Art Plus Academy - Meet our Art Teachers

Founded in 2008 by Austin artist Monica Araoz, Art Plus Academy is dedicated to meaningfully improving students drawing and painting skills. We offer classes and summer camps for children as young as four years old, teens and adults.

In Art Plus Academy, we believe drawing and painting are two important skills which support the creative and innovative thought process. Helping art students to learn how to "see" beyond the obvious, appreciate subtle differences in shade or color and dare to experiment are just a few examples of what we are passionate about.

Monica Araoz

Founder & CEO

I am an active artist in Austin TX. You can see my work at my website or at any of the galleries that represent me. I started teaching in 2008 following a request by a close friend for art instruction. The experience helped me discover my grand passion for teaching and marked me forever. From that first class with a few students, word of mouth put me in the position to open this academy in 2009 and in 2013, my second location in Cedar Park. I believe that everyone can learn to draw and I believe I can teach you.

Marcia Breternitz

Art Teacher

As an Artist and Art Teacher with international experience, I have been drawing and painting for more than 20 years at the Bauhaus and SENAC Art Schools in Brazil. In 1998, I moved with my family to Austin, Texas, and soon started making portraits and participating in Art events, including an exhibition for Latin week at Motorola. I also became a member artist of the famous La Villita Gallery in San Antonio. I taught Face Drawing and Fashion Design Art for The University of Texas Informal Classes program and have illustrated a children's book published in Brazil. I enjoy teaching art to children and adults because I believe one of the best way to see and understand the world is by expressing ourselves through drawing and art.

Rosemarie Good

BFA in Surface Pattern Design

I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania where I started taking art lessons as a young child. During high school and college, I was an art instructor for all ages at the very same studio where I began. I graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Surface Pattern Design. For seven years following, I worked designing and styling wallpaper collections for both of the two largest and oldest companies in the US. After moving to Austin in 2006, I realized that, while I loved many aspects of working in a design studio, my real passion was in helping to teach and inspire both young and old on their creative paths. I have been blessed with many wonderful mentors and teachers who have helped me to continually add to my creative toolbox. I consider it a joy and a privilege to be able to help pass on that knowledge and encourage others in their creative adventures.

Marlene Llanes

M.F.A. in Illustration

I am an artist and illustrator. I have an MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a bachelors in Graphic Design from Universidad Vasco de Quiroga. I have worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for newspapers, printing companies and advertising agencies. I have also taught bilingual classes as well as art. I have participated in numerous exhibits and festivals, mostly in Texas and Mexico. My first children's book "Paty y los Payasos" was published in 2002 by Los Libros de El Nacional in Venezuela.

Anna Allen

BFA Art Education

I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was lucky enough to have parents that always encouraged me to follow my passion for art. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University where I received my BFA in art education. VCU is the number one public art school and it was there that I learned a multitude of skills from formal drawing, to ceramics, to woodwork. I have teaching experience in a wide range of schools; I have even taught in a public school in Costa Rica. It is my belief that everyone can be an artist if given the tools and the confidence. I have worked with many students who went from drawing smiley faces to high skill portraits in just one session. I love teaching art and I can't wait to meet my new students here at Art + Academy!

Morgan Williamson

M.A. Art Education

I grew up in Austin and have always had a passion for creating. I believe art is a creative area of life that people should feel excited to explore and I find joy in helping people develop their artistic skills. I graduated from Abilene Christian University with a BFA in Studio Art where I discovered an enthusiasm for teaching. I went on to receive a Masters in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin. There, I learned practical ways to apply different teaching methods to fit the needs of the student. After teaching at Art Plus Academy for 2 years, I can say that I have found a place that is fulfilling to me professionally and creatively. I am excited to be a part of this community and look forward to contributing to the development of my students’ art.

