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Pohoto of Elena Cantor

Elena Cantor was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1987. As a child she was very much inclined for the arts, but her formal training in the academic method did not start until 2009, when she moved to Chicago to study at the Ravenswood Atelier, directed by, Florence Academy alumnus, Mathew Almy. After a year of formal training in Chicago, Elena applied to the Florence Academy of Art and by the end of 2010, she had embarked on her transatlantic journey, in search of knowledge, discipline and inspiration. Fortunately, she found in Florence everything she had been looking for, and so much more. After 3 years of crazy amounts of studio hours, of exposure to the highest form of human artistic expression, and the repeated fortune of meeting all the faces and names that she will forever remember, quote and admire, the time to leave Europe had arrived.


Landing briefly in Costa Rica, she helped her sister, professional painter and teacher, Emilia Cantor, open El Atelier del Sol, a school of academic roots, still operating in the outskirts of San Jose.


By August of 2013 it was time for another change, and, alongside fellow painter and spouse, Tyler Wilkes, the United States became the next destination of choice. In January 2014 Elena arrived at Loveland Colorado, and there, her teaching journey began. For the past 7 years, she has been instructing people of all ages, on how to draw and paint.


Always using her academic roots as her guide and purpose, Elena believes your journey should be personal and different than everyone else’s. In her class she prioritizes the individual needs of her students, because “not everyone learns the same way and not everyone has the same goals when it comes to their personal work.”


 “Drawing is a language, nothing more. And, just like any other language, with patience and practice, you can become fluent”.


Ben Harden has been drawing and painting since childhood and it has become a lifelong pursuit. He is passionate about learning how to see and express beauty through nature and draws on inspirations such as JMW Turner, Sorolla and Fuseli. His personal art uses his classical art training as a basis for his exploration of design and emotional themes in portraiture and figurative work


Ben was a CU fine arts major for 3 years before finishing his degree in architectural design. His love for drawing and painting led him to the Boulder School of Fine Art where he studied classical drawing and painting the figure and portraiture with Raz Seri for over 4 years. He continues to explore modern graphic realism in workshops with other teachers and in his own studies.

Ben's personal art is focused on the transformation of emotions onto a 2D surface using primarily figurative forms and tonal composition to express simple visual work. His figures portray traditional painting elements that are set against abstract backgrounds and this blend of traditional and abstract forms draws the viewer into a world that is paradoxical yet familiar. The use of a simple figure is effective to generalize the complex forms of emotion. And in capturing the associative properties important in recalling memory.

Ben brings his extensive teaching experience from his work as a CU research associate in urban planning, instructor of classical drawing and painting classes at the Boulder School of Fine Art and as middle school art teacher at Shephard Valley Waldorf School. He helps students observe their own work realistically and coaches them through supportive criticism how to improve their work and develop their own style and technique.

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