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A quietly magical glow

Updated: Feb 4

This week in Advanced Studio on Zoom ART YARD Artist Jane Huntington presented a challenging session entitled Life Drawing: What is it for? Exploring lessons from Jackson Pollock’s Early Sketchbooks.


Jane explains: “We began the lesson with a review of Jackson Pollock’s early sketches leading into later, painted works full of energy and gesture in his abstractions.


Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Animals and Figures), 1942

I explained the process of short pose figure drawing-get the figure down quickly, focus on the gesture, and forget about judging yourself during the process. The results were impressive, and the hour sped by.

Some participants, like Ed (who prefers long poses), had a lot of experience drawing from the figure, but for Marilyn and Jules, this was the first time.

I (Jane) drew mine using a 2h and HB pencil, as I was focused on getting the anatomy right along with the gesture.

Jane Huntington, Figure Studies

Ajani used ink to make their drawings of pure gesture and line–differing weights denoted shadow.

Ajani Russell, Figure Studies

Assata used a thick pen to draw her figures-making bold marks full of energy and movement.

Assata Benoit, Figure Studies (use arrows to scroll through images)

Ed, ever humorous, made use of his wry, illustrative style in his contour pencil drawings.

Ed Rath, Figure Studies (use arrows to scroll through images)


Marilyn, on her maiden voyage drawing from the figure, used pure pencil outlines in her investigation.


Marilyn August, Figure Studies (use arrows to scroll through images)

Although it was her first time figure drawing, Jules elected to use pen to draw her figures in her exploration.

Jules Lorenzo, Figure Studies

Kevin, focused on shape and form–borrowing from Jackson’s early sketches, used cubes to describe heads, and divided up the individual body parts with guide lines and rendered shadow.

Kevin Anderson, Figure Studies (use arrows to scroll through images)

Meridith did individual water color gesture paintings with a sure and flowing hand.

(use arrows to scroll through images)

Meridith McNeal, Figure Studies


Vee took to their i-pad to animate their lyrical drawings.

Vee Tineo, Figure Studies

Next week will be part 2! Maybe next week I’ll take a page out of the other artists books and will take advantage of other, bolder mediums like ink and water color!”



This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio in person in our studio at BWAC ART YARD Artist Evelyn Beliveau presented the second of three sessions investigating point of view.


Evelyn summarizes: “We continued exploring the range of effects possible in still life painting, with a mix of returning and new participants in this lesson. Newcomers caught up on the ideas from last week, including the variables in play—colored background, distance and height of POV, overlapping or cropping of objects, centered or off-center compositions—and tips like using a brightly colored underpainting to set off other color choices. Returning participants worked with the same objects they’d used in Week 1, but changed as many of the other variables as possible.


After a diligent working period, the resulting paintings were strikingly diverse. We noted similarities and differences among the Week 2 work, as well as comparing returning artists’ work from Weeks 1 and 2.


Ed dove into Albers-ian color theory. In his Week 1 painting, he'd placed a vase on a sheet of brown paper, bringing out the orange in the vase. This week, he placed the same vase on a brilliant orange sheet, and the vase appears brown in his new painting. We also noted how the objects huddle toward the back corner in Week 1, while they are ranged across the table in receding perspective in Week 2. I was particularly struck by the framing effect of the edges of the table and the overlapping corners of the three sheets of paper in this week’s painting.

Ed Rath, Still Life ll


Sigrid’s two paintings lend her subject matter—a felt-shrouded piece of equipment studded with gleaming knobs—a quietly magical glow. Her composition this week is frontally presented and rectilinear, as opposed to the curves and diagonals of last week; like Ed’s, her objects seem to be coming out of hiding. Many admired her rendering of the knobs and the wooden table surface. I noted that this pair of paintings speak to each other as a cohesive series.

Sigrid Dolan, Still Life ll

Meridith made her first painting of this lesson cycle, choosing complimentary colors on a strong diagonal as the background for her cluster of objects. She received compliments for the personality visible in her mark-making and the rhythm of the composition. While she proclaimed her struggles with the medium, I find the painting to be full of breath and life in the color and calligraphic brushwork.

Meridith McNeal, Still Life l

After taking a relatively low and zoomed-out vantage point last week, I (Evelyn) zoomed in on my objects from above this week, placing the ceramic cup inside the paper takeout container. My new painting was compared to digital painting (because, we theorized, of the quality of the shadows and the glimpses of the green underpainting visible between shapes) and received compliments for the highlights on the ceramic and the transformation of the paper dish.

