MEET YOUR AIS LEADERSHIP
AIS BOARD OF DIRECTORS | OFFICERS
AIS Board Chairman and Nebraska artist, Debra Joy Groesser AIS, is best known for her impressionistic landscape paintings, particularly her plein air work. Debra's ability to render emotion, mood and a sense of place draws collectors worldwide to her work. "Painting is such a spiritual experience for me. Nothing inspires me more than being out on location, capturing the subtle nuances of color, light and atmosphere that can only be achieved by painting from nature. When I find a subject that triggers a strong emotional response in me, I know that's what I have to paint. My greatest satisfaction is when the viewer has that same emotional response to my subject that I did."
Debra has participated in countless juried and invitational exhibitions. Her work has been featured in numerous national art publications, and she has served as a speaker at numerous events and on radio. Debra is a signature member of the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, Laguna Plein Air Painters, American Plains Artists and a Master Signature member of Plein Air Artists Colorado. Read a note from Debra.
AIS Board of Directors Vice Chairman, Cheryl St. John AIS, grew up in Denver, Colorado and studied Fine Art and Design at The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and at The Colorado Institute of Art. She was employed by several design firms after college as a graphic designer and eventually owned her own design firm. Her passion for fine art and painting was on the back burner while working in the design business.
After raising her 2 girls and growing tired of the pressures of the advertising business she found classes at the Art Student’s League of Denver that ignited her passion for drawing and painting again. She studied with Kim English, Ken Velastro and Dennis Pendleton to name a few at the league and was hooked on pursuing her fine art dreams once more. It wasn’t long after those classes that she gave up her design business and went into painting full time. She has never looked back and has been a full time artist for over 25 years.
Since then she’s studied with numerous master artists including Scott Christensen and Quang Ho. She became a member of the American Impressionist Society in 2010 and became Vice President in 2014. She is a signature member of Plein Air Artists of Colorado, Oil Painters of America and American Impressionist Society. She’s been in national and regional exhibitions for over 25 years and won numerous awards.
Her work is represented by Saks Galleries in Denver, Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs, CO and Gunnison Fine Art in Gunnison, CO.
Born and raised in the art resort town of Saugatuck, Michigan, AIS Board Secretary, Doreen St. John AIS exhibited exceptional artistic ability as a child, receiving instruction from Cora Bliss Taylor, a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute and a well-known local artist. Although St.John completed graduate degrees in education, the need to create has always been her passion. She took her first watercolor classes at the Canton Art Museum with Bette G. Elliott in 1980 and continued with private lessons until 1985. She has continued to take workshops with nationally recognized artists such as Edgar Whitney, Frank Webb, Marc Hanson, David Jon Kassan, first in watercolor and then starting in 2010 in oil and pastel.
Since her retirement from education in 2010, St. John has gained national recognition juried into major national exhibitions, winning awards, and has achieved Signature status with the Oil Painters of America, the Pastel Society of America, American Impressionist Society, as well as Master Pastelist in 2022 with the International Association of Pastel Societies. She has been a member of the Ohio Plein Air Society since 2005, where she served as a Board member/officer. St. John continues to study to improve her work, believing that growth as an artist/individual is a lifelong pursuit, working from life as much as possible, including portrait, figure, plein air, and studio work. She is represented by Castle Fine Art Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Hudson Fine Art & Framing Co. in Hudson, Ohio.
Donald A. Groesser, AIS National Treasurer, was born and raised in Weeping Water, Nebraska, where he grew up on the family farm. He holds a degree in accounting and has a wealth of business, sales and management experience, including 23 years at Union Pacific Railroad and 10 years with NCR/Teradata.
Don was one of three partners who owned an Omaha real estate firm for several years and also owned an auction company with his brother for many years. He actually attended the same auction school in Kansas City as the late AIS Chairman Emeritus T.R. Dickinson did!
He is currently serving his 7th term (27th year) as the Mayor of Ralston, Nebraska, (a city of 7,000 people adjacent to Omaha). He volunteers serving at his church and performing benefit auctions for local charities. He is also an artist in his own right - an accomplished woodworker. He sells his work at the gallery he and his wife, AIS Chairman Debra Joy Groesser, own in Ralston.
Don has served as auctioneer for the Door County Plein Air Festival for the past several years and for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Montgomery AL) Biennial Art Auction. Don and Debra have five children and seven grandchildren.
AIS BOARD OF DIRECTORS | BOARD MEMBERS
AIS Founder and Past Chairman of the Board Charlotte Dickinson AIS
Charlotte started painting at an early age,inspired by Professional Artists in her family. For 27 years she owned and operated a gallery in the beautiful Endless Mountains Area of Pennsylvania. She has been painting and teaching for more than 50 years.
With a solid background in drawing, composition and color theory, she paints the effects of light on form through color. She felt there was a need to spotlight the American Impressionist genre and honor her mentor, William Schultz Master Painter, therefore the AIS was founded in 1998.
Being an advocate of En Plein Air and working from life for my landscape, florals and still life,she strives to bring the beauty of nature into the home for the viewer to enjoy and reflect upon. People like to see the artist's spirit in their work. Charlotte is a Signature Member of American Impressionist Society.
Board Member Mark Daly AIS paints in the tradition of the impressionists. His purpose
for painting is to share the joy and beauty he sees in city, boat, beach, and other
Mark is represented by renowned galleries. His artwork is in distinguished private,
corporate, and university collections, worldwide. He has exhibited in nine solo shows,
many group shows, and won prominent awards in national juried art exhibitions. Mark
has a professional studio in Camden Maine. He travels worldwide to paint on location.
Mark is a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society, Signature Member
of the American Society of Marine Artists, Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, Juried
Artist Member of the Rockport Art Association & Museum, member of Oil Painters of
America, and Signature Member of the Cincinnati Art Club.
Mark is a Voting Member of the Grammys and author of several business leadership
books that have helped many organizations and people. His musical background,
writing, and strategic skills have improved his painting capabilities. Mark graduated from
Cornell University's College of Arts and Sciences and has a Master's degree from The
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Board Member, Terry Proctor AIS, has always enjoyed drawing and painting. Much insight has been gained studying under her mother Charlotte Dickinson, also Joyce Hewitt Beck, Ed Ward, Charles Movalli and William Schultz. En Plein Air landscapes and still life is where her passion is. Her paintings hang in many private and corporate collections.
She lives in the beautiful Endless Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband John. She enjoys time with her grown children and grandchildren.
Board Member Kathie Wheeler AIS is a representational oil painter who's work is inspired by the people and places in her life. Kathie was born in 1962 and was raised in the Chicago area. As a young child, she was drawn to the spirit of the French Barbazon, the Hudson River School of Artists and the American Impressionists who took to the fields and woods with their sketchbooks and paints to record the beauty of their surroundings. As a young woman, she studied at the American Academy of Art, where she won the prestigious Union Art League Scholarship Competition, then worked as a freelance commercial artist and portrait artist.
Kathie creates remarkable landscapes and portrait commissions and works primarily with a rich oil palette, but also enjoys dabbling in pastel and watercolor. She paints plein air throughout the year, as well as working in the studio, and is a Signature member of Oil Painters of America, The American Women Artists, the American Impressionist Society, and is also a member of the Portrait Society of America.
Kathie and her husband remain on the small farm in southwest Wisconsin where they raised their two children.. Her paintings reflect the experience of her life in the valley in the way that only someone who has lived and worked the land here can. “I try to put the feeling or emotion I see in a place or person on the canvas. My hope is that the viewer can take some of that away with them.”