Mary’s Instructors

Tony Ryder 

Mary studied with Tony Ryder in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Andreeva Portrait Academy.  Tony Ryder was born in New York City in 1957.  He studied at the Art Student’s League of New York, the New York Academy of Art, and at the Ecole Albert Defois, in France, with oil painter Ted Seth Jacobs. He was chosen by Mr. Jacobs to be his substitute at the New York Academy in 1986. He subsequently taught at the Art Student’s League, and has since taught painting and drawing in France, and in many parts of the United States. His work is based on a synthesis of observation and traditional painting theory. He works exclusively from life. His teaching method combines class demonstrations with individual critiques.

Geoffrey Laurence 

Mary studied with Geoffrey Laurence in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Geoffrey Laurence was born in Patterson, New Jersey not long after the end of World WII.  When he was 4, his parents moved to England, where he was educated and lived for the next 38 yrs. He attended three art schools in England over seven years during which time he became very interested in learning the skills of drawing and painting that he had observed in many classical paintings.

Over the next 20 years he worked freelance in various different art related fields. He worked as an illustrator for magazines such as Woman’s World and Look Now, a graphic designer for companies like BP and Pineapple, as a photographer for a London newspaper and as a designer for various fashion companies like Muscle Sport, Pamplemouse, Katherine Hamnett as well as designing T shirt ranges for Walt Disney, Burton and French Connection. In the 90’s he became an interior designer and designed restaurants in London for the Zen chain and others. His work was featured in Royal Institute of British Architects magazine, Vogue and the London Evening Standard.

During those years, he focused as much time as was available to drawing and painting the figure and exhibited whenever he was offered the opportunity to. He returned to fulltime study of classical painting techniques and in 1992 moved to New York where he received his Masters degree Cum Laude at the New York Academy of Art. In 1996 he moved to New Mexico, where he continue to work and live.

Michael Grimaldi 

Mary studied with Michael Grimaldi in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Michael Grimaldi  studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy, the New York Studio School, the Ecole Albert Defois and conducted independent studies in anatomy and dissection at Facultad Medicina, Argentina and Drexel University.

Mr. Grimaldi has taught figure drawing and painting at the School of Visual Arts, the National Academy, the Water Street Atelier, Studio Incamminati, Studio 126 and the Grand Central Academy of Art. Mr. Grimaldi currently teaches Drawing from Life at the Art Students League of New York and the Janus Collaborative School of Art, which he cofounded in 2008.

Exhibitions include the National Academy Museum, the de Young Museum, the Arnot Museum, the Arkansas Art Center, the Naples Museum of Art, the Forbes Magazine Collection, Arcadia Gallery, Forum Gallery, Hirschl & Adler Gallery and the John Pence Gallery.

Awards include The Edward G. McDowell Travel Grant (1993), Stacey Foundation Grant (1998, 1999), The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (1999, 2002), Forbes Foundation Residency Fellowship (2002) and an American Academy in Rome Affiliated-Fellowship (2007).

J.D. Hillberry 

Mary studied the art of realistic charcoal and pencil drawings from J.D. Hillberry in Denver, Colorado.   A natural ability and strong desire to draw surfaced early in J. D. Hillberry’s life. While growing up in Wyoming, he began developing his own techniques of blending charcoal and graphite to give a photo realistic look to his drawings. J. D. uses this monochromatic medium to focus the viewer’s attention to the drama of light, shadow, and texture without the added influence of color. Throughout his career, He has tried to push the limits of realistic expression with drawing. After moving to Colorado in 1989, Hillberry began experimenting with trompe l’oeil drawings. Traditionally, this type of artwork is done with oils, but he has successfully rendered images so realistically, they fool the eye into thinking that real objects are displayed in a shadow box frame. Working out of his studio in Westminster, Colorado, J. D. Hillberry continues to expand the public’s perception of drawing.

Virgil Elliott 

Mary travelled to Penngrove, California to study with Virgil Elliott.  Born in 1944, Virgil Elliott was fortunate enough to have been the first son of Dollye McAlister Elliott, a schoolteacher and amateur artist, who began his art education in the second year of his life. The first lesson kindled a lifelong burning obsession with art, and his talents developed rapidly with constant practice drawing, and, later, painting. The excellent instruction of illustrators Robert Fawcett, Albert Dorne, Austin Briggs, Steven Dohanos, Harold Von Schmidt and others, via correspondence course, helped him tremendously,and by his late teens, he was an accomplished draftsman and competent oil painter. As a soldier in the U.S. Army he traveled to Europe in 1963,returning to the United States in 1965. While overseas, he took art classes in the evenings with an instructor whose last name he cannot recall, an American named “Ken,” who taught at the USO in Mannheim, Germany, and who helped young PFC Elliott advance his painting skills still further. And of course there were museums full of Old Master paintings throughout Europe to inspire him.

Profoundly moved by the works of the Old Masters, particularly Rembrandt and Vermeer, Elliott was dissatisfied with his own abilities, and sought to learn still more. Quickly becoming disillusioned with college-level art instruction at the colleges and universities he attended for several years following his discharge from the Army, due to their emphasis on “modern” styles which did not interest him, he endeavored to teach himself from that point onward. His quest for knowledge drove him to search out old manuscripts to study, and to travel far and wide to view the Old Master paintings wherever they might be found, in addition to constant ongoing practice drawing and painting. Several years as a freelance commercial artist helped to hone his talents, and in 1982 he felt he was ready to begin his career in fine art.

He has won many honors, awards and distinctions since his fine arts debut, and has become a sought-after teacher, lecturer, art show judge and writer in addition to the ongoing demand for his talents as a portrait painter and fine artist. In 1985 he was awarded the American Portrait Society’s certification, a distinction shared by only 24 artists in the world. As an outspoken member of the Artists’ Advisory Panel to the California State Fair in 1987, Elliott spearheaded a successful effort to open the State Fair’s art show to representational art, which had been previously excluded from the show, and to depose the officials responsible for its exclusion. He was elected an Associate Guild Member by the American Society of Classical Realism in 1996, and was made a Signature Member of the American Society of Portrait Artists that same year, in addition to winning an award in The Artist’s Magazine’s portrait competition. His book, Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present, a 21-year project, was published in 2007 by Watson-Guptill Publications (now Random House). Virgil Elliott has had articles published in American Artist magazine, The Artist’s Magazine, The Portrait Signature, the Chronicle of Higher Education, On the Level and other publications. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Art Renewal Center, and a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee on Artists’s Paints and Materials. Virgil Elliott is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and the Art Renewal Center’s Gallery of Living Masters.

The Atelier of Virgil Elliott is on the grounds of an old winery in northern California, where Elliott paints, teaches, writes,and lives with his wife, singer/actress Annie Lore.

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