The Mainstreet Staff

  Frankie Johnson, Director
Frankie Johnson is an accomplished artist with over 40 years of experience in painting with oils, pastels and watercolor.  Frankie has taught drawing, oil and pastel painting at The Studio In The Woods (Wauconda, Illinois), The Studio of Long Grove and the Mainstreet Art Centre.  In 1994 she opened the Mainstreet Art Centre and has assembled a talented staff of instructors over the years.  She conducts workshops in portrait and landscape painting at various locations such as The Clearing in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, Dillmans in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin and the Mainstreet Art Centre.

She studied art and design at the Art Institute of Chicago and William Harper College.  Through her long association with the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago, she has studied with distinguished artists such as Richard Schmid, David Leffel, Ted Goerschner, Ted Smuskiewicz, Clyde Aspevig and Scott Burdick.

Frankie has participated in many juried exhibitions and plein air painting competitions and won numerous awards for her paintings through the years.  Her work has appeared in shows and galleries all over the United States.  She is currently represented by the Fine Line Designs Gallery in Ephraim, Wisconsin. and Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She is a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society.

Visit her website to learn more and see her artwork:



The Teachers

in alphabetical order:

David Becker
David Becker studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, which is the reason that a large majority of his subject matter comes from his life here in the city that he loves. Becker went into illustrating for a major advertising agency and also started teaching around the country, but always found time for his favorite ambition, creating fine art paintings. David is the author of Watercolor Composition Made Easy and How to Sketch with Watercolor. He has reached Signature status in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and has won numerous awards for his work from watercolor societies around the country.

Visit his website:

Barb Benstein

Barb Bensteinís love of art started at an early age. She specializes in detailed pastel paintings of people and pets, as well as homes and landscapes. After working as a graphic artist for 10 years, Barb began painting full-time. Painting with pastels has always been her favorite medium. She loves the vibrancy of the colors and the richness of the texture when applied to sand paper. Barb has won many awards. Her commissioned paintings hang in Germany, Japan and Canada as well as throughout the United States.


Visit her website:

Mary Cyhaniuk
Mary Cyhaniuk's love and study of art began in high school. She took art history and painting classes at DePaul University, Chicago Art Institute, U.S.M.A., Johanna Gullick Studio, Kenosha Art Association, and Mainstreet Art Center. She won the People's Choice award at the Aeon Gallery "R-Town" Plein Air Competition in Richmond, IL in 2022. Her oil paintings have been displayed at the U.S.M.A. Library, Aeon Gallery, and Mainstreet Art Center.


Tom Henrichsen

Tom studied art at Illinois State University and the American Academy of Art. After working 20 years as a Caricature artist, he began to work full time as an oil painter. Tom has exhibited his paintings in juried shows across the Midwest and has won numerous awards. His paintings hang throughout the United States and Canada, and is currently represented by Eurekan Art in Eureka Springs, AR, Red Dot Gallery in the South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN and Mainstreet Gallery in Lake Zurich, IL. He is well known for his plein air landscapes.

John Markese
John Markese has been studying art since he was a young child and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in 2001. He specializes in figurative art and portraiture in a variety of media, but most notably, oil paint and pastels. He has a spontaneous style filled with lively brush work. As a teacher, John emphasizes the fundamentals of learning good technique and skills as students begin. He helps students break down their paintings into manageable parts: recognizing shapes, creating interest, and understanding color.

Visit his website:

Paige Olson
Paige Olson has always loved to create and paint.  She studied Painting and Drawing with a full scholarship at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with a BFA with honors.  She enjoyed the adventure of freelancing for many years painting murals and taught art for kids throughout college at the CCAD Saturday art program, as Arts and Crafts director at summer camps in Ohio and upstate New York and for homeschool groups in Chicago, Brooklyn and Manhattan.   She especially loves to help young people develop skills in observing and drawing from life and exploring a variety of mediums.  She has a great respect for and delight in what children can do!

Jan Oswald
Jan Oswald majored in art and early childcare education.  She taught art and music at the YMCA in Highland Park and has been teaching pre-school for over 25 years.  Pursuing her love of oil painting has become a major focus in recent years.  She works regularly in her own home studio, where many paintings are waiting their final touch. Jan has been teaching drawing and painting to children at the Mainstreet Art Center for several years.


Susan Ploughe
Susan Ploughe is an award-winning painter and enthusiastic instructor who loves helping people to develop their skills. Her work has been juried into many national exhibitions, and she has earned Signature Status in both the American Impressionist Society and Oil Painters of America. Susan's paintings and commissioned portraits are in private and corporate collections and her artwork has been featured in national art magazines. 

Visit her website:

Brian Sauerland
Brian first began working with pastels and oils while attending the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since then, he has concentrated mainly on landscapes as his primary subject matter. As a passionate and dedicated professional artist, he enjoys mentoring and sharing his art experiences with others while watching them grow as artists themselves. He has achieved Master status in the Chicago Pastel Painters, is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, and is a Master Circle Member of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). He also is a contributing writer for Pastel Journal Magazine.  

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