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Other Faces

We started the week with ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom with Teaching Artist Quentin Williamston presenting session titled The Many Faces We Wear/The Idea Of The Face in which we created a double self portrait in oil pastel on top of newsprint (or in the materials we had on hand) inspired by the drawing of William Kentridge.

William Kentridge, Other Faces, 2020

Quentin had us start with breakout rooms to discuss masks, perception of others in masks and whatever else is power point and questions brought up for our little groups. We have not done this in a while and it was really fun!

While these were not portraits from observation, but from imagination and feeling, Alison enthusiastically asserted that she “captured her essence!” in her self-portrait. The unmasked second portrait with its wide sunny smile reflecting the exuberance of mask mandates being lifted at her school.

Alison Guinet, The Many Faces We Wear

Likewise, Quentin and Ed while not in naturalistic color, certainly resemble themselves!

Quentin Williamston, The Many Faces We Wear

Ed Rath, The Many Faces We Wear

Karla worked in collage, colored pencil, pastel, ink on recycled cardboard, old dictionary page and folder. She adds: “If you cannot read someone’s eyes when masked does the person or personality still come thru!”

Karla Prickett, The Many Faces We Wear

Marilyn, also played with the eyes depicting her mask-less self with eyes closed.

Marilyn August, The Many Faces We Wear

I thought about how wearing a mask all day can make one feel so worn out. I did not go for a likeness of myself so much as a depiction of tired with mask, and even MORE exhausted once the mask is off at the end of the day. In an ART YARD first, I sustained an art injury struggling to draw with oil pastels on glossy pages of the New Yorker! I got a huge blister on my finger, which I can still feel as I type this recap.

Meridith McNeal, The Many Faces We Wear

Nayarit drew on top of complicated math homework.

Nayarit Tineo, The Many Faces We Wear

Vera created a video.

Vera Tineo, The Many Faces We Wear

Taking cues from breakout room conversations: Pat’s piece explores the perception of exaggerated features when unable to see the lower half of the face.

Pat Larash, The Many Faces We Wear

Zeke had the hysterical idea that he would have a crazed multi-featured chin hidden behind his mask!

Zeke Brokaw, The Many Faces We Wear

Delphine went deep into the struggle of wearing a mask all day long in school. How frustrating it is and how it can make her feel as if she is no longer herself or a face with features!

Delphine Levenson, The Many Faces We Wear

Quentin recaps: " I introduced William Kentridge, some of his works and stills for inspiration which provoked a discussion about mask wearing in society in relation to identity and expression during the pandemic. It also led us to think about how others appear to us that we’ve never seen without a mask and how we appear to those on the other side of that perspective. We collectively thought of different ways to identify people and how the mask could easily act as a protective agent. Following the discussion, we reviewed the steps for creating our new and own versions of William Kentridge’s pieces using the ideas of our “masked selves” vs our “imagined unmasked selves.” We went on to create 2 self portraits on recycled newspaper or paper for 25-30 minutes each-using oil pastels and a variety of different available mediums."


For her second ART YARD Advanced Studio in-person session in a cycle based on the work of Wassily Kandinsky, Teaching Artist Candy Heiland began with an overview of the previous lesson. In review: Kandinsky experienced synesthesia, a condition when one sense is activated by another. In his case, he saw colors and forms when he heard music. He felt abstraction was the purest form to express emotion. He felt spirit comes through artists as they work and he attempted to create inspired art that touched people’s hearts.

Wassily Kandinsky, