Instructor Bios


Judith Becker

Judith Becker received a BS in Design, Certificate of Education, University of Michigan and MS in Education, Monmouth University.  Of all of her art related accomplishments, she is most proud of being an art educator.  Teaching people the joys of producing art, of finding solace and pleasure in the art process is a gift she gives in return for the joy it brings to her.

Judith specializes in painting with watercolors, colored pencils, pastels and often mixes her media for unusual effects.  She is especially accomplished in composition, design and color theory. She is the creator of a unique art form called “Spritzilism”™, which involves using botanicals as templates for sprayed watercolor paint.  The results produce interesting compositions with lots of vibrant colors and textures and is one of her specialties.

She is an award winning member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society and is a juried artist of Tamarack, “The Best of West Virginia”, where she also exhibits and sells her art through its Dickirson Gallery.

She currently resides in the WV Panhandle area where she is a member of the Board of Directors and the Coordinator of Art Education for the Berkeley Arts Council. She shows her work in the Berkeley Art Works gallery in Martinsburg.

Leah Bennett

Leah (Yoyi) Bennet is a multi media artist who is primarily self taught.  She was influenced by her artist father and Carmen Trujillo, a Cuban-American artist who instilled in her the importance of being well-rounded in art disciplines.  Yoyi has over 15 years experience teaching art techniques.  She works with ink, watercolor, charcoal sketching, acrylics, oils, encaustics and cold wax.  She rounds out her art expressions by producing her own hand crafted jewelry.  She is a firm believer in up-cycling.  Her passion as an artist and instructor is to bring joy and an awe moment in someone else’s life.

Robert Howard

An artist’s style has a lot to do with who we are, what our personality is like, and, in a way, it is a sort of graphic signature. Jan is interested in detail and a careful representation of what she actually sees – whether it is in a photograph, or an object or scene from real life. My interest is the essence of my subject, I am less interested in representing something as it actually is and more attracted to getting a feeling of the subject – the essence. So, most of my work here, especially the figurative pieces and portraits, try to do just that.

I also find myself being pulled to the smallness of things – so I’m not going to be attracted to grand vistas, but rather the flowers at the road side. I like still life for the same reason. I am also an eclectic, mixed media artist so that I will use whatever is at hand to help me convey the feeling I’m after – brushes, sticks, leaves, fingers – anything that makes the mark I want. And I’ll use whatever media – oils, acrylics, pastel, watercolor, charcoal and sometimes several together.

Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon, has exhibited in 47 juried shows across the country and has work in four corporate collections. Her work hangs in numerous private collections both in the United States and Europe. She is an ordained transformational counselor and the author of four books on emotional and energetic healing, which have been published by Ozark Mountain Publishing.

Her workshop – Collage as a Tool for Personal Transformation & Healing has been presented at venues in Providence, RI, Philadelphia, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, and at WomanGathering, an annual event held in upstate Pennsylvania.

Victoria’s one-woman show, Witness, which consists almost entirely of collage, has been exhibited in Winchester, Virginia at the Shenandoah Arts Gallery, and in Bedford, Pennsylvania, at Locality Gallery. It is also available for viewing online at

Sterling “Rip” Smith

Sterling “Rip” Smith is an award-winning fine art and architectural photographer whose work has been exhibited nationally and regionally. His work can be found in public and private collections throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region and in galleries in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia. His web site is

Lori Thompson

Lori Thompson earned her BA in Art Education at Shepherd in 1991 (honors) and her Master’s at George Mason in 1999 (honors). Lori taught art in VA public high schools for many years. She was Director of Fine Arts at Hyde School in Woodstock, CT for four years. Lori’s teaching has encompassed all age groups: from preschoolers in daycare centers to the elderly in senior homes and from students in after-school art programs at inner city elementary schools to adults in community art centers, such as the Creative Alliance in B’more. Prior to moving back to WV in 2017, Lori was the Arts Specialist at a Veteran facility for seven years. Her passion for teaching art and her compassion for her community recently led her to develop and instruct a weekly, ongoing art class (free) for those in recovery at Berkeley County Recovery Resource Center in Martinsburg.


David Heatwole

David Heatwole represents the 11th generation of a creative heritage that flows through a family including craftsmen and storytellers. He continues the expression of spiritually inspired and creative concepts through unique styles and dynamic use of line, shape and color. In his Artist’s Statement, David says:

“Life is no doubt a mystery. It seems that a great creator made it all and wants mankind to increase as nature would if mankind wasn’t in the way.  With this said I create primarily contemporary fine art paintings and other two-dimensional creations, contemplative illustrations of ebb and flow, the moving and shifting of a world made up of energy and the synergistic journeys of all things visible and invisible.  Much of my art has a narrative weaving through it about my personal conversation with the divine, and one I imagine myself having with the rest of Humanity.  I am on a mission, of sorts, with the arts, and believe that the arts have more purpose here than just to entertain or beautify.  I believe the arts should be elevated to a level that is just as powerful as “government” and has more influence in society than sports. But managing this would be my greatest artistic achievement which only time will tell if I will be able to even truly to begin this part of my art making mission.  I try to illustrate this mission in some of my work.  My love for art moves me to do things I normally wouldn’t imagine myself doing.”


Jane Ping

Jane holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She also has teacher certification in grades K-12, and has taught children/adults for over 30 years.