Faculty Profile: Connie Thibaut, Luminous Oil Painting

Connie Thibaut

A passionate, knowledgeable and energetic  teacher, Connie Thibaut has a warm and supportive approach that brings confidence to the beginner; her wealth of experience and expertise will challenge the more advanced students working at more advanced levels as well.

In Luminous Oil Painting with Connie, students learn the secrets of the masters through Renaissance-style painting.  The class will explore techniques of alternating egg tempera and oil paint media, creating wonderfully translucent layers of paint.  “Glazing” is a remarkable effect that captures the luminosity, depth and vitality of color.  This class is open to all levels.

Connie studied painting for five years at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she was exposed to the Surrealist painters whose work made a deep impression upon her. Later, at Massachusetts College of Art where she graduated with a BFA, she learned about the Surrealist women painters. She has also studied with local artists such as the late Conger Metcalf, whose work greatly influenced her. Other inspirations include Feminist Art History and Feminist Jungian Studies.

After she was certified to teach, Connie earned the MSAE at Massachusetts College of Art; her thesis show was a Surrealist reinterpretation of an Old French romance. Connie has recently retired from teaching in public schools.


Frances, a student in one of Connie’s painting classes last semester, delighted with the work she created!

portrait drawing by Connie Thibaut

Faculty Profile: Nicole Gsell, Children’s Book Writing and Illustration

Have you ever dreamed of creating your own children’s book?  Or, do your kids have a story they’d love to tell and illustrate under the guidance of a real book illustrator?

This fall, we’re thrilled to welcome children’s book illustrator Nicole Gsell to ACA’s faculty to teach classes where you can explore the art of writing, illustrating, and publishing your own children’s picture book.

Nicole is a 2010 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.  Her first book, Sam and Ben, has just been published by Pinwheel Press in Brookline, MA.  Sam and Ben are twins, which means they were once squished together inside their mama’s belly. But that doesn’t mean they are like two peas in a pod…!

Nicole will be offering two different classes this Fall – one for kids (grades 5-8) and one for adults and older teens.  In both classes, students will create stories inspired by popular titles like Harold and the Purple Crayon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Snowy Day, and more.

You’ll experiment with different media and explore the fundamentals of storytelling: character, plot, theme and point of view.  In addition, Nicole will share her insights about the children’s book publishing market.

“Children’s Book Illustration”
for Adults and Older Teens
8 Wednesdays, 7:00-9:00pm
10/5 – 11/30 (skip 11/23)

“What’s Your Story?”
for Kids (grades 5-8)

Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
9/27 – 11/15

For more information, or to register for either of these classes, call the ACA office (781) 648-6220, or register online.

To learn more about Nicole, visit her website, or her blog.  Welcome Nicole!

Faculty Profile: Meet ACA’s gifted drawing teacher Helen Payne

Anyone can learn to draw with Helen Payne!

Helen Payne is a master at helping students learn to draw with confidence.  Whether you’re just starting out, or if you have some experience and are ready to take the next step, Helen’s drawing classes are for you!

Nuts and Bolts: Basic Drawing Skills  is a wonderful class for anyone who has ever desired to draw realistically.  Anyone can learn to draw!   In each class you will learn methods to sharpen your eye and improve your hand eye coordination so you can draw with confidence.  You’ll focus on proportion, line, shading, and composition.  Both portrait and figure work will be introduced.

The Body and Context: Figure Drawing – New Class!  In this fresh approach to figure drawing, students gain core fundamentals while exploring how artists’ visions of the body were shaped by their time and place.  You’ll gain great seeing skills, anatomical understanding, proportion, tone and more, all the while gaining insight into how that innate human urge to draw the human body has evolved from the paleolithic to the present.  Each class starts with a slideshow that introduces the week’s theme, followed by drawing from the model.  The class will have a companion website.


Chair drawing by Helen Payne

Helen Payne, Drawing for Frazier, with Radiation