Artists in Bloom Community presents Janice Di Angelis: Our artist Extraordinaire

When one meets Janice one knows Janice has a vision. She sees behind the facade of current culture into truth. This is the sight of an artist/mystic.
All true artists must know their craft and seek truth not decoration.
Janice is my go-to person when I’m not available to mentor our community. Janice is much appreciated by each and all members of artists in bloom.

Community because of her clear vision and wisdom
Thank you, Janice.

Meet Joe McChrystal: Our Artist Extraordinaire!

You’ve met Joe about two years ago. His work is stronger, bolder and more succinctly organized. Joe is a born story teller and his paintings convey depth, strength and sensitivity in theme and paint handling. His paintings are multi-layer. They engage the viewer into his/her own revelry and thoughts.

Joe’s work is classic, creating reflection and response in the viewer. Artwork is a dialogue between artist and audience. As one can see, his work is not didactic but allows the view entry and exploration in their experience.

Bravo Joseph!

Some paintings were almost monotone early on. Then one cold winter I started to counter with more vibrate color to force myself to have more light and positive emotion. Various forms of yellow I find calm in. When i re-purpose a painting that was drab I will add more colors probably from sun conscious.

The process of painting abstract or expressionist is like navigating on the high seas or out in space until some solid forms arrive. Maybe its trying to find clarity… I could call all my abstracts “A glimpse of sunshine trying to get through.”

The class setting is a positive energy. Everyone gets lost in there painting until the right shapes begin to make sense. Certain images from magazine or other random paintings strike an emotion I find needs to be combined to form a new image…its like falling in love with a beautiful person that you never see again but the image in your mind remains.


Meet Hussein Ghareeb

Hussein Ghareeb, Our Artist Extraordinaire!

The Amazing Hussein is from Iraq from which he and his family had to flee. Hussein was the preeminent set designer in Iraq & the  Middle East. He designed sets for theatre, film, television studios and much more. Included at end of photos of work, please see his magnificent contemporary designs.

From childhood on Husein was attracted to art. His parents were very supportive because of his innate ability combined with his strong work ethic. He graduated from Bagdad University with the highest honor in painting and design. After University Hussein enlisted (as is necessary for all males) in the military.

Hussein Ghareeb

With his military duty behind him, Hussein began designing sets for theatre. As his reputation grew, Hussein designed theater sets all over Bagdad and set production in the Cinema Industry. Hussein’s skill and attention for detail earned him a place designing sets for National Television. Hussein was hands-on and supervised all aspects of construction and design and the most sought-after set designer in all of Iraq. Even today, 2018 after fleeing Iraq, Hussein still receives offers for prestigious work in Iraq.

Hussein’s son, Akram, told me that Hussein loves the United States and the freedom our Constitution assures. His two sons, Akram and Abdul attend Cleveland State while working full time. Hussein and his wife have another son who lives in Slovakia where he is a computer engineer. Hussein’s beautiful wife Needa, is also an artist of distinction whom we will feature soon. Needa he won the 2002 International Sculpture award. Hussein’s first love is set design. Of his painting, we have only the highest praise as you will see.

I discovered Hussein and his beautiful wife Needa through City of Hope refugee and immigrant center. This organization works with immigrants and refugees to transform from them from stranger to neighbor.

Hussein’s work is magnificent. Although he didn’t pick up a paintbrush for 25 years, his quality of work hasn’t declined. Look at the quality of work he has created from 2017 – 2018. His brush strokes and the simplicity of form, his sense of atmosphere and emotion are beyond description.

Hussein painted these in less than a year, working one day a week when he was able to join our community. He is indeed AMAZING!!!

Hussein Ghareeb’s Paintings

Hussein Ghareeb’s Set Design

Meet Connie Kappus, our Artist Extroadinaire!

Connie is an old soul who was painting with pastels when we first met and her intuitive sense of balance, design and color was evident. We met at St. Peter’s Church, later to become Saint Peter’s community where we are encouraged to seek God and find God in ourselves and others. This is what we try to do in our Artists in Bloom Ministry/Community.

