SNELLVILLE — Joanna Andrews had hoped she would get a response from Vice President Joe
Biden when she included a letter with his ornament, and the VP didn’t disappoint.

The 10-year-old Lawrenceville resident was one of 25 art students at Cobble Creek Studios
who painted portraits of the vice presidents, ornaments that now adorn a Christmas tree at the
vice presidential residence in Washington, D.C.

Joanna was the first to enroll in the day-long workshop at the Snellville art studio and
specifically asked to paint Biden.

“I thought it would be really cool because he’s the current vice president,” she said.

Joanna also painted a portrait of George H. W. Bush. After painting the ornaments, which took
three to four hours each, Joanna wrote an accompanying letter for Biden’s.

“I said that I hoped he liked it and I said that I put you in a classier suit than I put George Bush
in,” she remembered. “And I wrote that if he liked that if he would write a letter back.”

In Biden’s response, he thanked Joanna for drawing a “very handsome picture” of him and
wrote that the suit was “very classy.” He also wished her and her family and merry Christmas
and a happy New Year before signing his name to the typed note.

Joanna said she plans to hang the letter, which was framed by Eric Bachman of Snellville
Framing and Fine Art, in her bedroom alongside some of her artwork.
By Deanna Allen
Friday, December 20, 2013
Joanna Andrews holds a framed
letter from Vice President Joe Biden.
(Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)
Local art student receives letter from Vice PresidenttBiden
Youth Scholarship to attend the Grand Central Academy  and was founded by
master artists Jacob Collins.  Mr. Collins has studied at the New York
Academy of Art, École Albert Defois, and the Art Students League. He is the
founder and director of the Water Street Atelier in Manhattan and is an
extraordinarily respected artist, teacher, and role model in the field of
contemporary realism. Combining a technique reminiscent of the
nineteenth-century American realists with a freshness of vision scarcely
encountered among today's traditional painters, Collins' works form that
rarest of unions where classic beauty and striking originality meet as
harmonious equals.

"Josue is an exceptional, humble artist that in my opinion has a very bright
future ahead of him.  I wish him much happiness as he begins this adventure."
~Deborah Ankrom Kepes

April, 2015
Scholarship Recipient:  Josue Munoz
Grand Central Atelier
Queens, NY
Local art students recreate Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"

There’s no need to travel all the way to the Louvre in Paris to experience
Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting the “Mona Lisa.” Cobble Creek Studios in

The “Mona Lisa” Project includes 78 miniature recreations of the famous painting
created by Cobble Creek art students ranging from ages 5 to 18. They completed
the project as part of a three-month study in which they learned the history of the
painting as well as the technique Leonardo used to create it.

Deborah Kepes, Cobble Creek Studios Director, describes the project and the studios’
art classes as academic in structure, combining terminology and history with technique.

“I find that many people that I’ve talked to over the years do realize that it’s not just
being born with a specific talent, and that just about anyone can be taught art, and
feel if it were approached the same way as math or reading there would be many more artists,”
she said.

Kepes said it’s a common misconception for people to believe the “Mona Lisa” is
treasured because of the smile or the eyes that appear to follow you around the room.
It’s really due to the unique technique Leonardo used to create it called Sfumato,
which means smoke in Italian.

“Actually, it’s the layering process that da Vinci used, and there are over 40 layers
of glazes, ranging from opaque to translucent,” Kepes said, adding that’s what creates
the roundness of form seen in the painting.

The students were able to practice the technique by recreating the “Mona Lisa” on
an American poplar panel, which is a very smooth wooden panel similar to the Italian
poplar panel Leonardo used.

They also learned the story of the woman in the painting as well as the history of the
painting itself, studying sources like “Mona Lisa: Inside the Painting,” which highlights research
done at the Louvre. Kepes believes it’s important to learn the history and
processes used to create works of art because it helps people realize it isn’t just about
talent.“If I take you slowly through perspective to proportion to placement: these things
are what create art and it makes it less of an unobtainable goal,” she said. “Our tagline
is ‘We make fine art obtainable’ …
You don’t have to be born with this talent — it can be taught.”

