Meet the Faculty

Doug Aaberg

Doug Aaberg is an oil painter whose works include a variety of subjects in several styles. Although best known for his realistic still life paintings, Doug’s most recent body of work reflects his fascination with the human figure and individual portraits. He is a member of the Connecticut Portrait Society and the North River Arts Society in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts and is an elected artist at Lyme Art Association, Connecticut. His paintings have been chosen to appear on AARP’s national calendar (2009) and on the cover of nationally recognized Connecticut poet, Leslie McGrath’s Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage. He was awarded the Joseph Funaro Memorial Scholarship for figure drawing by the Paier College of Art in 2011 and earned first place in the college’s student art show in 2010. Doug has participated in numerous juried art shows in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. His formal education includes a certificate program in portraiture and figures at the Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT. He has participated in numerous workshops led by notable artists including Robert Liberace, Christopher Zhang and John Kilroy.

More about Doug


Lisa Lyman Adams

Lisa Adams has been making art since she could hold a pencil. A Manhattan based illustrator for 26 years, Lisa relocated to the Mystic area where she resumed her career as a fine artist. Lisa’s unique style – a mix of super-realism, collage, naive drawing, and artists’ handwriting –  has garnered recognition and awards. She is represented by the Diane Birdsall Gallery in Old Lyme, CT. Her illustration work can be consistently spotted in mainstream magazines, The New York Times, and teen book-jackets for global publishing houses. She is the creator of the babyGap Teddy bear store mascot and the author/illustrator of the popular holiday children’s book “The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York City”. Lisa holds a BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

More about Lisa


Mary Addison

Mary Addison began her artistic journey with classes at the Lyme Art Academy in Old Lyme, CT. Her passion for art combined with her love of the outdoors and the Western landscape brought her to Boulder, CO where she studied both fine arts and art history extensively. During this time period she studied abroad in Florence Italy and New Zealand where her personal style took shape. Mary describes her style as “whimsical, playful, inspiring, thought provoking and fun”. Her work falls somewhere in between impressionistic and abstract. Her focus is in acrylics but she also enjoys drawing, sculpting and photography. Her preferred subject matter varies from landscape, to spiritual symbolism and the human figure. Mary’s work is in private collections and has been exhibited in local art spaces around the Mystic area.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado.


Sheila Barbone

Sheila developed an interest in art at an early age and her teachers took notice of her talent. At the age of nine, the owner of Stonington Art Gallery was impressed by her work and exhibited her first painting. Sheila continued to paint scenes of Stonington for a number of years before she decided to embark on formal training. In her mid-thirties she enrolled in the Lyme College of Fine Arts, where she studied with numerous accomplished artists, developed her own unique style, and ultimately earned her BFA in painting. Sheila’s paintings are decidedly impressionistic, fresh renderings of the environment which surrounds her. Bold brushstrokes and layering of paint define her work. She is equally adept at painting the dramatic hustle bustle of contemporary cityscapes as well as the coastal environment she grew up in. Since her time at Lyme Academy, she has exhibited at such prestigious venues as the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, the Copley Society of Boston, Cooley Gallery, Lyme Academy, and numerous other venues.

More about Sheila


Brenda De Los Santos

Brenda is a New London native, specializing in portrait, wedding, and event photography. She is also owner of BDPhotography. She has won awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists.  For Brenda, capturing a moment or emotion is the driving force behind her work, and people are her favorite thing to photograph.  Brenda loves being able to share her passion for photography with her students.  In the classroom, she takes a step by step approach to teaching, so that students build upon their skills and knowledge each week. Brenda graduated from Boston University with a major in Photojournalism and has worked with daily newspapers including the Norwich Bulletin, The Day, The New Britain Herald, and the Middletown Press.


Carol Dunn

Carol Dunn is an award-winning printmaker and photographer, specializing in alternative processes for creating artwork. She exhibits frequently in the New England area and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Carol has also taught classes at QVCC (Quinebaug Valley Community College), Manchester Community College, Mystic Arts Center, Silver Circle Studio, the Guilford Art Center, Meiklem Kiln Works, Thames River Academy, Norwich Free Academy, and the Lyme Art Association. She is an Elected Artist in the Norwich Arts Center, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Women Artists, Essex Art Association, and Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. Carol is an Associate Artist with the Artists Coop Gallery of Westerly, and a member of Stonington Printmakers Society.  Her work is held in private collections throughout the US, and in far flung areas including Ireland, France, and Australia. She keeps a studio, Little River Studio & Gallery, in Baltic, Connecticut.