Connie learned our unique methodology for mixing hues and creating values for her first abstract painting. From there she studied the work the works of Monet and Renoir. With Connie’s love of nature and the ephemeral style she developed, it was clear that Georgia O’Keefe would offer Connie Inspiration and added guidance on her journey to develop an her own vocabulary and style. The paintings below will chart Connie’s course from beginner to professional.

Connie’s growth is steady and strong. Perhaps the most difficult idea for Connie and us all is trying to paint strength, conviction and light into a painting. It is counter-intuitive, but the darker the darks, the lighter the lights become. Chiaroscuro is the name of this method and Rembrandt is most often associated with Chiaroscuro.

Another challenge for artists is the willingness to keep with the journey of the painting when it isn’t what you wanted when you wanted it. As in life, painting is a process; there is struggle, there is resolution and there is joy. This process and cannot be rushed.

As an art mentor, we try to suggest a Master Artist whose work can light the path for each member in our community. If you want to be a heart surgeon you don’t simply start cutting into the heart, you study other Cardio surgeons anatomical techniques. After a few weeks, it usually clarifies which artist may be a mentor at this time on your journey. This holds true for seekers of God. At first we may use Our Book, then one may be interested in other theological writers Victor Frankel, then Jung, then Teilliard de Chardin and Rumi.

Connie’s paintings are not in Chronological order.  We can see her progress from painting a reproduction of something to capturing it’s essence.

Meet these SISTERS: Debbie O’Leary & Karen Kirk Artists Extraodinaire


Debbie and Karen, Artists and Sisters Extraordinaire
Debbie and Karen, Artists and Sisters Extraordinaire

Debbie’s Experience with Artist in Bloom Ministry

(c) Debbie O’Leary
(c) Debbie O’Leary
(c) Debbie O’Leary

I came to Virginia’s class, ‘Artists In Bloom Ministry’, after having seen her work and loving her style. She graciously invited me to come and although it was an almost 2 hr. drive, Virginia made it worth it. Not only have I developed as an artist but was blessed with the camaraderie and kindness of these special people in this class. My sister Karen and I have flourished in this setting, enjoying it all… such a blessing.

As a member of “Artists in Bloom”, I’ve experienced an amazing community of talented artists.I receive inspiration from the lovely pieces that come to life before my eyes!! Community brings camaraderie, friendship, trust and love. Today when I look at a reference to paint I see darks, lights and different tones of color and how these colors affect the mood of the work. I see technique and balance, negative space and foreground all impacting your piece as you make these decisions along the way.
My artistic voice or style is a work in progress. While painting in Virginia’s class I’ve been exposed to many styles and as my abilities increased often did my personal taste change as well. I believe as you continue to paint your style begins to emerge.

Debbie O’Leary
(c) Debbie O’Leary
(c) Debbie O’Leary
Debbie O’Learry
Painting Flowers that Sing
Debbie O’Leary
Beautiful Garlic

Both Karen and Debbie are painters of all that brings joy. Flowers, vegetables, and landscapes where nature and God reside. They have both contributed so much to our community, love, respect and joy. They are both learning to design their paintings to lead the viewers eye as well as painting in strong shapes with delicate brush strokes within. Each of their paintings are redemptive for themselves and for the viewer. … Virginia Cascarilla

Karen’s Experience with Artists in Bloom Ministry

When my talented sister, Debbie, decided to take oil painting classes from Gini (after seeing her beautiful show at Beck Center), I thought, “Why not?  I’ll be with my sister for a good part of the day.”  Debbie lives an hour and a half away and we don’t see each other as often as we’d like.  I had no intentions of learning to paint.  My purpose was entirely selfish.  Debbie would come, paint, learn and I’d be there with her just enjoying my “sister” time.
With prayer, encouragement and tons of patience, Gini has slowly turned me into a half way decent artist!  Not only have I learned to paint, I’ve been blessed to meet some pretty extraordinary, faithful, talented, compassionate, caring men and women.  It’s a beautiful ministry Gini has going on here. Not everyone is of the same faith but there is a strong common bond of  God and love.
Thank you Gini for giving us all a safe place to express ourselves and a place to occasionally ask for prayer and give thanks together.  God bless you and this fabulous ministry.

My appreciation for art has changed since joining Artists in Bloom Ministry.

