A number of area artists teach at Purple Turtle Art Studio for both children’s classes and special events. Keep checking back to see who has joined the team.

IMG_1498 [34738]

Le Hale

Le is an artist and art educator and owner/founder of Purple Turtle Art Studio. She earned her BA from West Virginia University in 1993 and her Art Education Certification from Sam Houston State University in 1999.

Le opened the Purple Turtle in the fall of 2000 and has been enjoying it ever since. Before the Turtle, she taught the visual arts at Johnson Elementary School for five years. Previous to Johnson, she worked for many summer art programs: Girl Scout Camp, Brazos Valley Art’s Council and Boy’s and Girl’s Club of the Brazos Valley. Le also taught for two years at Art’s for Everyone, a non-profit program and later served on its board of directors.


Amber is a mother, visual artist, potter and owner of Mud Ponies Pottery. She earned her B.F.A.  in studio art from Sam Houston State University in 2008 and an Associates degree in Commercial Art & advertising from T.S.T.C. Waco in 2003.

Amber started Mud Ponies Pottery in 2008. She makes decorative and functional pieces full of texture. She has had a booth at Sherwood Forest fair and has traveled to different art shows around Texas. She has fascilitated youth pottery education programs at Joy Pottery, Brazos Valley Arts Council and Hillcrest Baptist Mother’s Day out all the while instructing private lessons. Amber loves teaching children about the creative possibilities of working with clay.



Lisa Urban

Lisa Urban is a former artist-in-residence for The Arts Council of Brazos Valley and the City of Navasota. Before moving to Texas for the residency, she grew up in Kansas. As an artist she likes to create surrealistic worlds using oil paint on canvas.

Lisa’s work involves knitted objects within her scenes, and as such she is an avid knitter. She has been knitting for almost 8 years now, having picked it up in college, and considers herself to be advanced. Of all the things one can knit, her favorite is socks!
Her teaching experience including three years of assistant pre-school teaching, running two summers’ worth of camps in her hometown and most recently teaching after school art for the Arts Council.



Conneley Sears

Conneley Sears is a College Station native currently attending Texas A&M University. She is a senior genetics major. Conneley has experience tutoring at the elementary and high school levels, and enjoys generating students’ excitement for science and academics.

Russell Marcontell 

BA, Sam Houston State University

MFA, San Miguel De Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Russell has been teaching Drawing, Design and Art History to students from kindergarten through college level and beyond for the last 14 years.  He has taught at the Children’s Museum, the Frame Gallery, Extra Education for the city of College Station and studio classes at Blinn and Sam Houston State University. I have been instructing at the Purple Turtle since 2014.

Teaching students with little or no drawing experience is one of his favorite things to do. He starts with the concept of , “there are no mistakes”.  His goal is to give students the tools to understand the process of drawing and strengthen their own personal sense of creative awareness by using basic techniques and a variety of media.

Tamara Garza
Professor/Graphic Designer

BED, Texas A&M University

MS, Texas A&M University

Tamara Garza received her M.S in Visualization from Texas A&M University back in ‘08. She has been a member of the art faculty at Blinn College since 2016 where she has taught Photography, Graphic Design, Art Direction and Digital Illustration as well as lectured regularly on Art Appreciation. She has worked independently as a photographer and graphic designer for over 15 years, having dabbled in visual effects for a spell after graduate school. She’s passionate about digital art, graphic design, women in technology, roller derby, classic ford mustangs, homemade tortillas and the life-changing experience of traveling abroad with an artist’s lens on life. She is a co-founding member of Garza Photo Design, a web and graphic design shop she manages from her home studio.

Julie Dickerson

Julie Dickerson is and artist, art educater, teacher and Children’s ministry leader.  She earned her BA from Vanderbilt University in 2002 in Art and Art HIstory, focusing on drawing and clay.  She later earned her Art Education Certification in 2004, and began teaching.

Julie has worked in art education in an art gallery setting at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, and the Modern Art Museum, in Fort Worth, TX.  After working in art museums, Julie began teaching visual arts to elementary art students in public school. In the last 7 years, the Lord has grown a specific passion in Julie, to minister and disciple children, specifically sharing the gospel and encouraging boldness in children–to share the good news of the gospel with others.  It is a dream to blend her passions for art and the Lord, through teaching the Gospel through Art class at Purple Turtle Art Studio.



Natalie Jensen

Artist and entrepreneur, Natalie Jensen has been “creating” since she could hold a crayon. As a child, she spent hours under her mother’s sewing table, playing with buttons or experimenting with embroidery thread. When asked for what she wanted for Christmas or birthdays, she would promptly reply “craft supplies and books”.

Her love of creating spans from sewing to leather work, jewelry making to interior decorating, wedding design and cooking.  Her love of vintage and repurposing is the inspiration behind her art, and is applied almost daily- upcycling and altering anything from clothing and jewelry, to recipes.

In 2012, after finding herself the sole provider for herself and her two young children, Natalie funneled all her creative energy into founding Peculiar Sentiments, a mobile boutique that has become the vehicle for selling her art and designs. She is a full time stay-at-home/work-at-home mama, taking her kids (who she homeschools) and her designs on the road, to art shows and vintage markets across America.

Cathy Rylander came to TAMU in 1976 and never left.  She received a BA in English in 1981 after majoring in a series of mostly unrelated subjects : Environmental Design, math, journalism and the science fiction club.  She and her husband have four grown children, all of whom are artists.

“Ms. Ry” has taught art at Saint Michael’s since 1991 to students aged from 2 years to 19 years.  Her favorite thing to teach is whatever is happening right now, ranging from stitchery to calligraphy to paper sculpture to costuming to assemblage to repurposing furniture.  She loves to make art from unexpected materials.