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Like a glowing Psychic Reader sign, faintly lit

Meditation on Surrealist Techniques/Into the Quiet was an abbreviated lesson on the history of Surrealism in Art. Teaching Artist Maraya Lopez showed the ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom various examples of early surrealist works, as well as, many from young Contemporary artists who are influenced by Surrealism. Two surrealist techniques were introduced (free association and automatic drawing) which served as the foundation for the day’s creative exercise, which was executed in two parts.

Paintings by Leonora Carrington, Julie Curtiss, Firelei Baez and Rene Magritte:

Maraya explains: “The first part of the class, I created a game using free association where I read prompts to the class in which they responded spontaneously by writing down the first word that came to mind. They then created a surrealist inspired artwork based on the words they had written down. I encouraged the class to implement color and to experiment freely with mark making. For the second half the students were introduced to the term, automatic drawing. They then created a second art piece using automatic drawing.

I was very surprised and happy to see the many ways students interpreted the lesson and their individual approaches.

Karla’s free association piece was reminiscent of Charles Demuth’s I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold. It was a delight to see.

Vera’s use of digital media and her proficiency with the medium in such a short amount of class time. Wayne delicately captured a meditative quality in both of his works by having a deep understanding of the surrealists drawing techniques.

Sarah played with symbolism to create a fantastical flower with a tooth.

Both Robin and Diane formulated an imaginative narrative which spoke to the energy of NYC and helped to animate their pictures in my mind, like a real surrealist dream dancing in my head.

Madison’s imagery was reminiscent of her childhood, including a Mickey Mouse and floating Dixie cups in space.

Jane’s treasure chest was magical like her unicorn in the middle of 34th St., from last week’s assignment.

Delphine’s image of the hand was like a glowing Psychic Reader sign, faintly lit under a broken East Village streetlamp.”

Zeke and Pat (using her non-dominant hand to further switch things up) both excelled in an electric vibrant line quality.

Marilyn, Meridith and Wayne made references to fruits and weather in their first pieces and welcomed the doodling aspect of the automatic drawing:

Sigrid's enigmatic moth scene really spoke to the group.

We loved Maraya's Philip Guston-esque pieces!


Color was a central theme during last week’s Advanced Studio critique, so Teaching Artist Rachael Wren decided to dedicate this week’s ART YARD Advanced Studio in-person at FiveMyles class to color theory principles and techniques. She went over the idea that every color has three properties: hue — the color family it is in, value — how light or dark the color is, and saturation — how bright or dull the color is. She pointed out that lightness and brightness do not necessarily correlate: a color can be high in value (light) but low in saturation (dull) and vice versa. Next the class reviewed the color wheel and complementary colors. Rachael stressed that two high saturation complementary colors can be mixed together to create a neutral brown or gray.

Page from Rachael's power point presentation

Robin, Nayarit, Vera, Rachael and I experimented with this concept by creating complementary color scales. Seeing the colors change as they were mixed together was fascinating, and everyone created multiple scales, noticing how different the middle, neutral mixtures were from each other.

For the second part of the lesson, Rachael asked the students to create a watercolor drawing of their hand using a cubist style and a complementary color palette that incorporated colors of both high and low saturation. The class looked at Picasso’s cubist portraits for inspiration. However, since everyone was so involved in mixing the color scales, they didn’t have time to fully delve into these pieces.

At critique, everyone said that they found the lessons challenging and interesting. Nayarit mentioned that she has been working on a painting at home that was giving her trouble with color, and now she has new skills to address it with. We also talked about these color concepts as being tools rather than rules. Robin said that she felt resistant to thinking about color in this sort of structured way because she likes to feel more freedom when she makes her work. Rachael encouraged her and the others to think about color as vocabulary — the more words you know, the richer your expression becomes.


Such a relief! Well - actually - 10 different reliefs!

Students at the ART YARD Art Matters at Brooklyn New School finalized their pieces with Teaching Artist Fatima Traore ("Relief Sculptures from Nature") by carefully buffing with extra-fine steel wool.

Using slow circular motions with extra-fine and extra-extra-fine steel wool pads, students brought out the relief details by rubbing away much of the black matte paint, applied last week, and creating sparkling X-ray-like low relief works.

During the critique, students associated their works with Autumn and its biggest holiday - Halloween - identifying the veins of leaves as spiderwebs. Additionally, they felt that the black and silver combination gave an eerie effect to their pieces


After more than a year of remote learning, we are about ready to begin IN PERSON classes at PS 6, our Jersey City partnership school. Dennis met (virtually) with the school's principal and assistant principal to discuss details - which included updated protocol and procedures. One basic change is that we'll 'travel' from classroom to classroom thereby reducing the time students spend in more public spaces than necessary. GREAT IDEA! A start date has not yet been set but we will continue to conduct lessons at the school weekly on Fridays. We are greatly looking forward to our continued relationship with the students and staff at PS 6.

Dennis teaching at PS6 when we were last in person!


TOMORROW Saturday, Oct 9, 1-5:30pm is the last chance to see our exhibition The Way We See It at FiveMyles!!!


Also on Saturday, ART YARD Teaching Artist Iviva Olenick invites you to stop by the 10th Annual Kings County Fiber Festival at Old Stone House & Washington Park (336 3rd Street). From 11am-1pm to join Iviva and others carding, spinning and weaving cotton grown in the park!

Artwork by Iviva Olenick


Join ART YARD board member Cecile Chong Wednesday October 13th 6-8pm for the artists reception of her exhibition _other Nature - Cicadian Rhythms at the Sugar Hill Children's Museum, 898 St. Nickolas Avenue at 155th Street, NYC! Congratulations Cecile!!


We hope that you will join us for Les Amis de ART YARD!! Thanks to the generous donation of ART YARD board member and restaurant owner Edwin Montoya, 100% of the ticket sales will go directly to support our art education programs for kids, teens, adults and practicing artists.


💗 💗 💗 💗

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