Meet Grace Cascarilla: Artist Extraordinaire


Meet Grace Cascarilla

I’m a young and upcoming artist from Cleveland Ohio. I am painter and also trying to break into the performing arts of acting and modeling.

I love the positive and negative spaces that help create visual arts, like painting. Dark and Light passage combined with Line create Strong work that gives are about realities that I abstract in an expressionistically. Artists like Matisse, Georges Roualt and Jasper Johns continue to influence my work.

I want people to be feel invited into a world of beauty and light and imagination when they engage with my work.

Grace Cascarilla

Grace Cascarilla

Grace is an artist whose work engages one immediately. It resonates with the viewer in a dance of shapes that sparkle and communicate joy depth, and meaning.

Grace Cascarilla

See Grace with a photo of her work which was auctioned off on behalf of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The lucky lady to the left out bid eight different people for the prize of Grace’s painting. Grace has started a series of the nude here is an example.

Grace has started a series of the nude. Here is an example

These paintings Witness Grace’s Christian Faith

Grace painting
Grace painting, faith
Grace's painting, faith

Grace’s work has matured substantially in the last two years. Her work was too sensitive and tried to communicate to much.

Now Grace’s work is made up of shapes, nuance and sensitivity are conveyed within the value structure of the work.

You will see the sequence and growth in Grace’s series of flowers. One can almost smell their scent!shapes.

This is the path to success. Congratulations Grace Cascarilla

Latest Masterpiece

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 Sophia Tjotjos, Artist Extraordinaire

My brief statement:

Artist in Bloom is a community of painters each learning their own method and expression of oil painting under the direction and expertise of Virginia Cascarilla. I started painting with Artists in Bloom 4 years ago. It has been a journey of self-discovery with my fellow artists as companions and Virginia as an advisor. Painting is an ongoing relationship where patience, time and an open heart yield learning, expertise and beauty.

Who is this magnificent Artist, Sophia Totjos?

Sophia joined our community about four years ago.  She followed each step in my 16-week program for understanding value in hues and designing a canvas.  After that, she soared on her own with her own vision.  It is best exemplified in her latest work which is one of compassion for refugees into Greece.
This image resonated with Sophia who is of Greek extraction as well as a human who understands the vagaries of life.
In this painting, one senses the sweep of immigration which is subtly and not so subtly bringing change to one’s sense of order.  We are living in a time of historic change. The integration of different cultures with our own is a difficult birthing process.  This evolution and its success depend on our own good will regardless of where we are in the political process.
Sophia embraces each painting with humility and quiet confidence.  She paints in the Grisaille method: the term grisaille stands for a monochrome painting or under-painting usually created in shades of gray or neutral grayish colors. Over this Sophia adds glazes of color.  This is a classic approach perfected by Davide and Ingres in the mid eighteen hundreds.
Sophia makes a relatively accurate sketch which considers the design of the painting.  Each work is designed to move the viewer’s eye to rest on important areas.

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 Artist Extraordinaire: Karen Doyle

Upon meeting Karen Doyle for the first time it became immediately apparent that she is both an artist and old soul.
Karen joined our community of Artists in Bloom to develop a visual vocabulary of value and shape. She does this and adds joy to our group.

Realism is seductive but being a Xerox machine isn’t what we do at Artists in Bloom. Karen found her theme in water, a spiritual substance that is ephemeral and transforming. Karen’s work invites the viewer to engage in conversation. I know you will find her work as sublime as we do at Artists in Bloom Ministry….Virginia Cascarilla

I am so grateful that Virginia recognized the artist in me which, without her encouragement, would have likely remained dormant within me. It is through her continued inspiration and guidance that what I paint resonates with me and how I want to express myself. This feeling of connection is a reflection of my inner life, what I enjoy, a tool for self discovery and expression. In essence I have found my creativity, my voice and my soul. I am inspired by the magnitude of sheer beauty found all around us in nature. Even in the simplicity of a single flower. And I love providing a tangible mirror in which others may recognize the beauty of their world.

All beauty comes from love. It is the face of God, where spirit and form meet. The heart feels what the eye sees. It is all around us, we just need to pay attention.

Meet our artist extraordinaire, Eileen Vernon

Eileen Vernon has a life long interest in oil painting five years ago she joined the Artists in Bloom ministry of well-known artist Virginia Cascarilla. Under Gini’s guidance, she has gained self-confidence and is finding her individual voice as an artist.

Eileen’s work has evolved from imitative to constructing an authentic image. Eileen’s work is representational, but not imitative. Each work vibrates with profound understanding of her subject matter. Her paintings give evidence to not only her subject’s soul, but her own bountiful person.


Eileen and her husband, Don, were charter members of The Bay Village Foundation in 1997, where Eileen remains on the board for over 20 years. She helped organize the first Foundation Memorial Day gathering in 2002 and chaired the Honors Plaque program since it’s beginning. She served as Executive director of the Foundation for a few years and as its president for 9 years. She is currently active with the Community Fireworks Committee and the Live Theater in Bay, and, she serves as a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church.

Eileen was one of the drivers of the Community Fireworks Fund that helped save the community’s fireworks display, helped raise the funds for the repair of the City Hall clock; and, as President, she kicked off the plans to refurbish Play-in-Bay

Eileen and her husband Don have been residents of Bay for 32 years. She was debate coach at Bay High School 1985-1988. She served as Executive Director of The Cleveland International Volunteer Organizations. She graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1991. Eileen became the Regional Vice President of The American Arbitration Association for twelve years before retiring in 2005.

Before coming to Bay Village Eileen taught speech and debate at Bradley University and hosted a daily talk show for 12 years on WZOE Princeton Ill radio. Eileen and her husband Don are proud parents of Jan, Donna and Christina. They have 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

We are thrilled to have this fireball who works for the common good and evidences God’s Love, to us all.

Seascape by Eileen
A Seascape, 2017. As with all of Eileen’s work, we focus on finding generalized shapes and values which record the artist’s sensibility on painting. We are not painting xerox images, but paintings filtered through our soul.
Don's Catch by Eileen
Don’s Catch
Where Papa Worked by Eileen
Where Papa Worked by Eileen
Fluffy Sleeping by Eileen
Fluffy Sleeping by Eileen, 2017
Nephew by Eileen, 2016
Nephew by Eileen, 2016
Arizona By Eileen
Arizona By Eileen, 2017
In Progress
In Progress, 2017