More about Carol


Laura Gaffke

Laura maintains her studio practice at Above Elite Studios, in Westerly, Rhode Island. She is an interdisciplinary, visual artist concerned with the creative process and how it can be used as a catalyst to learn, stretch, and grow.  Nature, place, meditation, self-reflection, relationships, and life experiences all inform Laura’s creative practice. She seeks ways to share art, teach it, nurture it and communicate it in a positive way, therefore encouraging the human spirit. Laura uses paint, mixed-media, photography, and found objects to ask questions and engage in a conversation with life. Laura is experienced teaching adults and children. Her goal as an educator is to encourage each individual’s unique way of seeing and expressing the world. She values an open dialog with students and enjoys seeing their own unique perspectives on the world. Laura graduated from Goddard College with an MFA.

More about Laura


Jamie Jackson

Jamie teaches children’s art classes at the MAC. She has experience in both art and early childhood education. Jamie received her Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Mitchell College in 2007, and a B.A. in visual arts from Eastern Connecticut State University. She has over a decade’s worth of experience working with children and has been teaching at the Mystic Arts Center since 2009.


Gretchen Lally

Gretchen has mastered a variety of mediums, techniques, and graphic design, though her mediums of choice are acrylic paint and stained glass. Along with teaching art, Gretchen continues to work as a freelance illustrator and website designer. She earned her BFA in 2004 from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University while majoring in Illustration. Gretchen received her teaching certificate in Art Education in 2007 and has used her abilities as a working artist and teacher at various schools in South Eastern Connecticut.


Conam Lee

Conam spent his childhood years in Hong Kong and has a diverse background with experience in caricature, computer graphics, and costume design.  Since 1995 he has become a graphic artist and professional illustrator dedicated to children, literature, and picture books.  Conam graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree of fine art and has continued his education by taking classes at Rensselaer at Hartford and Three Rivers Technical Community College.


Sarah Stifler Lucas

Sarah works in oil, pastel, and pencil; her style combines the representational with the abstract, giving the viewer an ever-changing focus on the human form. Besides her figure paintings, café scenes, and delicate renditions of children at play, She specializes in commissioned portraits. They include Medal of Honor recipient Captain George Street whose command was the inspiration for the novel Run Silent, Run Deep and Sidney Frank, founder of Grey Goose Vodka. Sarah’s work is exhibited nationally. Among her many honors are awards from Allied Artists of America; National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society; Salmagundi Club, NYC, Mystic Arts Center, and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. Sarah is an elected artist member of many organizations, which include Salmagundi Club, NYC, Lyme Art Association and Mystic Arts Center where she has been on the faculty since 1988.

More about Sarah


Jack Montmeat

Jack enjoys painting portraits, commissions, still-lifes, and landscapes.  He gained his inspiration by Childe Hassam’s Old Lyme Impressionist paintings. Jack currently teaches drawing and painting for MAC. His work has also received honors in MAC’s exhibitions. He graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, has studied at Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and received fellowships to study in Paris and Florence.  He has won the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant three times and the 2004 Art of New England drawing award juried by Burt Silverman.

More about Jack


Sally Motycka

Sally is an artist with over 20 years of experience teaching pottery, photography, printmaking, drawing and painting, computer art, cartooning, weaving, and art history. Before moving to the area, she taught at schools and after-school programs across New England and she currently teaches art at Stonington High School. She has applied her skills to community efforts like “Empty Bowls”, set design for local theaters, and literacy volunteering. She earned her BA at Washington College in Maryland, has done graduate work at Maine College of Art and RISD, and holds a teacher certification in Connecticut and Maine.


June O’Connor

June’s current work in oils focuses on landscape and still-life.    For several years June has taught art in public schools and other educational organizations.  She was awarded “Teacher of the Year ’98-‘99” by the Plainfield Public Schools.  She earned a B.A. in Art with a teacher certification from Miami University in Oxford, OH and a MAT from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.  In addition to sharing her knowledge and love of art with children of all ages, June continues to enjoy classes at the Lyme Art Academy and here at MAC.


