tom has a class in our Birmingham store on January 17, 2015.

Click here for more information about his class.

Thomas Andrew Findlay’s Website

Thomas Andrew Findlay’s YouTube Videos

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Mark Foster:

Mark Foster began drawing when he was a young boy, spending countless hours with pencil and paper on objects that caught his interest. As he grew older, academic and professional pursuits caught his interest, leading to a degree in finance followed by a stint in the United States Air Force as a pilot. Subsequent to his military service, he began dual careers in aviation and finance. Ever the renaissance man, Mark still made room for his fascination with art and drawing. He improved his skills with training under a number of well-known artists. Correspondingly, Mark taught portrait art at St. Paul’s School for seven years.

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Melanie Morris:

Melanie Morris, an award-winning artist, applies layers of exquisite color with a palette knife to create her dreamlike paintings. Melanie’s work has been said to “evoke a range of emotion from the viewer, from quiet contemplation to bubbling-over joy”.  Her paintings have been featured in Cottage Journal, Art Galleries & Artists of the South and Birmingham Home & Garden.  Melanie was the 2014 Art Show at BA – Nashville, TN Featured Artist and is the 2015 Southern Voices – Birmingham, AL Featured Artist.

Melanie’s contemporary landscapes and florals are in several corporate collections including Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, BlueShoe Nashville, Energen Corporation, Peace College, and Southern States Bank.

Melanie resides in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband – author Michael Morris.


Her work is available at Bennett Galleries in Nashville, at her studio in Homewood, AL by appointment and online at

View Melanie Morris’ Website (Click Here)

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Kellie Newsome:

 Kellie Newsome is a creative artist, energetic teacher, and paint representative. Kellie graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She received many awards and scholarships throughout the duration of her formal studies. When she graduated, she received the 2007 Award for Outstanding Artistic and Scholarly Achievement for her contribution to and development as an artist at Troy University. She began working for CHROMA's Atelier Interactive brand of paints while attending school and continues to work for them today as their representative to the South-East United States. This position allows Kellie to travel to teach workshops, perform demonstrations, and publicly speak to art guilds and organizations. She enjoys spreading the joy of creating and inspiring others to create. She has taught over 500 intermediate and advanced classes over the years. She believes that the most important part of being an artist is striving everyday to improve and inspire.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries, festivals, universities, magazines, product literature, advertisement pamphlets, public officials’ offices, and local businesses. She has received numerous awards from local and regional shows and most recently Kellie was awarded the title of Alabama Artist of the Year by the nationally distributed Twin Cities TOSCA arts publication.

For more information about Kellie Newsome, visit her website at:

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Cynthia Parsons, W.S.A.:

Cynthia Parsons received her BA at Florida State University in Advertising Design and Art History. She has taught and exhibited extensively. Her art was an Official Olympic Soccer poster in 1996. She painted Pope John Paul II and John Cardinal O'Connor for the Archdiocese of New York; and University of Alabama Coach Gene Stallings for a Books-A-Million poster in 1996. Parsons has been recognized by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In  2001 she created an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree.

In the martial art of Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan she holds rank of 1st Degree Black Belt. Parsons is in Who's Who in American Art in 1977, 2010, 2011, 2012

For more information about Cynthia Parsons, visit her website at: Parsons Art Gallery.

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Susan Ripp:

My name is Susan Ripp and I am a retired high school art teacher.  I have a degree in Painting and Art Education from Birmingham Southern College and a Masters Degree in Education with a Concentration in Ceramics from the University of Montevallo.  I have worked as professional artists outside the classroom as a muralist and ceramic artists and sculptor.  I taught Raku classes for adults for more then ten years and many of my students work as professional artists today. My experiences in teaching have enriched my life so much both as an artist and as a teacher.  I would have to say that my passion for art and teaching are equal.  I continue to share my passion for art with friends in my oil painting classes for adults.  I also teach classes for high school students who plan to pursue art in college or have a passion for the visual arts. Since my retirement from teaching high school art I have found myself in the position to create art for myself.  It is an interesting journey to explore my aesthetic voice while submerged in this new place and time in my life.  This site is intended to document my artistic  journey and the journeys of my students as they share their love for art with me.