Evelyn Beliveau, Still Life ll

Molly’s second painting of her iPad, charging cable, and hairclip has a radically different composition from her first, opening up dynamic angles in contrast to her grounded framing last week. The three main shapes of shadow, reflection, and black screen make a strong sequence across the rectangle, and the clusters of narrow shapes at the top left and bottom right anchor the composition. She received compliments on her very different but still striking use of purple.


Molly Willis, Still Life ll

Assata, new to the lesson, made a painting with three key players (as Meridith noted): the vivid underlying wash of green, the lushly painted curves and markings of a ceramic vase, and the velvety, intense black of a phone screen. The latter takes a strong diagonal position, like a fulcrum at the bottom of the painting, with a mysterious, almost talismanic quality. The depth of the black painted over the green prompted Ed to share insights on color theory and the use of characteristic ground colors at various European painting academies in past centuries to achieve subtle effects of light.

Assata Benoit, Still Life l

Heartened by the robust discussion, I’m looking forward to our final week, when returning participants will truly get to know their objects by tackling a second or third painting with another change in variables.”



Other Art News

Congratulations to AYB Board Member Cecile Chong on her latest installation Chicken Little - Lost in Transmission for the lobby of 125 Maiden Lane. The piece considers the impact of fear mongering in an increasingly digital world. Drawing on her own multi-cultural identity, being born in Ecuador to Chinese parents, Chong’s multimedia practice navigates the complexities of otherness through her material and historical explorations. 

From the press release: “Chicken Little depicts a “crumbling sky” formed from organically modeled foam panels, deftly painted with a white and blue wash and layered with encaustic dipped, dried flora. For this iteration of the installation, the fragments dramatically cascade down the marble walls on each end of the lobby, framing a series of heaping, floor based figures that are dripping in the same luscious, waxy materials. Through merging the synthetic with the natural, the installation acts as a symbol of our man-made attempts at saving the increasingly fragile and decaying natural world around us.” On view through November 29, 2024.


Note new dates for receptions for ART YARD Artist Fatima Traore's solo exhibition Vivid Lives at Rio lll Gallery!


Evelyn, Vee, Ed and I attended the opening of AYB supporter’s exhibition Nicolette Reim Loss of Words at Noho M55 Gallery, 548 West 28th Street, Suite 634, NY, NY. The work on view is text based without referencing specific words -- brightly colored letters are cut and skewed and rearranged in manner that is reminiscent of faded ads one spies layered on the exterior bricks of older building around NYC.

Evelyn reviews the exhibition: "The use of letterforms and torn paper is evocative of the layers of overlapping, ripped and reaffixed posters to be found on public walls and scaffolds—but here, executed with precise craftsmanship and careful attention to color relationships. The lettering on Reim’s fragmented layers is seemingly randomized, removing the scraps of meaning that strain to be seen in the fragmentary posters we encounter in the world, and instead pointing back to the letters themselves: using their forms as shapes to be played with and recombined. By refusing to let letters coalesce into words, Reim calls attention to the meaning we expect to encounter when letters appear. For me, these works serve as a reminder that the word or sign for something is not the same as the thing itself—that language is a screen through which meaning can pass, but never without morphing a little." On view through February 17, 2024.


This weekend you can see ART YARD Saxophonist José Carlos Cruzata Revé perform at the Joyce Theater in I Didn’t Come To Stay.

José Carlos Cruzata Revé, & dancers perform at the Joyce Theater; photo by Titus Ogilvie Laing

“Tap, in any context, is at once a form of dance and music, and the company leans into that oneness, setting up porous relationships between the five-piece band and the nine dancers, all of whom consider themselves musicians. Early on, the band members leave their instruments to gamely join the dancers in a passage of body percussion — sneakers and loafers and flats stamping alongside tap shoes. Later the saxophonist José Carlos Cruzata Revé wends his way through a cohort of dancers, as if it’s right where he belongs.” Siobhan Burke, Sole Brings a Party to the Joyce Theater, New York Times, January 31, 2024.

"Saxophonist José Carlos Cruzata Revé, who embraced this hybrid role so naturally and with such joy, that he took a very key role in this performance, a quietly confident and impressive dancer in his own right, he acted as a strong binding force between the two groups of performers.” Splash Magazine, Feb 2, 2024



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