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2014 Artists


January 2014 Artist of the Month

While my art is of various subjects including smoke and landscapes, my passion is flowers. I am fascinated with the myriad shapes; the different colors and combinations of color; the textures; and the play of light and shadow on the curves and petals. I use close-ups to capture the delicacy, inner beauty, and intimate details that are not often seen by most casual observers.

In addition I look for different ways to enhance the natural beauty of flowers.  I create 2D acrylic and watercolor paintings and photograph natural patterns and textures (such as tree bark and aged stone) which I use as backgrounds in my work.  Also, I incorporate the work of 3D artisans, pottery, ceramics, and tile.

I hope you can imagine the scents and sounds from each image.  Enjoy!

February 2014 Gallery closed due to renovations


March 2014 Artist of the Month

Portrait artist, Andria Burchett, has a background in fashion merchandising, but since 1990 has been concentrating on her colored pencil and graphite creations. She has won numerous local and regional awards, and is an active member in the Colored Pencil Society of America.

Andie's highly acclaimed commission work can be found in both private and corporate collections. She continues to teach drawing and colored pencil classes from her home studio, and conducts workshops in surrounding galleries and art leagues. Beech Tree Studio art was featured.


April 2014 Artist of the Month

My name is Barb Benstein. I am a 22 year resident of Lake Zurich, Illinois. My love of art started at an early age and you could always find me sketching animals, especially horses. My Mom says I was born with a crayon in my hand!

Mostly self-taught, I specialize in pastel and oil paintings of people and pets, as well as homes and landscapes. After working as a graphic artist for 10 years, I began painting full-time in 1994.  Painting with pastels has always been my favorite medium. I love the vibrancy of the colors and the richness of the texture when applied to sand paper. I also love working in oil as well.

There is a story behind every commissioned piece I do. Many times I find myself “caught up in the moment” when working on a painting. I think about why my client wants this painting done and put those emotions into the painting.

When I complete a portrait and show it to my client for the first time, the emotional reaction I get tells me I’ve done my job well. That is what I love about painting the most.


May 2014 Artist of the Month

My watercolor paintings are inspired by places that I have visited and the beauty that I find in the area that I live. Being an artist has trained me to see beauty and interest in my everyday surroundings. I look for a strong design pattern of lights and darks and will sometimes create a painting from a very small portion of a photo that I have taken.

I enjoy creating art and although I do it for myself, it is a great source of pride and satisfaction when it is appreciated by others.  It is the highest compliment to be asked how I achieved certain effects in my paintings.

I have studied with many nationally-known professional artists for over 20 years. I continue my studies today. There is always more to learn.


June 2014 Artist of the Month

Lisa Vargo lives with her husband John of 19 years, three kids, three cats, one dog and two fish in Batavia Illinois. Lisa grew up in Lombard, Illinois and has always enjoyed taking pictures. In May of 2010, she bought her first “nice” camera and became more intentional with taking pictures. The camera often sits on her lap as she drives wherever she goes, whether it is going to the grocery store or on a long trip the camera is always close at hand.

Close friends and family strongly encouraged Lisa to keep pursuing her “eye” when Lisa would share a picture that she took with them.
In February of 2012, LV Photography is now a registered business in the State of Illinois, and Lisa has sold more than 3000 photos on blank note cards and quite a few canvas and framed enlargements (as large as 24 x 36). Lisa has sold over 90 flip albums containing 20 pictures with verses.

For the past 13 years, Lisa has held the Vice President position of her husband’s company Architectural Millwork. Prior to that, she worked in the Commercial Real Estate Industry for 10 years. Lisa has also served on the leadership team in Women’s Ministry at her church in Geneva Illinois for the past eight years.


July 2014 Artist of the Month


August 2014 Artist of the Month

Mike Morgan has called St. Charles his hometown since 1969 and has attended Wildrose Elementary School, Shelby Elementary School, Haines Junior High School and St. Charles High School (class of ’80) before completing his formal education at Indiana University. 

