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Imagine & Wonder

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

We began the week with ART YARD Advanced Studio celebrating the Vernal Equinox with Teaching Artist Hawley Hussey.

Ed Rath, Ostara

Hawley summarizes: “I opened with a gorgeous visualization for the group to center our inspiration on the turning of the wheel of the year to OSTARA/Spring Equinox. I let everyone know that as soon as I begin they can begin art making or just close eyes and take a journey:

Pagan Seasonal Wheel

I then shared a story, Ostara and the White Hare told by a favorite story teller Carl Gough. What is so fabulous about this story teller is he edits in countless ancient and contemporary art images of this story. I was so happy to hear how much everyone enjoyed this really interesting tale while making gorgeous work on their own.

I also shared many images of favorite recipes I like to make on OSTARA:

Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Kay Clark; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Looking at the pagan seasonal wheel, I shared our focus was on Strength and the budding of new ideas and projects. I also mentioned that the group has worked with 3 cycles in the year! With Beltaine coming we will be expanding into our potential! During the visualization I shared images from around the world celebrating the Goddess Ostara and the symbolism of her inspirations and comrades the HARE and the EGG.

Painting by Amanda Clark

John Tenniel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I was stunned by what was created during this time. Thoughtful and thought provoking. I was drawn to each artwork and found I really wished for even more time to hear about everyone's thoughts and feelings and practice as they took this journey with me. How I look forward to BELTAINE! The generosity of this group is remarkable. Their process is so unique. I'm grateful to each person in this lesson for the thoughtful compliments and feedback.”

Delphine Levenson, Ostara

Hawley Hussey, In the Studio, in progress at Ostara

Vera Tineo, Ostara

Meridith McNeal, Ostara (in situ on the mantle)

Zeke Brokaw, Ostara

Karla describes her collage made from recycled photo album page, leaves, old floral wrapping paper, handmade paper and colored pencil. “Ostara - Winter to Spring is made from dried leaves over the dark of winter and bare branches. The equator transitions to early spring with anticipation of flowering plants and green. Under earth’s surface roots begin to nourish new growth and change.”

Karla Prickett, Ostara


We started a new cycle at ART YARD Art Matters at BNS after school program! Filling in for Dennis, Fatima Traore was on-site ART YARD Administrator working with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau for the session.

Evelyn tells us: Fatima and I were happy to see a couple familiar faces and plenty of new faces around the tables. We began a mixed media project which takes into greater depth a project that students worked on in the last cycle. In our Surrealist-inspired Eyes: Envisioning Spring project, students will combine drawing and collage to create finished pieces inspired by Rene Magritte's The False Mirror.

This week, students discussed Surrealism, a new vocabulary word for many, and noticed how example images by Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, and Man Ray (in that order below) have multiple interpretations and cause us to ask questions.

We embarked on the first element of the collage. Each student received or cut out a piece of paper shaped like the iris of an eye. Students brainstormed ideas and drew an image related to what they're excited for, planning, or hopeful for this spring--imagery included flowers, butterflies, scenes from Star Wars, birthday parties, and birds. They used colored pencils, watercolor, or a combination to add color to their images.

BNS artists hard at work

During critique, students noticed contrasts between the quality of shading resulting from the use of watercolor and colored pencil, respectively. They mentioned similarities between styles of shading of different drawings, as well as several works that spoke to each other due to a vibrant use of color. Several students admired Fatima's beautiful drawing of flowers, trees, and a cocoon.”

Critique at BNS


On Tuesday, ART YARD Advanced Studio went to see Teaching Artist Rachael Wren’s solo show “Still It Grows” at Rick Wester Fine Art in Chelsea. Rachael described her work, ideas, and process as the class looked around the gallery. She explained that her paintings combine elements of landscape and geometric abstraction, which she sees as two ways of navigating both art-making and life. Geometry, which is connected to drawing, references the ordered, the rational, and the intellectual. Landscape, which informs and inspires the color in her paintings, speaks to the random, the emotional, and the intuitive. The richness comes from bringing the two together.

Rachael Wren, Double Bind, 2021, Oil on canvas

Drawing from Rachael's work at Rick Wester Fine Art

Students looked closely at each painting and asked Rachael questions about color, layering, her process in the studio, and her inspirations. Next, Rachael asked each person to choose a painting to draw from. They could either sketch the entire piece, or focus on one square of the grid in a painting. Rachael wanted them to pay attention to the different kinds of brush marks in each piece as well as the color interactions. Finally, if they had time, Rachael encouraged the students to think of a place that has significance for them and try to represent it abstractly.

Rachael expounds: “The gallery was quiet as everyone focused and worked, and it was exciting to see the results in critique.

Vera made an animation with sound that captured what she saw as the somber mood of a 6x6 foot gray and brown painting, called “Thicket”,

Vera Tineo, responding to Rachael Wren "Thicket"

Ed drew from the other 6x6 foot piece in the gallery “Already There”, capturing the sense of space in a small pencil sketch and then zooming in closer to explore the individual marks and shapes that compose the painting.

Ed Rath, responding to Rachael Wren "Already There"

Meridith used markers to depict “Vale” from her vantage point at the gallery door. She continued working on the close up on her subway ride home!

Meridith McNeal, responding to Rachael Wren "Vale"

Elizabeth drew one grid square of a painting, combining crayon and sharpie to create interesting color combinations. She also created an abstract drawing related to a memory of cherry blossoms in spring.

Elizabeth Morales, Responding to Rachael Wren in close up and Cherry Blossoms in abstraction

Robin and Nayarit both focused on layering color and shape, making drawings that referenced Rachael’s work, while also becoming their own unique compositions.

Robin Grant, Responding to Rachael Wren and Brooklyn Block in abstraction

Nayarit Tineo, Responding to Rachael Wren (without glasses!)

I loved seeing everyone’s interpretations of my paintings, and I thank the class for making the trip to visit my show!”

Robin adds: “I would like to thank Rachael for a very informative night. I appreciated viewing her paintings. The elements that she used to develop her techniques helped me to plan my latest painting, which is part of my Subway Series. Through observation of her work I was able to apply layering in my painting.

I appreciate all the classes! I am able to take what I have learned and apply it to my own practice. This is important to me! Through education, I am working towards placement/view that will bring my work into the main stream. This is my main objective as an artist. Thanks to ART YARD for helping me achieve my aim!”

Robin Grant, Subway Series, Utica


It was an exciting art-filled day ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6 in Jersey City. Managing Director Dennis Buonagura enthuses: “In her multi leveled lesson plan, Teaching Artist Vera Tineo included a layer of patterns and texture to the mask project this week.

Vera presents her PowerPoint

Revolving around the theme of community (as healing), students at our partnership school, PS 6 in Jersey City, created their own patterns to add to their collaged and/or drawn masks.

Family = Community

Vera showed examples of natural/organic patterns and some which were “unnatural”. Discussions involving real rainbows vs. drawn rainbow patterns (and cheetah print and the like) became hot topics.