Meet Chattanooga’s Finest Artist-Educators

Lesley Ann Austin was born and raised in Scotland. She has two degrees in art, a BFA in Design and Printed Textiles from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Scotland and an MFA in Fashion and Textiles from Birmingham Polytechnic in England. She won several student awards while she was in college. Upon graduation, she fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a wallpaper and fabric designer at Crowson Fabrics in England. After moving to the United States, Lesley became the lead fabric designer for York Wallcoverings. Lesley has lived in Chattanooga since 1993. She has taught art classes at UTC and she continues to teach art to homeschoolers, in her studio and at Art Creations.Lesley also teaches our Chalk Painting Workshop, and summer art camps for kids. Her exhibitions feature collections of paper batiks and mixed media arts, influenced by her travels in Europe, India and Africa. An avid designer, Lesley enjoys helping her friends decorate their homes. Lesley is happily married and has four sons. She is an active member of Silverdale Baptist Church, where she serves the Lord on the banner ministry.
Lesley Ann Austin
Home School Instructor

Mia Hansford studied Fine Art at Wheaton College, Parsons School of Design, The University of Kentucky and The New York Studio School. She has a B.A. in Teaching Literature from Eastern Kentucky University. Her visual art can be found in the collection at Wheaton College, in private collections across the country. I am a lifelong artists and active educator and advocate for the visual and literary arts. My commitments have taken me from being a guest lecturer at NYU Tisch School of the Arts while living and working as an artist and poet in New York to working for and with other artists like Ron Bladen, Jackie Brookner, performers Carolee Schneeman, Pat Oleszko, and composer Lawrence Butch Morris, among others. In my home state of Kentucky, I worked through the Watershed Arts Alliance to bring the arts to both home school and public school students. I have taught life drawing in the community college setting, as well as creative writing and language arts in Hamilton County as a certified, highly qualified teacher of English. Here in Chattanooga I continue my practice of poetry and visual art. I am elated to be once again working as a teaching artist with Full Circle Tap, and to be now sharing my experience with artists taking classes at Art Creations in Chattanoog
Mia Hansford
Painting since I was 5, I received special inspiration in 1985 from artists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was featured with my hospital wall mural in the artists section of Santa Fe’s weekly arts and entertainment magazine Pasatiempo April 1991. The mural depicted the cultural life in the Espanola Valley on three waiting room walls in Espanola General Hospital. In 1993, I found my home in Tennessee and have been teaching groups and individuals in my studio, which is a remodeled chicken coup! I created and taught five beginner art classes in Chattanooga and Dunlap TN: drawing, watercolor paints and techniques, textures for watercolors, still life painting, and composition. I have also developed and taught Encaustic Classes at Reflections Gallery in Chattanooga. I have learned wonderful techniques in workshops with: Acrylics, by Sandra Paynter Washburn; Pastels, by Paula Ford; Collage, by Ann Bagby; Watercolor, by Cheng-Khee Chee; Plein Air oil, by Cape School of Art, Provincetown, Mass, by Hilda Neily; Encaustics on Amelia Island by Linda Womack- Robertson; Oil Landscape and Still Life, by Christopher Groves;and Transparent Oils by Dreama Tolle Perry. I am a member of Mountain Art Guild Inc. on Signal Mountain, and Tennessee Watercolor society. I am presently the Historian Civic Arts League Inc. in Chattanooga. Painting is fun, stress releasing, and taps into our creative mind. For me, creativity is the very essence of God and truly let’s me feel Love. I have great passion for art and enjoy guiding others into finding their creative side through the joy of painting.
Lynne A. Mayer
Lesley Miller graduated from Appalachian State University in 2008 with two Bachelor’s degrees – Early Child Education (Birth-Kindergarten) and Elementary Education (Kindergarten-6th Grade). She completed her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction (Kindergarten – 12th Grade) at Tusculum College and her Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) at Lincoln Memorial University with a degree and license in School Administration. Lesley spent several years working in preschool classrooms and teaching preschool art at Jordan Hall Art Center in Cary, North Carolina. In 2008, she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and took a full time position teaching elementary and middle school with Knox County Schools. Lesley and her family relocated to Chattanooga this spring. Lesley believes that early art education is about experience and exploration. All children should get an opportunity to explore a variety of materials and learn about the process of making art. She believes that children’s literature makes a great starting point for shared art experiences in the home and in the classroom. Lesley regularly scrapbooks and is currently studying hand lettering in her own creative endeavors.
Lesley Miller
Cleveland, Tennessee native, Jane Newman, experiences joy in re-creation moments in time with brush and paint! She teaches traditional drawing and painting classes for adults, teens and children at Chattanooga’s finest art supply store, Art Creations. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Memphis State University in 1987 and past careers as an Art Director/Designer with advertising agencies in Memphis and Nashville equipped her with tools to see the subjects she paints with a graphic eye for color and composition. She has been commissioned by several local and regional art enthusiasts, in addition to being represented by Chattanooga’s Gallery 1401 in 2015. She has also shared pieces as fundraising for Chattanooga Area Non-Profit organizations. Jane shares her love of painting with area children by volunteering with local after-school programs including the Bethlehem Center and Christ united Methodist Church. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Ooltewah, TN and enjoy time spent with their children and family.
