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MEET OUR PAINTERS

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Nikki
Coletta

By the time I was 10 I was drawn to the arts. Taking classes throughout my childhood at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, and in hospitals through art therapy. I not only had a love for art, I also survived three open-heart surgeries. As a survivor with a hearing loss, and being in and out of hospitals, I had a lot to say and through my art, I found my voice in a challenging world.

As grew into the artist I am today, I realized I have the ability to create, push, pull and stretch the boundaries of your imagination. I am acutely aware of the significance of my surroundings, my vision and my voice.  With every stroke of my brush, my intent is to paint with compassion, to create with inspiration while simultaneously freezing time.  My role is to capture the darkest of hearts and the brightest of thoughts. Constantly walking that tight rope between reality and imagination.

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Donnalynne Lefever is a native to the Northern VA area. Always fond of the arts, she earned a BA degree at the University of Maryland and moved to New York City upon graduating in 1985. This is where she made costumes for Broadway for some famous musicals and ballet companies.

Wanting a little more out of life, when she moved back a few years later, she met an interior designer who inspired her in painting faux finishes and murals in which she currently has a business in the Metro DC area for over 25 years. To learn more skills to improve her painting, she took lots of classes in varying mediums.

She has been inspired by numerous artists including current Visionary artists Robert Venosa, Martina Hoffman, Alex Grey, Aloria Weaver and David Heskin all of whom she has taken classes or workshops with. She also took a course at the Vienna Visionary Art Academy in Vienna Austria learning to refine her skills and learn older techniques.

In her original art creations, her favorite materials to use are oils, acrylic, leafing, pen & ink, conte, mixed media and photography. The style in her work varies from visionary, abstract, representational, spiritual and figurative.

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Donnalynne
Lefever

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Brian
McElligott

Brian McElligott is a traditional painter and digital artist living in Burke, Virginia and working in the fantasy, science fiction genre. Originally from Schenectady, NY,  Brian's work is influenced by folk and fairy tales, myths, legends and artists like NC Wyeth, Peter Paul Rubens and the painters of the Hudson River School.  Brian’s goal is to create works that tell interesting and unusual stories and convey a convincing sense of
 drama, action, exploration and adventure.


 Brian is a graduate of the Tyler School of art and the University of Arizona and spent a year abroad studying painting in Rome, Italy where the works of artists like Caravaggio and Titian inspired him to create dramatic figurative paintings which he has exhibited in places like Philadelphia PA, Tucson Arizona, Washington DC and most recently at IX Arts Showcase in Reading PA.

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Kevin
Poorman

I grew up working in our family-owned artist supplies and picture framing business in Southern Indiana. I fondly recall the many artists who visited our store, generously sharing with me their precious time, creative talents and heartfelt passion for the visual arts.


So, given my youthful exposure to artwork and artists, you would think I went on to become an artist; to get a fine arts degree, right? Well, no. I went on to a 40-year Air Force career (20 years in uniform and 20 years as a civil servant), and to earn an undergraduate degree in forensic studies from Indiana University and a master of forensic science degree from The George Washington University. Throughout my Air Force years, and while my wife and I raised two wonderful boys, I dabbled in artwork as a relaxing, diversionary hobby. I’m mostly drawn to pen and ink, acrylic and enamels as my preferred mediums. As for styles, I consider myself to be a hopeless eclectic. In my early years, I was primarily interested in drawing landscapes and structures (mostly old barns) common to Southern Indiana. During my middle years, I shifted to surrealism and expressive abstract.

 

In the last few years, I’ve developed a passion for creating Americana-like renderings of historic towns and venues in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and, most recently, our new “snowbird” getaway location on Florida’s Space Coast.

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Josephine
(Josie)
Tullo

I was born and raised on Long Island, N.Y.  I graduated from Stony Brook University with a double major in Early infant-6th grade teaching degree and a degree in art. After marrying the love of my life,Tony, moving to Virginia and raising three sons I began a career as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. In 2013 I retired and picked up my paint brush again! 

My art captures the energy, color vibrancy and movement creating works reflecting ideas of landscapes, seascapes and floral arrangements. As an Abstract Expressionist, I paint primarily with alcohol based inks, but also enjoy acrylic paints and mixed media to create contemporary compositions with organic forms that are energetic and unique!