Hilary Opperman

Hilary has been teaching art since 2008. She believes art can be transformative and is a useful tool for self-exploration. Hilary has participated in various peace, political and volunteer organizations. These experiences have helped to bridge her creative pursuits. Moreover, Hilary is interested in the healing capacity of art and using creativity as a means of conflict resistance. She has also studied and created art that has themes related to social justice. Hilary has worked in a diverse range of media including painting and drawing materials, collage and assemblage. She embraces both representational as well as nonrepresentational forms of art. Hilary has instructed art privately and as a substitute teacher locally. She has attended Maine College of Art, and earned her B.A. from Eastern Connecticut State University with a double concentration in Visual Art and Art History.

More about Hilary


Jacqueline McLaughlin Phillips

Jacqueline is an award-winning artist who pushes realism with lights and colors, working mostly in soft pastels and oils. Jacqueline also has over thirty years of experience in commercial art and jewelry design. Since the early 1990s, Jacqueline has been chosen each year by her peers to paint the annual Hygienic Art Show poster.  Her work has been recognized by such prestigious organizations as the Connecticut Pastel Society and the NAACP. She has been extensively involved with many galleries, as a board member, judge, fundraiser, president, and teacher. She has shown her work and exhibited at numerous art shows and galleries including at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum of New London, Lyme Art Gallery of Old Lyme, Slater Museum of Norwich, Norwich Arts Council Gallery, the Pfizer Art Show, and the Pacific Street Gallery in New London.

More about Jacqueline


Gabrielle Robinson

Gabrielle grew up in Australia, studied Interior Design and is a self-taught artist interested in the visual arts and Mid-Century design who has a passion for color and spatial relationships.  Gab is currently painting in acrylics after experimenting in oils and pastels.  She has an endless curiosity with nature, “with its kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, textures and patterns, cycles and phases, will always be my inspiration”. She currently hangs the exhibitions at the Mystic Art Center while pursuing her passion for art and design. Gab worked for 12 years in the office at the Mystic Art Center while exhibiting her artwork in numerous shows including, Connecticut Women Artists, Slater Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Hygenic Art.  She studied art with Pat Warfield and also at Rhode Island School of Design.


Kathryn Robinson

Kathryn Robinson is a museum educator, art historian, and art maker, with extensive experience working in museums and galleries.  In her gallery teaching Kathryn combines numerous kinds of art including music, written word, and theater. Her primary art form is photography and her work has been strongly influenced by the maker movement and design thinking.  She graduated from the arts in education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2014, and received her MA of Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010.


Kristen Thornton

Kristen enjoys working in mixed media and on commission for murals, invitations, and logos. Her studio is based in Essex, CT. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in schools and other educational organizations ranging from Pre-K through 12th grade. Kristen also teaches for the Tracy Art Center and is an art resident for LEARN at several regional schools. She earned her BFA at the University of Connecticut, with a focus on graphic design and illustration.


Alex Trachishin

Alex teaches a large variety of media and genres, from realistic to abstract art, and from watercolor to encaustics. Alex has had one-man shows in Old Lyme, Boston, New London, Jersey City, and Manhattan.  His works are represented in private collections in the Ukraine, Russia, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, and the USA. He is represented by Gallery BelAge, in West Hampton Beach. Alex was born in the Ukraine and graduated from Minsk Art School and later the Rhode Island School of Design.


Annette Womack

Annette is primarily a painter and printmaker, but she enjoys experimenting with all media.  Her current passion is the evolution that takes place when creating a mixed-media piece.  Her conceptual pieces often attempt to answer eternal questions about nature and humanity.  Her outlook is to let art be messy and when life gets messy – create art. She has been teaching in public schools, private art centers and rehabilitation homes since 2006. She completed graduate research on the connections between art, meditation and the creative process while obtaining her M.A. from Boston University, College of Fine Arts.

More about Annette


Caroline Colom Vasquez

Caroline Colom Vasquez is the owner behind two companies: Paloma’s Nest, an acclaimed brand offering luxury handmade gifts and furniture, and Handcrafted Consulting, a mentoring firm that guides and educates artists and creative entrepreneurs in business. She was born and raised in Mystic, and recently returned to the area after living in the vibrant city of Austin, Texas. Caroline holds a BFA in Art and Design and focuses her personal work in ceramics and figurative drawing.