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Measured, Fractured, Divided & a Whole extra day

This week ART YARD Advanced Studio artists worked with Teaching Artist Rachael Wren on Fractured Self Portraits. Rachael presented the concept to inspire the group to think about composition within a grid format, hone observational skills and to encourage them to consider both representational and abstract elements within the same drawing.

We began by looking at photo collages by David Hockney paying close attention to the areas of connection vs. areas of disjointedness. We discussed how like Hockney we might use both in the same self-portrait image by shifting views, zooming in and out, repeating features, and scrambling the location of features, with a final result giving the viewer sense of dislocation while still looking/feeling like the person.

David Hockney, "Nicholas Wilder Studying Picasso", 1982

Many of us were new to working with a T-square to create a grid, so that was our first challenge. Fortunately, Kevin proved well versed in T-square use, and patiently helped many other artists!

Drawing from observation in a hand held mirror, artists chose to work in pencil, charcoal stick, or vine charcoal.

Jeffrey very cleverly bent his mirror to create a “fun house” elongated image which we all really loved.

At critique we observed that our Fractured Self Portraits in progress are all quite different and unique within a limited set of parameters.

I was also quite pleased with the informal discussion we had about the new exhibition at Kentler The Cost of Entry by Sa’dia Rehman. Our artists had very insightful comments about the work, the installation and placement of the work on view. This really helped me appreciate how Advanced Studio participants are honing their critical thinking. They are looking at the gallery in a curatorial way as well as appreciative artist viewers.


At MS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens this week students were busy with testing. We will begin our next cycle of classes next week.


Students at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6, may have asked themselves 'do you see what I see?' during this week's lessons.

ART YARD Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau developed a step-by-step lesson plan in portraiture. Students gathered around the board to view images (selected by Evelyn) of of various artists' self-portraits. Students compared and contrasted the works and participated in rounds of questions based on their close observations.

Evelyn demonstrated by drawing various face shapes on the board and how to divide the face to determine the proper placement of eyes, ears, nose and mouth as well as tips for drawing front vs. side views of eyelashes, nostrils and hair.

Students chose partners and drew, in pencil, front views - all in preparation for their upcoming lesson on drawing SELF portraits.

During critique, many remarked on how recognizable the portraits were and lots of compliments were offered.

Evelyn was assisted by Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji.


Congratulations to Vera who gave her first Artists Talk for studio members at Manhattan Graphics where she is a Fall 2019 Scholarship Artist and Keyholder.


Art to see this weekend!

I encourage you to visit Figureworks Gallery, 168 North 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn this Sunday afternoon, March 1st from 1-4pm for the closing party of The Geometry of Fortune a solo exhibition of bold bright paintings by Michael Sorgatz.

Michael Sorgatz, "King for a Day", acrylic on board, 12” x 18”

It will be of particular interest to ART YARD Advanced Studio artists as we will exhibit our work at Figureworks in June 8 – July 26, 2020!


If you thought T-squares a bit of a numerical challenge, here is an even greater conundrum! This is how you can tell if it is a Leap Year:

A year may be a leap year if it is evenly divisible by 4. Years that are divisible by 100 (century years such as 1900 or 2000) cannot be leap years unless they are also divisible by 400. (For this reason, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 were.)

If a year satisfies both the rules above, then it is a leap year.

Happy Leap Year!

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