MEET THE INSTRUCTORS!
We are incredibly proud of our instructors who have earned recognition both as artists and as teachers. With such a diverse and professional group, your experience in a Pearl School of Art class is sure to be successful.
Want to teach? Click HERE for more information!
Mary Ellen (Mel) Basham currently serves the Texas Art Education Association as Past President, Region 6 VASE Juror Foreman, State VASE College/University Liaison, Certified VASE Juror, and Distinguished Fellow. Mel is also a member of the CEDFA Cadre and National Art Education Association.
After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Sam Houston State University, Mel began her teaching career in Aldine Independent School District where she developed an Advanced Placement Art History and Studio Art Program at MacArthur High School. After 18 years of teaching, she retired from Shepherd Independent School District where she taught Art 1-4 and was National Art Honor Society sponsor. Mel has also worked with young children as daycare owner/director and dance instructor.
As an art educator, she believes the teaching process is the most valuable lesson for students. Her philosophy is summarized in this quote by Claudia Betti: “In life as in art, the process is the point. If you take care of the process, the end product will take care of itself.” As a retired art educator, Mel loves to work with other educators providing art in-service incorporating language arts, science and math.
As a practicing artist, Mel relates to Robert Henri’s quote: “I am not interested in art as a means of making a living, but I am interested in art as a means of living a life. It is the most important of all studies and all other studies are tributary to it.”
Fisayo Delano is an in-house Graphic Designer in Houston, TX with over 10 years of experience in varying disciplines within the design world such working in-house, for an agency, and freelancing. His main design focus has been logos and print design. He is skilled in both PC and Macintosh platforms, has a working knowledge of most CS programs, and is proficient with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Knowing from a young age he wanted to pursue a career in art, he went to Texas Tech University and earned his BFA in Communication Design. He has a passion for modern art and Saul Bass is his favorite artist. Fisayo is currently working at YES Prep Public Schools on their design team as well as owning and operating his private freelancing design business called Oldela Design.
Marisol Graham has been a professional Illustrator and Graphic Designer for over 10 years. Working on various projects from logo design to surface pattern design. This skill has transitioned into her current business offering unique decor for homeowners. Creating original pieces to sell in her stores and curating pieces from other artists. She finds art and creativity in everything and does her best to encourage others with their form of expression as well. Art can be created from anything. Painting with flower petals, to scraps of fabric, to the conventional tools. There is an artist in everyone.
She has been teaching Art since 1984. There are those who believe that you are either born with creative and artistic abilities or you are not. It is her belief that all people are Creative by God's Design.
Linda has been a full time Art Teacher at Extraordinary Education in Magnolia, Texas since 2011. She teaches Drawing, Painting, Art History, Art Studio, Ceramics and Animation.
Linda began teaching Art in College. While attending Kendal School of Art & Design, in Michigan, she developed a curriculum for children to draw as a language. In 1985 she moved to San Diego, California and opened Art ala Carte learning Center. For the next 15 years, she built a community of young, talented artist and friends.
Linda’s positive philosophy has been successfully demonstrated through the lives of hundreds of students. Her students have gone on to Art school, Teach Art and work in the Art Industry. It is her hope that the seeds of Creativity were planted in each of them. This is Linda’s second year teaching Summer Camp at Pearl Fincher Museum.
Elizabeth Sapre calls herself an artist who also sculpts. She was born in London, England where her artistic studies began. She has been painting intermittently all of her life, but with serious intent, during the last twelve years. She is self taught and prides herself on producing artwork that is realistic with a bit of fantasy and creativity.
The trademark of her company is a detailed, realistic interpretation of the subject or object. She specializes in oil-painted portraits, figurative artwork and sculpture for the enjoyment of those who have an appreciation for beautiful art. She uses several layers of paint in order to acquire a finished appearance to her artwork.
She provides original paintings, prints including quality giclee prints as well as commissioned artwork and sculptures made using different materials. Her sculptures are constructed with several layers of sculpting material upon a wire armature.
