Studio Art Instructors

Kelly Bogucz is in her senior year at William Paterson University. She is working on a dual major in Fine Arts (BFA, Concentration in Drawing and Painting) and Secondary Education (K – 12). She has been teaching kids art since she was 18, starting with graffiti (off-the-wall!)  and has branched out to teaching the fundamentals of drawing animals and fantasy figures. Kelly was a recipient of two awards in 2013:  Best in Show for a watercolor illustration piece, and William Paterson University’s prestigious 2013 Battcock Award, whereby the university purchased one of her paintings and has it currently on display on campus.

Artist’s Statement:  I have a strong love for teaching art and plan to pursue it as a career. I am currently focusing heavily on watercolor paintings in my fine arts concentration at William Paterson.


Peggy Dressel is an illustrator and portrait artist working in watercolor and pastel. She studied at Pratt Institute, National Academy of Design, NY, and Moore College of Art, PA. She has exhibited in numerous juried and invitational shows and is a consistent prize winner. Her portraits and paintings are represented in over a hundred private collections. In addition, companies such as Marshall Cavendish, Prentice-Hall, Dial soap, Macmillian/McGraw-Hill, Macy’s and Vogue have published her work in advertisements, books, posters, calendars, and periodicals. She has illustrated four children’s books: Hoops! (Rigby), The Marble Jar, (Zaner-Bloser, Inc.), The Magic Attic Dolls – The Adventure Begins (Reverie Publishing Company) and Emily’s Bracelet (Cook Communications Ministries).  A 2007 article in Watercolor Magazine – The Basics of Watercolor Paints I & II, features Peggy’s paintings, as well as her knowledge of color theory and her watercolor palette.

Artist’s Statement:  My challenge is to try to paint the ordinary everyday places, things, and people and make them unordinary. To achieve this, I enhance my subject matter with vibrant colors, a strong sense of light, and a unique point of view. I also hope that my work will evoke a sense of emotion or bring back memories. To reach this goal, I have developed a personal style and process of painting.


NEW! Sebastian Gomez is an illustrator based in Dover NJ and was born in Medellin Colombia, who came to the U.S with his family to follow his dreams. He has worked on various projects including Scholastic books, Strange Horizons Magazine, and more. “I make pictures as a way to bring to life all the fantasies and stories stuck in my head since childhood. These stories are usually filled with mythical creatures, monsters, warriors and heroes which have been ingrained in my imagination through my early inspirations.”


Laurie Harden is an illustrator and painter and has been, it seems, all her life. It is her first love and abiding passion. She works in oils, gouache, pastels, charcoal, and pencil. Laurie studied at Kansas City Art Institute and Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in Illustration.  Her work is widely exhibited, awarded, commissioned and collected, by both a domestic and an international clientele. Laurie exhibits widely in the Tri-State region and has been teaching art for over twenty-five years. Illustration clients include Harper & Collins, McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Holt Reinhart & Winston, Grossit & Dunlop, Pearson Learning, Lerner Publishing, Antheneum Books, Globe Fearon, Cobblehill Books, Avon Books, Aladdin Paperbacks, People’s Publishing Group, Scholastic Magazines, Cricket Magazine Group, Time/Life, Dell Magazines, Science Fiction Age, Redbook, NY Times, NY Daily News.

Artist’s Statement:  I endeavor to capture people and places as they are at the moment. I strive to portray the emotions and concerns that traverse all cultures, societies, and races. I am fascinated by the ethnic and cultural differences while embracing the universality that connects all of mankind despite the differences.  I try to express more than a physical likeness. Whether it is a mood passing over a face, or an atmospheric change that settles over a landscape, there is an aura that is radiated. This aura is as much a part of the person or place as their outright appearance. It is this totality of persona that I strive to preserve in my figurative and scenic works. I’m compelled to paint, to try to understand the way light falls on a person or object, and depict it.  I wish to express the mood or fleeting emotion of a scene in such a way that the viewer can experience the feeling that captured me and caused me to put brush to canvas.


Alice Harrison creates works of art in a variety of mediums – wood sculptures as well as paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolor, transfers, prints, photography, encaustic, found papers and a variety of found objects, both natural and man-made. In each work of art there may be one or many mediums combined. Alice’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries and universities throughout the United States, and has been shown in Europe, Mexico, South Africa, Israel and New Zealand. She has received several grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, as well as a grant from the Soaring Gardens in Pennsylvania.  Her work has been recognized with numerous awards and can be found in many private collections, as well as in the collections of the Noyes Museum and Johnson & Johnson Corporation.

Artist’s Statement: The creative process for me is intuitive – starting with materials and/or marks that I make. I like putting things together – sometimes pieces that seem not to go together. Combining things with a former life with new materials is a wonderful challenge.  I work in layers, technically, intellectually and spiritually, to create images and sensations of movement, color, harmony, and joy. Much of my work is inspired by the various materials I have collected, as well as by traditional materials in my studio.


Nina Nemeth received her BFA from Southampton College, Long Island University, and her MFA from Pratt Institute, NYC.  She has worked as an atelier assistant to Yoshi Higa (Weston Press). She has also worked as studio assistant/intern to Thomas Allen (Illustrator, Sag Harbor, NY) and Michael Knigin (Fine Artist, Circle Gallery, NYC).  Nina enjoys working in as many different mediums as possible. Her artistic style has been described as vividly colorful and wonderfully textural. More recently, she has been exploring collage, painting, drawing, and mixed media, and has been working in fluid acrylic and collage landscapes. This more recent work has been a particular source of joy.  Nina has been teaching art for over ten years. Sharing her passion with her students is something she thoroughly enjoys.

Artist’s Statement: The idea is to always let the materials lead… never a specific goal in mind, but rather a direction that is inspired by the materials and the moment. The results are multi-layered and textured. The process involved in making the artwork makes the journey as meaningful and fulfilling as the final outcome.


Francesca Pelaggi is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, holding a BFA in Illustration, with a concentration using acrylics and pastels. She has over 20 years of professional art and 8 years of teaching experience. Upon commencing her career as an Artist her interests turned toward mural painting using acrylics, monument engraving and for her personal work, pastels and watercolor. Her murals decorate many residential and commercial spaces throughout NJ and her fine art pieces are held in private collections. Her teaching experience ranges in all levels from beginner to advanced, and age groups from kindergarten to adult. Francesca has instructed classes in pastels, oil, acrylic and watercolor paints and all drawing mediums, as well as conceptual illustration classes, perspective, basic fundamentals in form, value, atmospheric and light effects as well as composition.

Artist Statement: As an Instructor, I enjoy working with students as they discover their artistic abilities and I look forward to fulfilling my interest in enhancing the lives of students through creativity, conceptual thinking as well as self-discovery. 


NEW! Rocco Scary is a multi-disciplinary artist and paper maker whose work explores the concept of ‘place’ as reservoir for memory. “The house that one grew up in, the corner deli, the old movie theater, the amusement park, the grammar school building, that favorite street corner, etc. These places play a significant role in a society’s daily functions, places where memories are created, shared, relived and stored.”