Art Instructors



Shannon Abbey has been a professional illustrator and fine artist since 1991, training and teaching with some of the top illustrators in the Bay Area. She’s taught privately and at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, the Palo Alto Cultural Center, California College of Arts and for the Hills Project, a non-profit based in San Francisco that brings fine art, dance and music classes to inner city elementary schools. Currently she is teaching painting at Sunrise, a local assisted living community and is the co-founder, with husband cartoonist Pete McDonnell, of McDAbbey Art Camps.  “My experience has shown me that I can teach anyone to draw. It’s a craft like carpentry. There are techniques and tricks that the pros use that can improve your skill level dramatically and quickly.”

Sara Bell Sara is a mother of two young children and is a lifelong artist. She has a degree in art from the Maryland Institute, College of Art. She hopes to pass this on to both her children and the world. Thus she loves teaching children of all ages how to create art out of simple materials and approachable methods. “I love creating a series of similar, changing images in any form of printmaking. My current method is to create a series of monotype silkscreen images which I then embellish with drawings. The technique creates wonderful layers that imply the levels beyond what we see in a given moment. This takes an image out of the simple depiction of a time, place or object and celebrates the mystery of capturing a piece of a continuing story”.

Sueann  Bettison Sher  has taught ceramics and sculpture at Petaluma Montessori School, Lehman Elementary School, and the Sonoma State EXCEL program. She is a long time favorite of Arts Center kids.

Candace Birchfield’s ceramics path has taken her from learning bare basics on her own to studying in groups and privately with a teacher. “I love creating artwork by myself, without distractions. However, teaching others about the wonders of working with clay is a very rewarding and satisfying experience for me; I need both worlds. Creating my own works and sharing my experience and enthusiasm with others is a wonderful combination that keeps my work fresh and ever evolving. “

Lynda Cochran is a working mixed media and art doll creator. A credentialed teacher with over 20 years of teaching children and adults of various levels and ages, Lynda has taught two previous classes at the Petaluma Arts Center: Date with a Doll and Whimsical Collaged Houses.

Kathleen Deyo

Lisa Jean de Soto was schooled in traditional mosaic art forms, I found myself limited by the tile colors available and sought a way to attain fluid colors that melted into each other. Whether creating one-of-a-kind wall art or a fabulous mosaic table, I’ve fallen in love with taking a hammer to discarded sliding glass doors to create clear, colorless “crash glass” tiles.

Mary Dooley has been a registered architect for 25 years, has been teaching children in Sonoma County about architecture, art and the built environment for the last 18 years. A practicing architect since 1992, she has diverse experience in town planning and designing many kinds of buildings including hospitals, libraries, police stations, art centers, fire stations, labs, schools, houses, wineries, restaurants and salons.

Mark Edwards has been teaching art in the Bay Area for 20 years including the EXCEL program at Sonoma State. He has illustrated three children’s books. He has been teaching here at the Arts Center for many years.

Jonatha Foli A California transplant, Jonatha grew up with a love for all things fiber. Knitting and crocheting are a passion and in the last few years, Nuno and wet felting. She fell in love with its possibilities and the uses of colorful wool roving. For many years Jonatha taught elementary school art and then worked as a children’s book buyer and events coordinator. In the last few years she has taught as an art instructor for disabled adults. Now ‘retired’, Jonatha works as a teacher’s aide at a Waldorf-inspired charter school and teaches Nuno and wet felting workshops for parents groups, at local schools, and now at the Petaluma Arts Center.

Tricia Goldberg has enjoyed teaching tapestry weaving for over twenty-five years. She weaves commissions and her work has been widely exhibited. Tricia’s tapestries are in collections and publications, including Fiberarts Design Book 3, 4, 7; and The Tapestry Handbook by Carol Russell. She is a founding member of Tapestry Weavers West.

Maria Gonzalez-Blue has been an altar-maker for 20-plus years, both on her own and as part of Mujeres Unidas. She teaches creative arts processes for enlivenment to older adults and women’s groups, and is a multi-modal artist. She is an adjunct faculty member of California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, where she teaches expressive arts therapy in the Expressive Arts master’s program. Her favorite annual celebration is during the Days of the Dead when she can reconnect with her indigenous ancestors and with loved ones who reside in other dimensions.

Griffe Griffiths is a Master Metalworker of the Baulines Craft Guild who has been exploring the many facets of metalwork for over 40 years. He was educated in England, where he attended schools that emphasized the arts – literature, theology, poetry, theatre, music, gardening, and fine craft. He studied how nature and religion influence the arts and the myths and symbols that influence mankind.

Mary Sobrina Kuder’s life from a very early age has been devoted to various artistic practices. Mixed media painting, printmaking, textiles, interplay and performance art. She is of Cherokee, Sisquiwit and French descent. Kuder believes in embracing life and it’s many aspects, thus her varied and combined artistic tools. This makes for the rich canvas that is her life and her art. She has been a working artist since her teens.

Naomi Lasley is a clay artist living in Sebastopol. She taught secondary school for 34 years, the last 25 years as ceramics instructor at Cook Junior High (1984-1995) and Elsie Allen High School (1995-2008). Naomi’s Curriculum was inspired and shaped by the cultural diversity of her students. It led her to study and explore ethnic art, and clay was the perfect medium. Read More Here

Pete McDonnell is a freelance cartoonist who’s created illustrations for graphic novels, comic books, storyboards and more. He has taught comic book art at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Kristin Meuser is an artist, teacher and graphic/web designer. Her love of the land and nature has inspired her watercolors and pastels for over 25 years. She has developed a teaching style using techniques adapted from several workshops with educator/artist John Muir Laws. These techniques de-mystify the drawing of plants and animals in such a way that beginners quickly gain a sense of confidence in their ability to record the natural world.

Patricia Osborne is a full time dedicated watercolor and mixed media impressionistic painter. She maintains a studio in Mendocino, California, which provides her with rich inspirations of close up studies of nature, wildlife, people, and landscapes. She is a talented instructor, guest lecturer, demonstrator and workshop presenter for many art groups and organizations and has been teaching at the Mendocino Art Center for the past five years. She studied at CCAC, Oakland, California, and San Jose State University as well as with many prominent artists. Patricia is an enthusiastic teacher who encourages innovative approaches to watercolor and mixed media.

Nina Ayin Reimer Aside from 20 years as a master sculptor and teacher, Nina Ayin is a medical illustrator (Our Bodies, Ourselves), Usui Reiki Master, and author (Artist as Healer, Stories of Transformation and Healing). Her work was included in PAC’s exhibition Art of the Doll: Healing, Power and Play. More information about Nina Ayin can be found on her website,

Murray Rockowitz is well a known Bay Area photographer among patrons and collectors of fine art photography for his insightful and beautifully crafted B&W portraits, as well as other personal work. He has served private and commercial clients throughout the region for over 20 years. Murray teaches at Napa Valley College, other venues and conducts studio workshops, seminars and personal consultations. He brings his years of experience in photography and life into the classroom to inspire, teach and learn with his students.

Jewell Scanlon

Amber Turner’s inspiration is always drawn from nature. “Nature is my teacher, inspiration and subject. The deep saturated colors of my work encourage the observer to stop and look intensely into the natural world. My goal is to profoundly notice the rich colors and textures of the plant highlighting its unique character. This intimate process reconnects us to the natural world.”

Jacki Yurth has been teaching in PAC’s kids summer camp for several years and for 14 years in the Waugh School District.

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