Val Mayerik

B.A Illustration

Val Mayerik has been a successful commercial illustrator for forty years and has worked in all fields of illustration from advertising to comic books to film pre-production. He attended Youngstown State University in Ohio majoring in art and theater. Val then moved on to New York City to work for Marvel Comics and to establish himself as an illustrator. Val worked for Marvel Comics for more than twenty years working on Conan the Barbarian, Spiderman and was co-creator of Howard the Duck. He then moved on to advertising working as a storyboard and concept artist for many large agencies such as Wieden and Kennedy, Liquid, McCann Ericson to name a few. His clients have included Nike, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Miller Beer, Sony, Southern Comfort, New Zealand Travel, Coor's, Heineken, and Delta airlines. He worked for Modern Ciricullum Press doing educational and historical illustration for high school text books. In the past ten years he has turned his attention to gallery work focusing mostly on the Western Art genre. Val has always had an interest in teaching ever since he left NYC in the 80's. He has given presentations at the Cleveland institute of Art, the Art Institute os Portland and the Art Institute of Austin. He has conducted panels and workshops in comic book illustration and pictorial storytelling at various comic book conventions and taught illustration at the Pratt school of Art ( not associated with the Pratt Inst. in Brooklyn) inCleveland Ohio. His desire to teach stems from what he feels was sorely lacking in his own early college art education. He contends, "I was never given the basics in drawing and painting in college. I was lucky enough to go on to New York and learn from other working professionals but most students will not have that opportunity so I'd like to help them out and hopefully steer them in a productive direction". Val is also an avid horseman and polo player.

Erin Johnston

BFA Drawing and Painting

While receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from the University of Southern Mississippi, I quickly realized that learning how to draw was undoubtedly about learning how to see the intimate details of our surroundings. As a two-time recipient of the Foundation Art Scholarship Award, I have worked diligently to develop a purposeful insight to understanding the concepts of drawing and design. Being able to draw is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It helps you to appreciate and value so many wonders that exist around us. As children, we innately experience art with such a pure and honest approach. I am excited to help foster these elements as we continue to harvest the vitality of the human spirit.

Ann Miller

BFA focus in drawing and paper making

As a native Austinite and avid art enthusiast, I've had an obsession with all things creative since before I could remember! I love all forms and media of artmaking including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and many others. I acquired my BFA with honors from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi with a focus in drawing and papermaking, and since then I've been instructing and tutoring young artists in the Austin area. I love nothing more than showing others their unlocked inner creativity through art-making, as there's no better feeling than seeing the light in someone's eyes when they've learned to draw. That passion and fire is what keeps me working as an artist and provides the drive to show others young and old their own creative potential.

Danny Grant

BFA in Illustration

Danny Grant (b. 1979) was born and raised in Garland, TX. He received his BFA in illustration from the Academy of Art University in 2003. At the Academy, he was most influenced by instructors Lee Ballard and Kazuhiko Sano for their superb draftsmanship and fine art approach to illustration. Upon graduating, he relentlessly sought to improve his skills in drawing and painting. In 2006, Danny moved to New York City to study with Jacob Collins at his Water Street Atelier. In 2008 his studies continued with Mr. Collins at the Grand Central Academy. There, he enjoyed a rigorous curriculum of cast drawing and painting, figure drawing and painting, and still life painting in the tradition of the European ateliers of the mid to late 19th century. Danny currently lives in Austin, TX where he paints and teaches drawing and painting. He is represented by Quent Cordair Fine Art in Napa, CA.

Niki Amoros

B.A in Art History

I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. My passion led me to attain a degree in Art History from Colorado State University. I enjoy working with multiple mediums including; graphite, charcoal, acrylic, watercolor, photography and digital design. I often get to combine my loves of art and animals by creating pet portraits for clients. I believes that the ability to draw is not a talent but a pursued interest and can be taught to anyone willing to learn. I have taught children and adult classes for the past 4 years and love seeing my students’ confidence grow each time they practice.

