Friday, October 28, 2016

Artist Night at the Opera - Lisa Willard

Lisa Willard is an illustrator and writer of children's stories. Her black and white illustrations of animals, children, athletes and more have been published by Academic Communication Associates. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Lisa lives in San Diego with her family and dog, Cooper. She likes sculpting, singing, and drinking masala tea. She has recently discovered the joy of drawing pigs.You can see more of her work here

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Artist Night at the Opera - Kathleen Kane-Murrell

Kathleen has had a life long interest in art, education and the creative process. She is an artist in residence at three elementary schools in San Diego. Her award winning children’s art program, Fine Artists™, has trained hundreds of art docents and brought classroom fine art to thousands of children for the past 20 years. Kathleen has studied techniques and art history through college level course work as well as private workshops and lectures. Her most influential artistic developments have occurred while studying with several San Diegan artists. With artist Carol Lindemulder, she studied the craft of oil paint and color theory. With artist Heather Pieters she studied portrait painting, and abstract art theory. With artist France Marie Haeger, she studied studio drawing. All three artists have been instrumental to Kathleen’s artistic growth. Her professional background includes corporate management and training. She has utilized her corporate experience to conduct art workshops which focus on the creative process. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from San Diego State University. Kathleen’s work with children in addition to her own art consistently reminds her of the joy and power of the creative process. She believes that individuals who continue to create and work in the arts are essential critical voices. The work of an artist must be nurtured and developed as any other discipline. Learn more about Kathleen here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Artist Night at the Opera - Eric Shanower

It was a bittersweet night last week when artist Eric Shanower, San Diego Opera's unofficial official cartoonist, came to live sketch Cinderella. It was his last time doing so, as he is relocating to Portland, OR. Luckily they have an opera company and here's a little fact nobody knows - we totally stole the "artist night at the opera" idea from them years and years ago. So here's to new adventures for Eric and a heartfelt "thank you" for the years and years of incredible drawings Eric has shared with us.

Eric Shanower is the Eisner Award-winning cartoonist of Age of Bronze, a graphic novel version of the Trojan War published by Image Comics. His illustrated version of the children's book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum will be out in time for Christmas from IDW. He's currently leaving San Diego for Portland, Oregon. Visit his website at

Monday, October 24, 2016

Artist Night at the Opera - Marjorie Taylor

After Marjorie Taylor earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Art, she embarked upon a career as an illustrator and graphic designer. She designed promotional, educational and advertising materials for a variety of clients. Working with various educational publishers, she designed and illustrated children’s books, and designed college textbooks.

Marjorie was inspired to return to her first love of painting after visiting many great museums while on a bicycling odyssey through Europe. She then embarked upon a fine art oil painting education by studying with a variety of artists, at which time she began to paint en plein air. Seeking to combine her love of painting with a passion for travel and exploration, her plein air painting adventures have taken her across North America, Central America, Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. She was invited to participate in national plein air painting competitions, had her award-winning work represented by a variety of galleries throughout the country, was juried into exhibitions at museums, universities and other venues. Her paintings are held in public and private collections throughout the USA, Mexico, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Japan.

Marjorie is currently searching for new opportunities to synthesize her years of experience as a designer, illustrator, oil painter, teacher, and world traveler. Her goal is to find ways to use her art to help make the world a better place. She is currently teaching art to children at a foster home in Tijuana and continues to paint, while writing and illustrating children’s books.

She is a member of the California Art Club and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Please visit her website at or follow taylorpaintings on Instagram.

Artist Night at the Opera - Meredith Gimbel

As a grub, Meridth McKean Gimbel could be found reading books during math class, writing stories during lunchtime, and drawing pictures all over her arms and legs (if she ran out of paper). She was pretty delighted when she found out you could do that sort of thing for a living. So she got a BFA in Illustration from BYU. While at college, she had the good fortune of interning with Brad Holland and Brett Helquist. In 2015 she received the SCBWI LA National Conference mentorship award. Meridth lives in Southern California with her husband, kids, and a paper eating corgi. You can learn more about her here

Friday, October 21, 2016

Artist Night at the Opera - Laurel Latto

This week we invited artist Laurel Latto to live sketch our Cinderella rehearsals. Born and raised in southern California, Laurel grew up in L.A. and settled in San Diego after attending college at UCSD where she majored in Biochemistry and minored in Film and Video. In 2001, she was awarded “Volunteer of the Month” by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for her volunteer work illustrating a teacher’s manual “Share the Care” for dental health awareness.  Recognizing her unique skill set she started, DonnaBellas (  Under her company, she has done private commission paintings, murals, storyboards, and online stores ( and

Laurel also pursued a career in clinical research, focusing on new treatments for cancer, but quickly recognized her art could help here as well. In 2007 she incorporated her non-profit, “DonnaBellas Angels” ( with the motto “Medicine Heals the Body, Art Heals the Soul”.  The non-profit features inspirational art for mental health wellness.  Through donations of art prints and art royalty use, DonnaBellas Angels has enjoyed international success.  Her art is featured in many prominent cancer clinics across the United States.  Laurel has started a new art project “Awareness Gallery” ( that features artistically styled awareness ribbons.

Laurel is now focusing on pursuing her career in children’s books as both an author and illustrator.  She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.