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Catapulting into the Astounding at ART YARD

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

“[ART] is healing. [ART] holds things together...teach and help people realize the power and agency they have.” — Prince, The Beautiful Ones

Last week at ART YARD Advanced Studio, students brought together elements of their previous lessons – working from observation of a still life and using acrylic paint – to make something new. Teaching artist Rachael Wren responded to the success of last week’s ink flower drawings by increasing the complexity of this week’s set-up, materials, and concepts.

Students painted citrus fruit floating in glasses of water on complementary color backgrounds.

They began by doing small thumbnail sketches to determine a composition before launching into their 12 x 12 inch paintings. Rachael encouraged them to think about what they were looking at as shapes of color and to pay careful attention to working out to the edges of their paintings.

The results were at once quite representational and very abstract, not to mention thoroughly eye-catching!


Last night’s Advanced Studio moved beyond college-level work and into graduate-thesis-level concepts. Teaching Artist Ed Rath began the session reading us the quote “The world is my representation.” (Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 1818). This catapulted us into a most esoteric and astounding philosophical conversation about the notion of reflection.

Through this deeply intellectual lens Ed showed us two paintings which use reflection as a way to pull the viewer both into and outside of the picture plane.

First, we examined Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor,) painted by Diego Velázquez in 1656. We discussed how the artist integrated a self- portrait into his famous group portrait of the family of King Philip IV of Spain.

Diego Velázquez, "Las Meninas", 1656

Second, looked at Bar at the Folies-Bergere 1882, by Eduard Manet, and studied how he uses the mirror behind the main figure to show the action going on in front of the picture plane.

Eduard Manet, "Bar at the Folies-Bergere", 1882

Working in pencil we created preliminary sketches for a self-portrait, set within an interior space, with a reflective component taking the viewer outside the picture space.

Ed asked us to explore the following question: How can you show what is behind you and what is in front of you in 2-D representation? Ed also asked us to keep in mind who and where is the viewer of the painting, and how are they situated in relation to the main figure in the painting.

I confess that I became so engrossed in this deeply compelling lesson and the discussion that followed during critique that I neglected to take photos of the completed preliminary drawings. I assure you, they are stellar.


Les Amis de ART YARD, our first annual benefit at Appétit Bistro in Port Chester, NY was a resounding success!!

The superb French lunch, beverages and the impeccable service was provided by Edwin Montoya owner of Appétit Bistro and his hard working staff.

The proceeds from this event have insured that ART YARD Advanced Studio, held each Monday evening at Kentler International Drawing Space, will continue through the spring semester!!

We are so very grateful.

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