Rachel Sellars

B.F.A in Studio Art

After getting a B.F.A from Southwestern University with a focus in painting, I went on to Texas State University where I obtained my Teaching Certification in art. Since then I have taught privately, in addition to teaching K-12 in public school, while still pursuing my own art. I have exhibited my art around Texas in solo and group shows since 2002, throughout various galleries, restaurants, theaters and other places. I have experience in many different mediums, but have primarily focused on the mediums used in drawing and painting. It was while I was being taught how to draw and paint when I was young that I first realized my path lay in teaching art, in passing on what I had learned so that I could help others find the joy and expression that comes with creating art, and be successful in doing so.

Megan Haas

BFA in Fine Arts

I studied at Shepherd University and obtained my BFA in Fine Art as well as my BA in Art Education K-12. After graduation, I pursued my Master’s Degree in Painting at Indiana State University where I was awarded Graduate Assistant positions. I am currently a full-time art teacher at Manor Middle School and have taught college classes in Drawing, Color Theory, and Art History at Indiana State University and Ivy Tech Community College. My specialty is drawing and painting. I enjoy teaching art to students of all ages and skill levels, and I love the energy kids bring to their art!

Cathleen Ramos

BFA Studio Art

I am an Artist and an Art Teacher. I have always loved art and teaching, so it only made sense to go back to school after raising my children and get a degree in Art with certification to teach. I graduated in 2013 from Texas State University. My favorites are drawing and painting. This has turned out to be my passion. I can’t get enough of it. Teaching has great rewards and I truly love to see the children grow in their abilities. My philosophy of teaching art is that “we all can engage in art, if we are taught certain skills and attitudes and ways of perceiving.” Once a child is taught how to communicate visually, a whole new method of learning about themselves and the world is available. The idea that form and design relies on how well the compositional qualities that make up a work are put together. These are called the elements and principles of design. Tom Anderson stated “If we think of artistic activity as communication, creating an analogy with written communication, we can think of the elements as words and the principles as sentences or the way that words are put together. In the end, artistic style is compositional choices made by the artist—the ways in which she or he combines elements using principles of design”

Nora Blevins

BFA in Art Education

I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with my Bachelors in art education in 2010. My concentration was in painting and drawing, as well as fiber arts. I have taught middle school art for the past 7 school years. I come from a family of skilled teachers and artists who nurtured my passion and talents. I decided to pursue a career in education because it combined my two passions, art and teaching. I enjoy being in the classroom and helping my students learn and refine their skills as artists.

Luz Marie Iturbe

B.A. in Design and painting

I discovered my passion for art during my youth when the only areas of school I was attracted to were areas that involved some kind of art. With this in mind, I decided to continue with and explore this passion. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Design from the “Universidad Iberoamericana” in Mexico City and studied painting at “Isabel Lenero” school of Arts. I moved to Austin, Texas eight years ago and was able to take picture book workshop in order to illustrate professionally. I have been experimenting with several materials and techniques, and strongly believe that no matter how skilled we become, with practice, there is always room for improvement. I worked as docent 4 years as a docent at the Blanton Museum of Arts, and currently working as a freelance artist and designer besides teaching art.

Emma Florence

BFA in Studio Arts

I graduated in Dec 2016 from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts with a focus in Ceramics. At Southwestern University I studied Figure Drawing, Figurative Sculpture, Abstract Painting, Representational Painting, Ceramic Hand Forming, Ceramic Wheel Forming and Photography.  I have been teaching kids the last 6 years in a different area than art. I am exited that I have the opportunity to combine my passion for art and teaching this time at Art + Academy. I look forward to teaching every child in my class to draw and paint.

Sakura Stephens

BFA in Art Education

I received my BFA in art education from the University of Georgia with a concentration in drawing, painting and ceramics. Before moving to Austin in 2017 to pursue my masters degree in art education, I was a full time art teacher for three years. I have also worked in a variety of settings and age groups both in the states and abroad, which has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the differences that make all of my students so unique. The famous quote by Pabo Picasso, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up", is an accurate reflection of my teaching philosophy. I love encouraging students of all ages to embrace their own distinct style whether it be abstraction or hyperrealism, and my purpose as a teacher is to nurture their passion and creativity in expressing themselves. In addition to teaching, I am a practicing potter and enjoy collaborating with artists and showing my work in local shows.