Mike works as a freelance media producer, creating training videos and doing meeting support primarily for Arthur Andersen, Accenture, the Q Center, Sears and Allstate.  Mike has been shooting video for the past 30 years as part of his career.  He worked as a cameraman and lighting specialist for the first six years of his career, learning much about camera angles and lighting during this time.  In addition to corporate work, in the early 1990s, Mike was able to work as a cameraman for several Chicago sports teams, such as the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Fire. 

Photography became a hobby of Mike’s a long time ago, though it intensified in 2012 as the current state of the art video cameras started to incorporate photographic lenses.  Mike began learning more about photography as part of an effort to increase his knowledge regarding how to correctly use lenses and to select the correct exposures for video training-related efforts.  He enjoyed photography so much that he now considers it to be a full-time hobby and has been hired for photographic efforts in the past as well.  Mike will have several photos included in an upcoming book about the band The Dandy Warhols.  His photos of The Dandy Warhols have appeared on their website as well as newspapers and other publications.

Mike also enjoys taking photos of nature and has done much work photographing dessert items. 

Mike has been a music enthusiast throughout his lifetime and has enjoyed going to concerts to see his favorite musicians.  After becoming frustrated with several failed attempts to take good photos at concerts, Mike began to take the challenge more seriously.  He doesn’t use an expensive camera to take the photos, but does feel that a good, low light lens is essential to take photos in the darkened arenas and clubs where many bands play.


September 2014 Artist of the Month

Mr. Oak uses elements of nature in their most bare and basic forms to create patterns and images that are beautiful in their simplicity. Mr. Oak is a retired architect.


October and November 2014 Artist of the Month

A native Chicagoan, Bert Hoddinott grew up as a typical, ordinary young man in America’s heartland. Ordinary, that is, until the day the world discovered he had an extraordinary talent — an innate ability to artistically wield pencil, pen or paintbrush.

After high school, Bert chose to pursue a Liberal Arts education at the college of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He left college early to enter the Army and served his country in Japan for two years. Upon leaving the service, Bert entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he spent four years majoring in Fine Arts and Advertising, the last two on full scholarship. While a student, Bert began his fledgling advertising career as an illustrator at the Hoover/Kern studio in Chicago. It wasn’t long before Bert’s portfolio of work attracted attention. He was soon hired by Foote, Cone & Belding, one of the leading advertising agency networks in the world.

A talented art director and engaging presenter, Bert was awarded numerous industry awards and promotions throughout his career. But it was his propensity for coming up with that unexpected visual element that made him truly legendary. A rare talent that caused copywriters to be in a never-ending line outside his office, waiting for their pedestrian words to be majestically elevated by a “Hoddinott” layout or storyboard.

In retrospect, long hours at the agency prevented Bert from devoting more time to his avocation of painting. In fact, the impressive array of pictures on the following pages makes one wonder where the real genius of Bert Hoddinott might really have been residing all these years.

It was Bert's wife, Barbara, who championed the idea for presenting his work in book form. As Barbara is wont to say, “I’ve had Bert and his wonderful paintings all to myself for ever so long. I decided it was time to share the two loves of my life with the rest of the world.”

An ever-youthful 80, Bert Hoddinott continues to pursue his passion in the bucolic village of St. Charles, IL. He also enjoys storytelling, woodworking and model trains.


December 2014 Artist of the Month

Siew Lian Lim was born in Malaysia and currently resides in Chicago, IL, USA. In addition to being an artist, she is also a Buddhist nun, Rev. Kongxin. She has earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Northern Illinois University, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Studio Art from Northeastern Illinois University, and a seven year certificate in Buddhist Philosophy, Psychology, and practice from  Malaysian Buddhist Institute. She has applied her studies by providing crisis intervention counseling, meditation instruction, spiritual guidance; she has traveled light-heartedly between East and West sharing practice together and creating artwork that expresses spirituality in human terms, Humanistic Spirituality.