Jane Newman
Margaret Park was born in the hills of West Virginia and moved to Chicago when she was eight. Art has been ever present in her life. In grade school she entered The Chicago Tribune “art” contest and won a Little Golden Book. In high school, her art instructor entered one of her paintings in a youth competition at The Chicago Art Institute. After high school graduation she attended American Academy of Art in Chicago. She also has Visual Art Certificates from the University of Chicago, The Art House in Chicago, and has participated in the prestigious Center Program at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. Acting as chairperson of the Environment Committee for her church, she applied her talent to fabric, poster board and church interior decoration. She does both abstract and representational paintings and sometimes paintings that are some of both using whichever medium seems appropriate at the moment. She has exhibited in Chicago galleries and businesses and in the suburbs and in New York. Three months ago, she and her husband moved to Chattanooga where she is currently exhibiting at Reflections Gallery on Lee Highway and beginning to get involved with the local art community. She also has a presents online where she maintains two web pages, exhibits on multiple online galleries, writes a newsletter, as markets on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Margaret Park
Victoria Pearmain was born in Massachusetts and studied art at the DeCordova Museum School in Lincoln, MA from 1979 – 1984. She also studied painting at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and received a BFA in 1988. In 1990 Victoria moved to Georgia with her husband and has lived and worked in the Chattanooga area since then. Victoria has taught painting from photographs at the Art House at Warner park as well as working with many individual students. She is a landscape painter and displays her work in galleries in the area. I like to work with each individual to assist them in progressing in the way that they wish to learn. Every student is different and has a unique view that can be expressed through painting.
Victoria Pearman
Sandra Paynter Washburn is a professional artist and art educator who maintains a studio in the Chattanooga area. Sandra has a BFA in art education from the University or North Carolina at Greensboro, where her studio concentrations were painting and fibers. Her studio work has evolved to include acrylic painting, mixed media on canvas and paper, metalsmithing in silver, copper and other metals, and 2-D and 3-D assemblages. Her painting and experimental watermedia workshops are very popular. She has taught for the Tennessee Watercolor Society, Knox County Art Teachers Association, Arrowmont School, Tennessee Artists Association of Knoxville, Tennessee Art League of Nashville, Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Association of Visual Artists, among others. Her work and working methods have been featured in The Artists’ Magazine. Sandy has earned signature memberships in National Watercolor Society, Southern Watercolor Society and Tennessee Watercolor Society and is also a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Visit Sandy’s website to view her work
Sandra Paynter Washburn
Art has always been a part of my life. It defined me in grammar school. It also got me into trouble on occasion. In high school I won first place in the State of Georgia Art Competition for the Nazarine Church. I have two Associate Degrees in Graphic Design from Chattanooga State Community College. The first degree I received in 1980. I won first place for the Chattanooga State Graphic Design Award in 1979. I went on to work as an Illustrator and Graphic Designer at The Church of God Publishing House in Cleveland, Tennesse. I did illustrations and layouts there for the Primary Children’s Sunday School Department. I was one of the people that designed those teaching posters, flannel graphs, books and such that one sees in children’s Sunday school. I then chose to become a stay at home mom for a number of years and raise a family. Since 1999 I have also worked part-time as a Substitute Teacher for both Walker and Catoosa Counties. I went back to school a few years ago and received my second degree in Graphic Design in 2016. I was an honer student, and I currently belong to the National Honor Society. During that time, and since graduation, I have sold several pieces of my art in different mediums to personal clients. I am currently designing a logo for another client. It is my dream to become an Illustrator for book covers, magazines, adult coloring books, and children’s books. I am currently working towards this goal. However, I also enjoy teaching art to others. I work equally well in a number of mediums. I believe in having fun with art, and in expressing one’s inner self through creativity. I enjoy exploring both old methods and new techniques in order to create artistic expression.
Karen Reader
I was born and raised in Chicago and first began to display an interest in the creative arts while in elementary school. My parents, recognizing a talent, enrolled me in three years of weekly oil painting classes with Jack Simmerling, the accomplished Chicago landmark water colorist. Majoring in art during high school, I was awarded an Illinois State Scholastic Fine Arts Award. Following high school graduation I continued oil painting, while pursuing a career in the computer field. From 1990 to 1997, I earned a BFA in Printmaking and an MA in Contemporary Art History at the State University of New York at Buffalo. My studying Modern Art History and further applying that knowledge in creating art, with conventional and non-conventional materials was stimulating and enjoyable, but it left me feeling unfulfilled and unchallenged as an artist. In less than five years I was provided an opportunity to twice visit Italy and see its magnificent art collection. The genesis of this esthetic experience instilled in me a quest not only to return to Traditional Painting, but also to actively seek out the archival methods and materials used by the Old Masters and apply them to my own creative expression. In so doing, I’ve discovered my creative voice. With the completion of my MA, I opened my first studio, which has provided me with years of creative challenges and accomplishments. My creative voice has always been inspired by the techniques and methods of the Classical Master Artists. Much of what I’ve learned about their methods is self-taught. My work has been published in many publications, most notably American Art Collector Magazine (2010 and 2013), as well as having exhibited in numerous national juried shows. I give painting workshops, demos and teach private instruction in the old oil painting methods known as Indirect Oil Painting.
Susan Budash