Since my retirement, I live on Smith Lake in Houston, Alabama with my husband.  I teach classes in Birmingham and in Arley.  I feel that I am living a dream by being given the opportunity and ability to spend my time immersed in nature and art and sharing it with my friends.

See my blog at:

Susan’s Website

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#artwithfriends Workshops




Mike Grecian:

After completing his MFA in drawing and painting from Northern Illinois University in 1975, Michael Grecian worked as a freelance artist in the Chicago area creating corporate logo design, illustration, and commissioned portraits for Dan Ryan Electric, and the Weinstein family. Originally an oil painter, he now works almost exclusively in watercolor and colored pencil, and is a member of the CPSA. He currently works very closely with the Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta and Savannah, the Art Institutes and a variety of schools in the Southeastern United States. He also works directly with a variety of artists, and does demonstrations.

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For information about

Cynthia Massey Parsons’

Open Studio & Class,

Please click here.

For information about

Susan Ripp’s

“Art With Friends” Class,

Please click here.

Kevin Tobin:

Painter, Sculptor, Writer, Filmmaker, Peace Activist, Designer of furniture, interiors, landscapes and for the last eight years you can add instructor for Golden Artist Colors to the list. K.D. (Kevin) Tobin brings a boundless enthusiasm to all things creative in this latest adventure. Born in Connecticut and painting for more than forty years in acrylics and mixed media, the last twenty full time. He spent ten years painting and exhibiting in the Los Angeles area before relocating to Sarasota, Florida. He has also spent time painting in Paris, France and the Tuscany region of Italy. Kevin works snippets of newspaper text and headlines from around the world into each painting. These pieces of newsprint act as time-coding elements to root the individual piece to the period in which it was created, and while subtle, this process also helps contribute to the rich surface texture imparted upon every work. Vivid colors and primitive forms spread across often outsized canvases, are hallmarks of his work. His work hangs in many private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe. He is currently represented by Art Dimensions, Inc. in Los Angeles, and in Europe by Paul Arellano of International Artists™ Agency, Munich.

Kevin Tobin’s Website

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Kellie Newsome

Melanie O’Keefe

Susan Oliver

Cynthia Massey Parsons

Susan Ripp

Kevin Tobin

Katie Elkins:

Hi. My name is Katie Elkins.

I taught myself to sew at the age of five. I have been working in clay since the age of 7. Since then I have been obsessed with these two media. I attended Guilford College and got a BFA in Ceramic Art. At Guilford I studied with my instructor Charlie Tefft. I studied abroad three times during my education - twice in Germany and once in Japan. It was in Japan, where I studied with my sensei Yoshio Inomata, that I decided to focus on ceramics. I apprenticed at Turtle Island Pottery in Old Fort, NC after graduation, helped build the Yancey County Tile initiative from ground up, created and managed a successful art and craft fair, taught dressmaking on Capitol Hill, volunteered and showed a piece at the Smithsonian, and had many other fine adventures.

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Larry Leach:

Larry Leach has won numerous awards throughout his career: his Artist in Residence program won the National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1979; he has won seven Art in Public Places Awards and Commissions in Florida including commissions for the Florida Parks and Wildlife Offices at Everglades office which includes two 22' paintings of the primal forests of the Everglades.

Leach is the ColArt America's Outreach Artist for Universities and Colleges for the Southeastern United States. In addition he provides demonstrations and workshops for arts councils, guilds and associations for one to two days to a full week. Most recently he was asked to do two workshops for the Tennessee Watercolor Society in Franklin, TN.

Larry Leach on Facebook

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Joan Curtis:

Joan’s vibrant colors and her free spirited style reflects her lifestyle. In each painting you can see her love of life!

Joan Curtis was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a major in painting and a degree in Art Education. Joan lives in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. Joan is also a Registered Nurse and works part time in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

She shares her painting talents by participating in art shows and festivals around the southeast. She works with designers and individuals interested in her work.

Her newest painting collection is full of vivid colors and delightful subject matter. The palette knife creates impressionistic paintings that are stylish and interesting. The abstract strokes are interpreted to reflect what she knows and loves best, her family, her many friends and the joy of flowers and travel.