I invite you to come visit me at Art A La Carte Gallery in Occoquan, VA. where you might see me demonstrating inside the Gallery or on the porch if the weather's nice. Sign up for one of my classes and learn how to "paint without anxiety!"

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Donna D.
Turgeon

I am an Artist and Owner of the Art a la Carte Gallery, a retired Marine Ecologist and an avid Softball Player. I love the positivity of good art, a great wine, physical activity, creativity, and getting together with friends and family. Although I now live in The Villages, Florida, you can still find my artwork in our shop in Occoquan, VA. Shop originals and prints here on our gallery website and on my donnaturgeon.com website  If all else fails, and you can't find what you are looking for or you want to discuss a commissioned painting, e-mail me. By the way, I'm always thrilled to see you at one of my art shows or to have someone share a photo of how my art looks on their wall. 

My art is nearly always nature at its most detailed and intimate level. All my landscapes have strong elements of nature because I am a professionally trained ecologist. I seek to capture the soul of an animal, its behavior and essential habitat, especially a closeup of eyes, texture of fur, sun on a flower petal, a baby's tenderness and the softness of a bird's breast feathers.

I have been drawing in charcoal, ink, and pencils since a young child. Christmas presents from me were most often art, stitchery, or some other craft. Through the years, over 300 paintings followed in watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, and mixed media. I have over 150 print images and originals available for you.

Great Egret in Full Plumage, an acrylic painting on acid-free brown matboard, is a favorite of mine because of its color palette, the bird's intense gaze, and the unusual pose, like bridal finery I thought. I created the leafy "bower" to accentuate this beautiful creature.

Live in the DC Metropolitan area? Visit Art a la Carte Occoquan Gallery, VA and browse the work of our many artists. Check our online calendar to see when your favorite artist(s) will be working and perhaps attend a Featured Artist Reception with snacks and wine. Often we have giveaways, gift suggestions, artwork demonstrations, and holiday decorations. It's a happening place!

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Valerie 
Larson

After raising our family in Manassas and focusing on graphic design for steady work, I happily delved into painting and drawing again. I love working in watercolor and pen-and-ink for their immediacy and freshness. Favorite subjects include local landmarks, historic buildings, animals, and nature. I try to capture the beauty around me, and quality of light and how it reveals three-dimensionality is always a key element in my work.

My time is devoted largely to commissioned portraits of pets, homes, and other meaningful subjects such as wedding venues, favorite vacation spots, or where you met your partner. You’ll find examples of my work under the “Commissions” tab on my website. Please reach out if you have a special project in mind - I love collaborating on new ideas!

 

I’m often asked how pet and home portraits became my art niche. I’ve learned a lot about what matters in this life through profound loss, the most traumatic being the loss of our son to a reckless speeding driver many years ago. Our most valuable possessions in this life are our memories and relationships, and I love knowing that my artwork celebrates both.

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Deidre
Pistochini

Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Deidre Pistochini was educated at Pennsylvania State University, graduating in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine/ Biology.  Accepting an officer commission upon graduation, she served 22 years in the U. S. Navy from 1977-1999, retiring as a Commander.  After retiring from the military she worked in the private sector, running a small business for several years between 2002-2005.  She has always loved to travel and was inspired to take up art following a trip to Italy with a group of artists in the summer of 2014. She has exhibited her art in shows locally and throughout Virginia and Maryland and is a member of Potomac Valley Watercolorists, the Virginia Watercolor Society and the Baltimore Watercolor Society. 

She believes that getting outside is good for the soul and through her artwork, she tries to bring the outside in.  Her subject matter is nature, whether it be a traditional landscape or an animal or a flower painting.  As a certified Virginia Master Naturalist, she also brings that unique perspective to her artwork.

Living with paintings that pay tribute to the natural world reminds us to slow down and reconnect with nature and our world.  Her goal is to inspire those who see her work to look more closely at the world around them, to discover beauty in the most unexpected things and places. She continually strives to improve her art skills and experiment with new mediums to further enhance and refine her style.

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