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Healing Hands

This week we had a fantastic ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom session with Teaching Artist Wayne Gross (just in from a Red Eye from Rio!).

Wayne summarizes: “It is always so inspiring to see how the Advance Studio artists interpret a session and create exceptional works. I was delighted to see how the group took two very different artists and were able to incorporate elements of their work into their own. The Egon Schiele exhibition at the Neue Gallerie in New York was one component to the class, the second being the Etel Adnan exhibition currently on show at the Guggenheim in New York.

Egon Schiele, Self Portrait with Hands on Chest and Etel Adnan, Untitled

During critique it was fantastic to see how Ed’s work reflected Munch’s “The Scream”. Similarly, Jane’s portraits brought to mind Francis Beacon. Zeke’s three pieces had a strong resemble to Orthodox religious icons, not to mention Karla’s cubist inspired piece.

Ed Rath, Healing Hands, Self Portrait with Northern Lights

Jane Huntington, Healing Hands l & ll

Zeke Brokaw, Healing Hands l, ll & lll

Karla Prickett, Healing Hands

So many wonderful works created by a very talented group who reflected on the idea of Healing Hands and how portraiture and the incorporation of hands can add so much meaning and poignancy to a work. It was enlightening to note Ed’s comment regarding the Old Masters and how they would have teams work on various parts of a given work, but always complete the face and hands themselves.

Wayne Gross, Healing Hands

Karla adds: “Thanks to Wayne for presenting these two artists in the same lesson! I was intrigued and found even more to see and read about both. It was obvious their work was both a desire and a need to create and express. I chose to pull inspiration from Egon’s expression of hands and Etel’s abstraction of shapes from her environment. The “work of hands” and architectural drawings are central to my recent studio work. Great to learn about these two phenomenal artists!”

Meridith McNeal, Healing Hands

Maraya Lopez, Healing Hands

Robin Grant, Healing Hands, Golden Hands

Delphine Levenson, Healing Hands

Vera Tineo, Healing Hands, In Repose)

Vera Tineo, Healing Hands, Dominos

Marilyn August, Healing Hands


New cycle! New students! New classroom! New lesson!

Our classroom at BNS!

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore asked students of ART YARD Art Matters at the Brooklyn New School to discuss the need, and possibly, of healing and restoring Planet Earth - and lots of clever ideas immediately popped up.

Fatima and Dennis learned that these students were very focused on our environment and, in particular, our oceans. Perfect transition - students made a list of sea life that is in need of protection. The list included sharks, turtles, whales, seahorses, and dolphins. Many students had seen the documentary My Octopus Teacher and all agreed to add the octopus to our list.

My Octopus Teacher Poster

While only in the drafting stage, students started working very quickly on what will be diptychs - showing the creatures as they should be (living in a clean environment unaltered by humans) and in their current state (with trash, chemicals, and other dangers). They built a list of hazardous items which included bags, bottles, oil, food wrappers, balloons, and face masks.

Dottie's detailed drawing became somewhat interactive - she listed the debris items found in the ocean on the back of her work and, during critique, asked the other students to find each one in the drawing.

Dottie Moore, Octopus Drawing

Every student participated in "compare and contrast" and no two sets of comments were alike. Compliments were excellent - and students did not want to leave when our time was up.


This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at BWAC Teaching Artist Candy Heiland continued the lesson of using sketchbooks to generate ideas. We worked on thumbnail drawings from the art on display at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition.

Candy introduces the lesson

Candy explains: “The objective of this lesson was to heal ourselves by learning skills to keep us engaged with our art, even when we are lacking inspiration. As Picasso said, Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

This, like the lessons before it, was focused on process, not product. How do we keep ourselves engaged, even when we want to give up? She emphasized that, although it may look easy to others, we often face many struggles within.”

Naya at work

Interestingly, several people, voiced resistance to the lesson and had trouble starting. As we fanned out through the gallery to draw, Candy approached each person to hear their concerns and help them to move through them. By critique, the mood of the room was overwhelmingly positive. Vera teased Candy that she was like a therapist.

Robin Grant found inspiration in investigating techniques for drawing perspective.

Naya Jackson did a wonderful piece based on an image of a fishbowl with the added gift of a message included. She also brought us delicious crème puffs she had created!

Ed Rath filled his sketchbook with images for an upcoming painting.

Abby focused on the architectural detail of a window leading us to want to peer into the mystery outside. She also found her sketchbook a great way to pass the time, during the week when work provided downtime.

Abby Johnson, Sketch from observation at BWAC

Meridith drew the bicycle rickshaw parked in our studio.

Meridith McNeal, Sketch from observation at BWAC

Vera Tineo drew from a painting within a painting and then, created an inspired drawing. She brought Nayarit’s sketchbook to share her weeks-worth of lovely images. It was apparent that she had found a technique that resonated with her!

Candy recommended two books that had been beneficial in her own exploration of healing: Art and Fear by David Bales and Ted Orland and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Candy Heiland, Sketch from observation at BWAC

We were also graced with a visit from Meridith’s friend musician friend, José Carlos Cruzata Revé who offered insightful observations during critique. His loving presence warmed the room. Do not miss the chance to spend the evening with him in a special festive Advanced Studio in person at BWAC on December 21 from 5:30-7:30pm!

Advanced Studio Critique


More Art News!

Congratulations to ART YARD Board Member Cecile Chong on her exhibition _other Nature - Cicadian Rhythm at The Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling, 898 St. Nicholas Avenue at 155th Street in Manhattan is spectacular! I was thrilled to attend a special event this week welcoming new Director Rob Fields and spend time in Cecile's installation.

Teaching Artist Reg Lewis introduced us to the work of remarkable artist Winfred Rembert in an Advanced Studio session in March. Be sure to check out the large exhibition of Winfred Rembert artworks on view through December 18, 2021 at Fort Gansevoort New York, 5 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY, 10014. Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Winfred Rembert artworks on view at Fort Gansevoort New York

Related and also of interest to add to your reading list: Chasing Me To My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South by Winfred Rembert.

Chasing Me To My Grave by Winfred Rembert on the shelf at Green Light Bookstore, Fort Greene, Brooklyn


We're always ready to lend a helping (and healing) hand!


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