The Mona Lisa Project will be on display throughout May at Cobble Creek Studios  Art
Academy located at 2257 Scenic Highway in Snellville.

The exhibit also includes information and little known facts about the “Mona Lisa,”
and Kepes hopes the public will take advantage of the opportunity to learn about
“the most important painting ever created.”

For more information about Cobble Creek Studios, visit
or call 770-597-4053.
Art students at Cobble Creek Studios in Snellville recreated
Leonardo DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” as part of a three-month
project to learn about the history of the painting and the
technique Leonardo da Vinci used to create it.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
by Kate Morris
Click on the HGTV logo
to follow the link to the
tour of the Vice
President's residence to
view the beautiful
images that the
chlldren created
These days not everyone uses a bread basket. But for Deborah Kepes, it is the perfect symbol to illustrate how many children go without bread (and other
nourishment) each day. So the owner of Cobble Creek Studios in Snellville combined her love of art with a desire to help the community with The Bread Basket Project.

Kepes had students in her art academy design bread baskets with different patterns — everything from the University of Georgia to the Pittsburgh Steelers to ladybugs
and ducks are represented — and in different shapes and forms. With the artistic part completed, the studio is now conducting an online auction for each basket with
proceeds going to the Southeast Gwinnett Co-op.

Since all materials for the baskets were donated, either by the families or by Michael’s Art Store in Snellville, every dollar raised will go straight to the co-op. In
conjunction with the project, Kepes is encouraging students to bring non-perishable items to the studio during the month of October, and they will also be donated to
the co-op.

For Kepes, it’s the perfect way to teach both art and humanitarian lessons.

“For several years I have wanted to find a way that the children that attend our art academy could give back to the community what they have been so fortunate to
attain artistically,” she said. “This project creates an opportunity for the student to create a hand-painted bread basket that then can be sold to feed another child just
like themselves.”

Kepes said she was inspired by the efforts of Dave Emanuel and Tricia Rawlins, who started the “Give Hunger the Boot” campaign as a way to help the Southeast Co-op.
Their efforts reminded Kepes of the need to help in her own community, a need she shared with her students.
She asked them to think about a day that included no bread in the basket for breakfast, and none when they returned home at night. She asked them to imagine what
that would feel like, having only a school lunch to last the day. Then she asked if they would like to be part of a project to help people in the Snellville area avoid such

From the start, the Bread Basket Project grabbed the attention of the students, who range in age from 5 to 19.

“When I told the children about this idea, they were very excited,” Kepes said. “(Seeing) the empty shelves posted of the
Southeast Gwinnett Co-op on Facebook broke my heart, and I knew there had to be a way that we could help.

“Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and through this program an empty bread basket is an important visual for all of us.”  
The baskets are availalbe for a minium bid of $10, and several have already eclipsed that amount. You can bid by going to www.cobblecreekstudios.
com/BreadBasketProject.html or by clicking HERE.  The deadline for bidding is Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. during the studio’s fifth anniversary celebration. Kepes said the
public is invited to the event.

Amy Dang, a student from Brookwood High School, said the project has made an impact on her.

Said Dang: “I hope our efforts, not only as artists but more importantly as people, help inspire others to do the same.”
CLINE: Bread Basket Project raises funds for local co-op
Wednesday, October 28,
Todd Cline
Recently Kaylee Boyd, age 15,  participated in a high
school art competition at
Bob Jones University in
Greenville, SC.
 We are proud to announce that Kaylee won
two awards; 2nd place for her drawing of the Roman Bust
created at our studio art academy and a 2nd Place award for her
Extemporaneous Drawing .  In order to compete for the
Extemporaraneous Award the student must draw a still life at
the competition and then it is decided by the judge.  

Please join us in congratulating Kaylee in her achievements

If you would like more information regarding this opportunity
please follow the link here.  
Bob Jones University Arts Festival

Gwinnett County art studio students
express themselves during the
pandemic with self-portraits

How do you handle a pandemic as an artist and a
small business owner? For Deborah Kepes and her
students at Cobble Creek Studios Art Academy
there’s a simple answer — you draw.

While adhering to CDC guidelines, the Snellville-
based studio re-opened for in-person business this
year.  01/07/21