The “Do Wa Diddy Collection” includes a series of funky people, colorful abstracts, fun floral, impressionistic cityscapes and musical instruments. Enjoy!  Visit Joan Curtis’ website at:

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Liz Lane:

Growing up with an artist mother and a musician father, I have been around art from day one. I moved to the Big Apple and worked in the fashion industry, but realized the south was the most conducive atmosphere to my creativity and returned to sweet home Birmingham, Alabama. After working at Four Seasons Art Gallery for three years, I now paint using watercolors, oils and any thing else I can get my hands on full time in my studio in Homewood, AL. I often create invitations and graphics from my watercolor illustrations. My abstract and landscape paintings are inspired by color, line, and depth. Graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in fashion design, I am particularly conscious of fresh color pallets. Using layers of oil paints and mixing soft smooth areas with more intense, textured areas, I strive to achieve an almost three dimensional, (mostly) non-representational dance. Although I have only been painting professionally for a short time, I am collected in many homes and businesses nationally.  

In addition to painting, I drink entirely too much coffee, spend hours being entertained by my fur babies, Coco and Princess Fluffy Face, and now have a bouncing human baby, Brooklyn, my studio assistant.   

I love what I do and am so happy I can share it with you.

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Ron Lewis:

Since graduating from the University of Montevallo (Alabama), Ronald Lewis has won over 95 awards for his paintings in oil, watercolor, and acrylic. He is an elected signature member of the American Watercolor Society and has exhibited with Watercolor U.S.A., Dixieland Watercolor and Drawing Show, Alabama Watercolor Society, Southern Watercolor Society, Rocky Mountain Watercolor Society, Mainstreams, and Birmingham Art Association. He was one of a hundred artists chosen to exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute with the National Park Academy of the Arts.

He has illustrated two books: "My Country Roads" by Lou Brown which sold out and "Papa's Old Trunk" by Mary Butler.

He has been an Honored Artist at the Birmingham Festival of the Arts, and is represented in the collections of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia, and the Fine Arts Museum of the South in Mobile, Alabama. He is also represented in private and business such as the Boborfoush Collection, Sonat, Bank of Japan, and other corporate collections throughout the United States and abroad. His works have been published in Revue Moderne in Paris, Southern Accents Magazine, Birmingham Magazine, The Artist Magazine, American Artist Magazine, and American Artist Acrylic Highlights.

He is listed in Who's Who in American Art, and has also had a number of one man shows in galleries in the U.S. and in Tokyo, Japan.

Ron Lewis’ Website

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Jeff Bass:

Jeff Bass has been painting since age nine, and credits his mother--an artist herself--as his most significant influence. At age thirteen, he began receiving instruction in drawing and painting. He sold his first painting--a depiction of Chesapeake Bay from a family residence in Norfolk, Virginia--at age fourteen. Before he graduated from high school, he was selling prints of his artwork and working part time as an illustrator.

Today, he completes fine art portraits and historical works for private collections and museums. His work is represented in the Smithsonian Institute, the Central Intelligence Agency, the International Spy Museum, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, and the National World War II Museum, to name a few. He has painted luminaries including President George H. W. Bush, and Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Bass's work has been featured on CNN, Fox News and France 2 Television His work has also been featured in the Times of London, the Smithsonian Magazine Online and in numerous books and journals. In addition to oil, Jeff Bass also works in aqueous media--he holds a signature membership in the National Watercolor Society.

For more information about Jeff Bass, visit his website at:

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Andy Jordan:

Andrew Britt Jordan was born in Birmingham, AL in 1980. He was awarded the Glenda Knight Keyes Prize for Outstanding Talent in 2011 and in November 2012 completed his BFA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. Back in Birmingham, he is continuing his explorations in painting drawing and printmaking.

For more information about Andy Jordan, visit his website at:

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Alisa Koch:

Alisa Koch's work has been best described as moody and evocative landscapes in oil with the use of a palette knife. She is an Alabama native, where her love of nature was fostered in her youth. Growing up the in rural south, she was fascinated with the effects of weather and loved catching short glimpses of changes in the landscape over the course of several days. Still wanting to capture the essence of moments like these is what brings her to the canvas. She takes photos of the Montgomery skyline under many different conditions: in rainy weather, on sunny mornings, or on chilly afternoons. After visualizing various mixtures of oil paint that would best interpret her selected landscape, Alisa makes several sketches. From her drawings, she begins a series of paintings that may be similar in line, but never identical in color and emotion. Alisa strives to harness nature’s “movement” in her work. Each brush stroke pushes and pulls the color right to the edge of losing the color it needs to be. She focuses on the shapes and patterns of nature and the effect they have on the senses. She finds delight in the struggle and reconciliation between her mind’s ability to understand what is tugging at her soul and her artistic ability to communicate even the most minor revelations to others through her work.

