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We’re always excited to see new students come in and develop their creative side and witness their growth as they get more comfortable with their craft. We want to share that with all of you, too! 

Meet Robert Epstein!

What led you to the Art School?

I was living in New York in the 1980’s and found a pottery school on 18th Street. I worked there for 2 or 3 years. I retired in 2016 and still had an interest in working with clay so I looked for a school near where I was now living, in Bergen County New Jersey.


What’s your favorite class?

I take ceramics. I enjoy classes with Marilyn Dale for throwing on the wheel and had a couple of classes learning hand building techniques with Raye Cooke.


Tell us about your creative inspiration/process?

I go to museums and craft shows to see what impresses me. Over the past few years I’ve been to ceramic museums in Toronto; Tempe, Arizona; and Taipei, Taiwan. I take photos of pieces that I aspire to be able to do, though my own work is more of my own process.

What do you love most about the Art School?

The teachers are very knowledgeable and always have helpful suggestions when students are facing new challenges. There are times when the instructors lead students to new challenges as well and those weeks become very rewarding.


Other interests outside the Art School?

Exercise, visiting museums and art galleries, and traveling.

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Meet Marcy Cagan!

How long have you taken classes at The Art School:  

MC: A good friend of mine was a potter and Board member at the school and he recommended it to me. I’ve taken classes for 18 years. 


Her favorite class: 

MC: I have enjoyed painting with acrylics, photo transfer and freeform crochet, but my favorite class has been Collage, taught by Harriet Finck. I’ve taken it without a break for 17 years. I took Collage last Spring. I took the Basketry workshop over the summer and I am enrolled in The World of Collage and Basketry: From Craft to Art for Fall 2019. I sign up every semester because I find the classes stimulating. They give me a chance to further my artwork and learn from the instructor, as well as all the other talented  artists in my classes. 


Her creative inspiration: 

MC: My creative inspiration is my class, taught by Harriet Finck. I have many favorite artists, but if I had to pick one, I’d say Degas. Anything can stir the creative process.  The syllabus in class is always a good source. It can also be a photo I saw, an art show, a piece of music. 


MC: I’ve always taken the opportunity to participate in the student shows every year as well as collage class exhibits at the school. I’ve been in the juried Small Works Show five times and The Art of Healing exhibits at Englewood Hospital, sponsored by the Art School twice. 


Other interests outside The Art School: 

MC: My interests include photography, which I make into prints, original art note cards and calendars. I sell these items at a Craft Fair that I run at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood every November. I’m an active member of the Unitarian Society. 

I also do Baby Holding in the NICU (neonatal intensive care) unit at Hackensack Hospital. I am part of team that sails in races on the Hudson River and I love to travel with my husband. 


MC: I was a theater major in college. After graduation, I worked in the retail industry in Human Resources.  I’ve been a freelance newspaper writer and editor. I’ve been married for 42 years and have two sons and a daughter-in-law. Since I’ve concentrated on my artwork, I’ve been in numerous shows throughout Bergen County. 

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Meet Joanne DeScherer!

Her introduction to The Art School: 
Joanne took the beginner's drawing class at The Art School approximately 3 - 3 1/2 years ago, eventually progressing to painting courses. She’s an avid learner and has taken classes every semester since then (including summers). 

Her favorite class: 
JDS: The painting course, Painting from Start to Finish, taught by Margery Theroux. 

What led you to the Art School? 
JDS: I worked as a physical therapist, loving medicine and physiology. NEVER did I attempt to draw anything, and if I ever did, it was a laughable result. I couldn't even draw recognizable exercises for my patients who used to giggle at my attempts. I couldn't draw a straight line and never even looked at a paint brush. About three years ago, when I had severe back and leg pain which eventually required two back surgeries -- I couldn't walk or do anything due to pain -- one of my doctors (probably exasperated at me) suggested I take some drawing courses where I would be sitting and didn’t require too much mobility. A friend knew of The Art School so I signed up for "Drawing Basics." I didn't expect much, in fact, I assumed any attempt would be an abject failure. It took quite a while before things "clicked" and then I tried to paint. Coincidentally, my father started to paint when he was 85 years old--I discovered cartons of his acrylic paints so figured I should use them. I love to paint and hope to improve more. 

Her inspiration for her drawings and paintings: 
JDS: My creative inspiration has never been any specific artist, but rather it is the natural world. I love nature, the woods, and animals--and dare to try to reproduce some of it with paint. 

What I love most about The Art School is its willingness to encourage me in doing what I love best, i.e. trying to depict this natural world in all its moods and improve my abilities to do so at my own speed. Criticism has been honest, constructive, and ongoing--and has resulted in improvement that I never anticipated or believed possible. I only hope to continue to improve on my beginnings. There is so much to learn and no one has placed boundaries on my ability to do so. 

Her creative process: 
JDS: My usual approach to creating a painting is first to create a photograph of something in nature that is beautiful, ugly, lonely, intriguing--or descriptive of some mood. Then I sketch it on paper and then attempt to transfer it to a canvas, becoming more familiar with its traits and perspectives as it repeats. I then try to match the colors and nuances to fit the moods and meanings of the scene. When I've done my best (or given up), I bring the painting to class where Margery helps to correct or improve my creation. I remain absolutely amazed that I am actually becoming able to express myself through painting and am thrilled with this new pursuit!

Other interests outside of TASOC: 
JDS: Other interests have included tennis, golf, and writing. 

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