Karen Strole has had a long and successful career teaching art for 35 years, in Klein and Aldine ISD. Her final 20 years was at nearby Strack Intermediate where she taught all the neighborhood kids including her own. Art Education has been a lifelong pursuit but, once she retired, she began to paint with The Watercolor Society of Houston or (WAS-H). She has been honing her skills and painting in her home studio over the last 10 years. She continues to give back to this community as a teacher and volunteer at the Pearl. She’s returning to
the classroom to help fellow artisans find their personal Zen Zone and
creative path to artistic joy and fulfillment.
A series of three, themed classes with targeted techniques will be explored. Karen’s style is to select simple objects such as leaves, feathers, sticks and stones but paints them up close or in an unusual way. Karen has strong base knowledge about design, art history, color theory and composition. She will encourage class discussions and lessons learned along the way. Each series of three meetings will consist of a beginning, a middle and an end. This way we can move along and continue to build your painting skills without getting hung up before we go on to the next stand-alone challenge. Working at home is encouraged and building up your personal supplies, as you can over time.
Shortly after the peak of rock and roll and muscle cars, Chris Thompson took apart his dad’s drill and put it back together successfully. Seeing the worn gears smeared with grease and the dull glint of the copper wire was a pivotal moment in his life; he realized he liked working with his hands and figuring things out, which ultimately led him to sculpture, painting, drawing, and printmaking. Chris has been doodling since he was a child, so he went to school for it at the University of Houston where he received his BFA in Sculpture. A short time later, he received his MFA from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and quickly fled to New York. After spending some time scribbling in Brooklyn, Chris moved back to his hometown of Houston, TX where his quality of life greatly improved. His work has been exhibited locally and nationally, and can be seen in many private collections. He continues to doodle, only now Chris teaches others how to do it at Lone Star College – University Park. Chris has conducted various printmaking and paper making workshops throughout Houston. He is a proud member of The Little Idea, and The Young and Dead Jaguars, two local bands that allow him to make noise on his numerous bass guitars. There are many projects floating around that Chris is responsible for and that have a life of their own outside of his, and he likes it that way. You can follow Chris on Instagram @studioinkwell to see what he’s up to.
Stephanie Villalta is a native Houstonian and grew up in the Spring area. Her first experience as an artist was in middle school where she participated in a several art shows. In high school, Stephanie's art was entered in a local exhibit and a few pieces were sold. These events along with a few of her favorite artists (Dali, Kahlo, Rivera and Bob Ross) helped to influence her love of art. Over time, she has strived to be like the artist that influenced her and be confident and always learning and growing as an artist. That influence has led her down the path of teaching and encouraging young artists at Hailey Elementary to make their own mark. Although her personal art is primarily done with acrylics and oil paint, she has also worked with clay, fiber art, collage and printmaking. Stephanie is always branching out and experimenting to continue her education in other mediums and techniques.
Hello fellow artist, My name is Debbie Welch and I have been teaching since the mid 90's. I currently am the Fine Arts Dept. head at Oak Ridge HS in Conroe ISD. I teach all the ceramics classes, sculpture, advanced drawing, and All 3 sections of AP art. I don't think I have a favorite medium to work in. What I love most about teaching my students is the enjoyment they have when they have accomplished something great.
Carrie Yarbrough is an artist and the founder of the stationery business, Yellow Yardbird Design. In between carting her three kids around to school, activities, and swim meets, she keeps herself busy by painting and designing stationery. Although originally an acrylic artist, she has embraced watercolor as a quick and easily transportable medium that she could take on trips and even work on in the carpool line! Her background is rooted in arts and education, with a Bachelors of Arts in Museum Studies and Master degrees in Teaching and Arts Administration. In the beginning of her career, she worked at the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans and later became a teacher for 1st and 5th grades.
Carrie is often inspired by the birds and plants in her backyard, on nature walks, and on family camping trips. She absolutely love to paint birds and plants, but she also enjoys illustrating and painting her family. Her children have been inspired to create art and she says it has been a joy to see their creativity and imagination, witnessing the positive impact art has made on them and how beneficial it has been in their development. She believes art is one of the best mediums of expression for our youth and is looking forward to combining her love of education and art in the Pearl Fincher Museum Classes.