At Penelope Fox Art Studio we believe that art is for everyone. Even if you’ve never held a paintbrush or drawing pencil, we encourage you to dive into the artistic process–and we provide classes to help you do just that. People young and old enjoy our many art and craft classes, all focused on the basics for beginners in a variety of mediums.
Our teachers are professional artists and art educators who are invested in providing quality classes that produce noticeable results. If you’re a working artist, our classes can help you sharpen your skills and explore more advanced techniques. Whether you want the camaraderie of a classroom environment or prefer one-on-one instruction, we can provide the art instruction you’re looking for.
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PENELOPE FOX – JINA DIEROLF
Who is Penelope Fox and have you seen her?
Yes, I am she.
A Little About Me – I am mainly a self-taught artist, drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I was raised north of Philadelphia in Bristol, Pennsylvania but wanted to see more of the world. After living up and down the east coast, traveling to Europe and Central America, I settled in Southern California where I studied design and earned a degree in Graphic Arts before moving back to the East coast and traveling some more.
From 2002 to 2005, I worked in web design building progressive websites for several commercial companies. Not fulfilled; I switched my focus to being a freelance artist. Between the years of 2003 and 2012, I worked with several independent and major label bands, designing album covers, advertisements, and editing video promos. I participated in and held solo art exhibits in Philadelphia Pennsylvania; Belmar and Hoboken, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; Dallas, Texas and New York, New York under the artist name Penelope Fox. In early 2013, on the suggestion of my sister Jaimi, I opened my personal studio to teach art to kids, and that is how Penelope Fox Art Studio was born! Sisters can sometimes see your heart better than you can feel it. She helped me realize my passion for helping kids find their creative side. Building Penelope Fox Art Studio, working with a staff that is not only talented artists but also amazing people and helping our students learn their capabilities while having fun has been the greatest gift and ride ever.
Meet John Danks…more than a Colored Pencil artist. Bright eyed and always ready to receive a smile as well as give a smile, John Danks makes people feel comfortable at “hello.” John is an extraordinary addition to the staff of the Penelope Fox Art Studio. Not only is his work simply amazing, but he shares his skills and techniques with our students of all levels with ease, kindness, and simple, direct language. Color Pencil Magazine recognized John’s work and his more than 30 years experience in their “Best Of” Hidden Treasures picks for their 2016 edition. He is a skilled art coach and patient with beginners. Aware of his talent and passion, he trained and was mentored early in life by Alma Hoyle from England.
He continued his studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia where he won numerous public and private commissions. He remembers with great fondness his internship with the Hal Taylor’s Philadelphia Marionette Theater in the 1980’s. His portraits are in private collections along the eastern seaboard of the US and abroad.
Currently instructing the Colored Pencil Classes here at Penelope Fox Art Studio. With dedication and of course his friendly smile, John has been facilitating the Art Cart at Saint Christopher’s Hospital for the past 6 years. The Art Cart is an activity cart for the children admitted into the hospital to help ease the stress of illness. John also works with individuals in recovery using art therapy techniques.
“I have always loved the art of the portrait.”
CAROLYN BRUNO HAVRILLA
Carolyn Bruno Havrilla has been sharing her artistic insights with students of all ages from pre-K to adult for more than 25 years. The Penelope Fox Art Studio values her unique classroom style that allows her to teach multi-age and multi-level students at the same time. Her energy and insight introduces students to their personal creativity. She will ask you about your art ideal to help you develop a style uniquely your own. Carolyn is a Bucks County (PA) Impressionist by birth, training, and tradition. As a youth, she trained privately under the noted watercolorist Judy Wagner, AWS, formerly of Bucks County. Carolyn has a BA in Studio Art from Marymount College and a Fine Art diploma from the Pietro Vannucci Academia di belli Arte, Italy. This faith-filled artist will help you capture and celebrate the beauty of nature through art.
As a tribute to her beloved friend the nationally recognized “Pennsylvania School” artist, Evelyn Faherty (1919-2015) Carolyn now also paints in oil. The pair spent more than 15 years painting side-by-side, Faherty in oil and Havrilla in watercolor. Havrilla treasures these intimate painting memories and is humbled every time she recalls Evelyn’s words, “You’re the best darn watercolorist I’ve ever seen, Carolyn, keep going!” Professionally, she works mostly against commission. Her art is in private collections in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, and Latin America. No medium escapes her. She enjoys cutting paper silhouettes, sewing, and writing.
The Penelope Fox Art Studio welcomed artist and teacher Nicole Burkett in 2016 to give specific attention to our exceptional needs community. Her velvety voice and calm manner create a classroom vibe of self-acceptance, patience, resilience and most of all FUN. Don’t be surprised if you discover much more than just your artistic inner self. Nicole’s personal teaching style will strengthen the mind, body, and spirit even if the door doesn’t seem open. After a few classes with Nicole, student’s often find a whole new confidence in much more than just art. Every student is encouraged to create their art in a way that embraces themselves and is uniquely their own.
Currently a social worker for a nursing home, Nicole developed her classroom style through her previous work for the Vanguard School. The Vanguard School provides comprehensive student-focused special education and related clinical services using evidence-based curriculum and procedures. Nicole, a local Bristol Township girl, is passionate about helping people find happiness through creating art. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Psychology from Temple University.
“Art is one of the most therapeutic forms of expression a person can do for themselves.”
In 2012 The Penelope Fox Art Studio (PFAS) expanded its staff with the delightfully energized Mr. (John) Opal. In this “new phase” of his life, as John refers to his transition from commercial work to teaching with the Studio, “I get to share my art and help shape teenagers into artists” or at least creative thinkers. “And that’s pretty cool.”
Our Mr. Opal, as his students call him, enriches lives and has so much fun doing it too! John designed the Character Drawing class specifically for our studio… and it is enormously popular! In his class, students have an opportunity to explore fantasy. Subjects range from scary monsters, beautiful women, fantastical characters, and other artistic endeavors. His usual medium is watercolor, or pen and ink followed closely by colored pencil or acrylic paint. Working mainly in Horror/ Science Fiction and children’s books, John has embraced his teaching and specializes in the exceptional learner.
He continues to participate in different conventions and shows while maintaining his ever-present freelance work. John Opal is a South Jersey boy living in the same town that he was born in, Riverside. He has been drawing since childhood. At 14 he earned a seat in the Burlington County Vocational High School, in the commercial art program. He calls this his “first step into the larger world of artistic studies.” From there he attended Hussian School of Art, Philadelphia, majoring in illustration.
Thank you, Mr. Opal, for making PFAS your “new phase.”