Instructors of Our Atelier

photo Lana Ballot

Lana Ballot is a contemporary realist pastel painter. Born and raised in Russia, Lana discovered her passion for the art at an early age but it was only after she moved to the United States that she decided to pursue her dream and enrolled in the Studio Arts major at Stony Brook University, NY. Having received a good foundation in drawing and painting in college, Lana continued painting while working as a graphic designer. Lana is now a full-time artist and pastel painting instructor. She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America. 

Long Island landscape has always been Lana's primary source of inspiration for both plein air and studio work. She credits the time she spent painting outdoors for developing a better understanding of the relationship between light, color and atmosphere, so important for a landscape painter. Working primarily in pastels, Lana is interested in painterly application of this medium.

Lana has exhibited her work in numerous juried local and national exhibitions. In 2015, her work received an Honorable Mention in the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition held by Pastel Journal.


Learn more about Lana and see her artwork by visiting her website



photo James Beihl

James Beihl has been illustrating professionally since 2011. In 2011 he graduated from Pratt Institute BFA program in Communications Design, and has been a regular guest at New York Comic Con one of the biggest comic conventions in North America and has seen several books published in both print and web. James is currently working on several projects that are both comic and concept art related one of which was in collaboration with Halo and Star Wars author Karen Traviss. James is also a member of the Glasshouse Graphics Talent Agency, whose stable includes many Marvel and DC creators. Before doing Illustration full time James worked for Victoria's Secret Pink as a graphic designer and cites this experience as helping inform the way he approaches designing pages. Since James was very young he fell in love with comics as a medium, because of the creative freedom that comics offered as well as the way they provoked the imagination. 


Learn more about James and see his artwork by visiting his art station

photo Leeanna Chipana M.F.A.

Leeanna Chipana M.F.A graduated from the Grand Central Atelier where she studied under artist Jacob Collins. Ms. Chipana is a three time recepient of the Hudson River School Fellowship and earned her MFA from the New York Academy of Art. In addition to teaching classical drawing and painting privately and at the Flowerfield Atelier, Ms. Chipana is a studio art college professor. She has extensive experience teaching at various ateliers, studios, workshops and college programs throughout NY and Long Island. She developed portolio programs for college bound high school students for art programs such as The Long Island High School of the Arts, The Long Island Academy of Art, and Teaching Studios. Ms. Chipana has exhibited at the Wasau Museum of Contemporary Art, the Zhou B. Arts Center and various galleries and museums throughout the U.S.  Her work is rooted in classical painting with a contemporary topic centered around portraits of indigenous women.

Her work can viewed on her website: www.leeannachipana.com
Email her here for course questions or information on course materials: 

photo Marc Dalessio

Marc Dalessio is a classically trained naturalistic painter who at a young age established himself as one of the foremost plein-air painters working today. Marc’s artistic training began at the University of California Santa Cruz where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Fine Art. He then moved to Florence, Italy and apprenticed as a portraitist for four years under Charles Cecil at his atelier. After receiving a full scholarship at Cecil studios, Marc taught portraiture and landscape painting at the school. He later taught landscape painting for the Florence Academy of Art. Currently an independent painting instructor with workshops in the US and Europe, Marc travels for much of the year. Recent painting expeditions have included North and South Carolina, Maine, France, Russia, Ireland, England and Wales. His works are in notable private collections worldwide.

Learn more about Marc and see his artwork by visiting his website

photo Bill Graf

Bill Graf’s art career started after finishing his art education from SUNY Farmingdale, having received an Associates Degree in Advertising Art & Design. He went on to study for one year at The School of Visual Arts, at which point he continued for an additional 4 years of intensive study in academic drawing & painting from life at the Art Students League. Bill received the Frank Reilly scholarship from ASL which afforded him one full year of study. He went on to study classical realist drawing & painting in Florence, Italy at Cecil/Graves Studio.