Venice, Karen Kirk
Venice, Karen Kirk

Visually, I’ve grown to appreciate color and form in a totally different manner than I did before. In an artistic sense , I now see objects in shapes rather than seeing the whole thing . Today I will look at a building differently than I did before taking Virginia’s class. A building , now , is observed as rectangle upon rectangle, joined by squares and an occasional circle or arch … each shaded in a different hue to form a whole building . That may sound strange but this class has heightened my awareness , not only viewing objects of art, but also in observing nature , cities, machinery , …even people !!

This class also integrates different personality types . We each have our
different techniques, styles and appreciation of art . We may not all share the same love of the Masters , or abstract (modern) art…but we respect each others work , just as we accept and respect each others religious beliefs , culture , background , accomplishments and shortcomings . We are all children of God… sharing the creative talents that He gave each and every one of us…Karen Kirk

Karen Kirk
Spring Flowers
Karen Kirk
Foodie Time
Karen Kirk

My sister Karen has developed into an artist whose paintings I would purchase!! Her work is loose, vibrant and truly a joy to behold. My personal favorite is “Onions” I just love everything about it!!! Her color choice and application is amazing. Karen is a quick study, Virginia an awesome teacher….. each piece here is unique and Karen should be proud.

… Debbie O’Leary

Karen Kirk
Green Onions
Karen Kirk
The Bridge and Tree
Karen Kirk Love Everlasting
Karen Kirk
Sun Flowers
Karen Kirk
Dancing Trees

If you’d like to get involved with Artists in Bloom Ministry, we are actively looking for artists and potential artists. No experience necessary – just a desire to learn. Please contact founder Virginia Cascarilla for more information.

Comments about Debbie and Karen’s work


Karen’s art is exuberant. Her work is vital, alive, and sometimes just plain fun.

Debbie’s artwork creations are beautiful studies in composition, giving the viewer a peaceful and tranquil feeling.

…Theresa Weedon

Meet Joe McCrystal: Artist Extraordinaire

“This class (Artist in Bloom Ministry) has been a journey to artistic discovery and is why I named a painting THE AWAKENING. I had a skill that was dormant until the energy of this class and Ginny’s instruction brought it artist needs a point of view that could be called a visual philosophy. This has evolved over the last few years bringing confidence in creating a final product.” Joe McCrystal

Joe has grown as an artist. he simplifies his form. Yet it is multi layered and a road map of his experiences. Clarifying one’s image and moving the viewer’s eye witnesses Joe’s observation of life and relationships. … Virginia Cascarilla

What His Fellow Artists Have to Say:

“Joe has a gift. He is able to create a story in each of his paintings. The shapes, the lines starts a process that eventually turns into a wonderful, colorful narrative. His colors create different  moods. I’ve never appreciated abstract art until watching Joe paint. This talented man pores his heart and soul into a painting and I have observed shapes and lines becoming structures and stories. You have a God-given gift and you share your gift with each of us.  Thank you” – Karen Kirk

“Joe’s paintings are both lively and stimulating.  He has mastered the art of creating shapes with rhythm and harmony.  Joe creates some of the most stunning representational art I have seen.  I am always interested in seeing his next creation! -Theresa Weedon

“As a fellow student, I’ve seen an exceptional artist. I learned from his work and I credit Joe with being an artist that loves color; and, seeks out a diverse choice of subject matter. Joe is an excellent artist that could go it alone, but he is prepared for some of the “challenges” that Artist Virginia Cascarilla presents to him as he evolves into an exceptional artist.”  -Eileen Vernon

“It’s a privilege and an inspiration to my own artistic challenges, to observe the wonderful maturation and refinement in your painting. Your pieces truly reflect not only your talent, but your  deep appreciation for this opportunity for self growth. I look forward to many more beautiful pieces with your signature!”  -Jane

“Joe has never failed to amaze me. His ability to combine color and texture with movement, inviting the viewer to thoroughly enjoy each piece. His work is unique which is Virginia’s goal for us, to find our style and excel.”  Debbie O’Leary

Comments about Joe’s work are welcome. If you have any questions about the Artists in Bloom Ministry or would like to join, feel free to contact founder Virginia Cascarilla with any inquiries.