Her work has been juried into several local art exhibitions such as the Annual Montgomery Art Guild Regions Bank Exhibition, City Hall Gallery, and the Biennial Montgomery Art Guild Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition. Some of her miniature treasures can be found at B Barganier Interiors and larger current works are always on display at Stonehenge Gallery on East Fairview Avenue.  

Works can be viewed at

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Chris Cruz:

Chris Cruz  was a stay-at-home Mom when she signed up for her first painting class over 30 years ago.  She was looking for something creative and fun to do.  Chris was introduced to the power of the paint brush and was hooked from then on.  The vibrant colors reminiscent of her Caribbean and Florida living were the perfect setting for her to let loose and express herself in a visual way that words could not.  She is recently retired and has moved to Alabama to be near her family.  

You can find her in Chelsea teaching art classes; and most recently in Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama Art Supply, Forstall Art Supply and the Shelby County Art Association.  She also does group painting parties to stimulate the creativity in those that are interested in art.

Collectors of her work have said: Her paintings are fun, different and always have a happy feeling to them that people love.  Chris Cruz was selected Signature Artist for the Festival of the Arts in Coral Springs, FL 2017.  She offers painting parties around town and helps raise money through Art Auctions.  She has won numerous awards and people who collect her work say they bring a smile to their faces.

She is a member of the Mountain Brook Art Association, Shelby County Arts Council, Central Alabama Arts Association and The Middle Tennessee Decorative Artists Group.

She can be reached at 954-608-7220 or visit her at

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Susan Oliver:

Susan Oliver, born in Birmingham, Alabama has attended Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans and Florida State University in Florence, Italy. Interested to experience different cultures, Oliver has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, particularly in France, Italy and Austria. She has lived in Paris, worked as a tutor to the children of the French Consul General in Rome, and has lived for several years in Vienna prior to her return to the United States. While living in Vienna, Oliver began to paint in earnest, consulting the professors of the Hundertwasser class of Vienna Academy of Painting. Greatly influenced by the bold usage of color of the German expressionists during her years in Austria, she lists among her favorite painters: Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Shiele, and Matisse.

Along with numerous shows in the U.S., she has also exhibited her work at The Gallery Synthese and with The Bawag Foundation for the Arts during the Festival of the Arts in Vienna. Dr. Walter Koschatzky, director of the Albertina Museum of Vienna, opened these shows. Susan Oliver’s works hang in corporate and private collections in Europe and throughout the United States. Major purchases and commissions have come from John Portman and The Portman Hotel in San Francisco, BellSouth Corporation in Birmingham, The Linpro Company in Delaware and New Jersey, The Sumitomo Corporation of America in Seattle, The David L. Babson Corporation in Boston, The Staten Island Advance in Staten Island, New York, Design Crew in Washington, D.C. and the Bawag Bank in Vienna.

Gango Editions of Portland, Oregon published prints of Susan Oliver’s work. Oliver designed the wine label for the noted Viennese winery of Kracher Wines in Austria. Oliver was the designer of the official 1995, 1997 and 2001 City Stages Poster. Susan Oliver’s works have been featured in numerous publications both in the U.S. and Europe. Oliver has written and illustrated a children’s book, Gelbo’s World: Remembering Colors. A book for all ages, it is available in bookstores throughout the U.S.

In recent years, Oliver has also begun designing jewelry as wearable pieces of art. These pieces are one-of-a-kind and primarily include semi-precious stones and sterling wire wrap. In 2015, Oliver’s jewelry was selected to be part of the Kessler Collection at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

“I have always loved fashion. To me it is as much a statement about the art of one’s spirit as it

is about physical adornment. Be Bold – Be Beautiful – From  my spirit to yours…”  – Susan Oliver

Susan Oliver’s Website

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For information about

Susan Oliver’s

Weekly Class,

Please click here.


For information about

Ron Lewis’

Weekly Class,

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