Upon returning to New York City, Bill embarked on a career as an Art Director. However, illustration was his passion, and so began his freelance career acquiring clients such as Doubleday Books, Harlequin Enterprises, Thomas Nelson, Penquin Books, Readers Digest, Bethany House, and Voice of the Martyrs. During the course of his career, Bill was asked to teach figure painting from life summer series at The Arts Students League in NYC teaching the Frank Reilly painting method.

His portraiture has won numerous Awards throughout his career. Bill has kept true to his fine art training by accepting several portrait commissions, and working on private & public mural projects, one of which is in the Museum of American history, and depicts historical scenes from Theodore Roosevelt’s time in the White House. His Awards have also included his book cover illustrations from the Art Directors Guild and he received the Christy Award for best Christian Fiction illustration.

Bill continues to illustrate & design children books as well as teach at the Art League of Long Island, and the Rockville Centre Art League. Bill also teaches privately to students who are passionate about drawing & painting in the time honored tradition.


Learn more about Bill and see his artwork by visiting his website

photo Leo Mancini

Leo Mancini studied art at the Florence Academy of Art, and, after graduating in 2005, stayed on for six years as an instructor of plein air landscape painting and later became the director of the school's drawing program for sculptors. Today, Leo works and teaches from his studio in Waltham, MA. After classical training, he chose to explore a more personal impressionistic style employing evident brushwork and layering to create resplendent tonal effects of color and light. Leo’s work can be found in private collections worldwide and his work was recently acquired by the New Britain Museum of American Art.


"The most important element in painting is the creation of imagery. A beautiful image must be considered in composition, color, drawing and execution; it is not enough, however, to just make an image including all four elements. Already that is well difficult. A painting should be painted, you must see the process, the brushstrokes, creation of the ground, glazes and impastos. No two inches of any picture should be treated the same. What always drew me to painting was the contrast between rough and smooth, harsh and subtle. That is where beauty is. I hope to draw the viewer in, to see the world a moment in the way I do." 

photo Tim McGuire

Born in 1971, Tim McGuire was raised in Buffalo, NY. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Elementary Education, and his career includes more than 10 years teaching kindergarten in Los Angeles, CA.​​​ However, with an inclination towards drawing and painting that became increasingly pronounced, McGuire enrolled full time in the painting program at the Florence Academy of Art where he received a full scholarship in his first year, a teaching scholarship in his second year, and graduated in 2010. Since then, while developing his personal style as a painter, Tim has taught many art workshops in Italy and The United States, focusing on interiors, the clothed figure out doors, portraiture, the clothed figure in the interior, and the landscape en plein air.

McGuire’s work is most influenced by European and American post-impressionist painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably “Les Nabis” in Paris and “The Camden Town Group” in London.

​​McGuire has exhibited his work The United States, Canada, Italy, The UK, and Russia.

He lives in Buffalo, NY and Nova Scotia, Canada.

To see his work, or to learn more, please visit www.timothyandrewmcguire.com.

photo John Traynor

John C. Traynor spent his early years in New Jersey. His art studies began at Delbarton School in Morristown New Jersey; from there he went to Paier College of Art in New Haven Connecticut, starting at the age of 16. He studied figure painting at the Art Students League of New York, as a merit scholar, with Frank Mason, as well as landscape painting with Mason in Vermont. John followed his studies with Mason by spending a year studying sculpture in Italy.

Having completed his studies by the time he was 20 years old, John was determined to become a professional artist. As an unknown artist John started selling his paintings at outdoor art shows, in the Northeast where he was able to meet collectors in person. This exposure opened opportunities with galleries. Traynor has won numerous awards including the Frank DuMond award from the Hudson Valley Art Association and the Medal of Honor from the Salmagundi Club of which he is an honorary member. In addition, John is also an inductee into the Delbarton School Hall of Honors and attained the level of Copley Master from the Copley Society of Boston.

John has made numerous painting expeditions to Ireland as well as trips to Holland, Italy, France, England, Scotland, Austria, Israel and many locations across the United States including Hawaii. John currently resides in southern New Hampshire in a quaint New England village with his wife Liz. 

Learn more about John and see his artwork by visiting his website