Meet Our Artists

Annastaysia Savage was born and raised in Maryland and now calls the Connecticut shore her home. Her artistic influences range from Edward Gorey, to Gustav Klimt and from Dr. Suess to Wassilly Kandinsky. Being very sensitive to her environment and surroundings, she tends to draw inspiration from there and her life experiences. She is self-taught and formally trained as an artist, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Art Education from Arizona State University and is currently working towards her Masters of Fine Arts. Annastaysia chooses to work mostly as a painter with watercolors and acrylics. You may also find her painting with inks or a combination of all three. It is in these realms where she finds the most freedom to express herself. There are no boundaries for Annastaysia when it comes to art processes and creativity. Her works of art have sold all across the United States as well as internationally, graced the cover of magazines and won competitions. Currently you can find Annastaysia creating in her home studio, teaching art in the public and private sectors.

Dina Marie Pratt is a pet artist inspired by the passion she has for animals. She has been drawing and painting since she was a child and is a full time artist with over twenty five years painting experience. She is passionate about her art and all animals. Dina illustrated a children's book and is currently illustrating her own whimsical book of Labrador Retrievers inspired by her beloved dog 'Mario. Dina leads pet portrait classes and paint parties where she shares her talent with others and helps people find their creativity. Dina is self taught and encourages others to develop their own style and make their paintings unique if they desire. Dina also enjoys painting nautical seascapes and wildlife.

When she isn't painting Dina enjoys listening to music and spending time with her dog Corri, and her friends and family. Dina volunteers her time and some proceeds to animal rescues and other charities.

Erin Nichols is a well-rounded artist from Philadelphia with a big heart and a good sense of humor. A designer, creative entrepreneur, avid tabletop game enthusiast and lover of cartoons. She enjoys bold colors, and brush strokes in her paintings that make interesting patterns and visual illusions. Outgoing and friendly, she looks forward to meeting new friends, and sharing new experiences

Jody Lynn is a multimedia artist, specializing in watercolor and acrylic. She has studied with masters in watercolor, oils, acrylics, and pastels. Jody has been teaching art and floral design locally for over twenty years and her open, approachable style is appreciated by adults and children alike. Although Jody has studied the methods of Marc Massaro, Lou Bonamarte, and Tom Lynch, among others, she has developed her own techniques and has mastered them through her joy of teaching.

Jody is a native of Old Saybrook and lifelong resident of the Connecticut shoreline. Growing up on the Connecticut River, Jody considers herself a "river rat", one of the children who habitually played and explored along the river's edge. Her home and studio are now at Weeping Cherry Farm & Studio in Killingworth.

Katie Freeman is an artist of many mediums. She is currently an assistant to a master glassblower in Mystic, Connecticut, and is working to expand on her own glassblowing skills. She is consistently working on knitting, soap making, painting and a large variety of other artistic ventures.  

Katie grew up in East Lyme, Connecticut, which gave her a solid foundation and love for all things art. She graduated from SCSU with a Bachelors in Art Education, but could not give up the irresistible pull of studio arts. Katie is extremely passionate and energetic. She enjoys looking for sea glass while walking on the beach, relaxing at home, and creating art.

Kristen Thorton is a graduate of Uconn,  with a BFA and concentration in graphics and Illustration. She has over 20 years of experience teaching art to pre-k and up as a classroom artist, art resident, museum educator, and special needs enrichment artist. Along with teaching, Kristen is a muralist in residential, business, and community settings. Although using acrylics and house paint is her primary medium for murals, she has experience in a wide range of art forms from weaving and jewelry making to print making and sculpture. Her favorite project is to create faery houses for the Florence Griswold’s Wee Faery Exhibit. Using a variety of materials from nature and sculpting techniques help inspire her creativity for this annual exhibit.

Mary Jo Helchowski has known she wanted to be an artist since preschool. Everything she’s done has served as an inspiration for her and her work. She created bug and fairy houses as a toddler, was awarded best artist in the school as a 5th grader, and continued her passion all the way up through high school.  

Helchowski’s dreams have been consistent across her life.  She is currently working towards a BFA in illustration at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, a college of the University of New Haven, where she continues working towards her dream of publishing a children’s book.  She also loves teaching others, children and adults, and hopes to spread joy through art.

Helchowski lives with her family in Essex CT. 

Rose LaFleur is best known for intricate line work incorporated with moving color. Her works vary from realism to abstract and combine many mediums: ink, colored pencil, graphite, acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastels, spray paint and glass.

The atmosphere of beaches, forests and fields resonate in the movement of her art.  She finds inspiration in anything ranging from the ordinary, to the deepest parts of her memory.   Marc Chagall said it best, “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.”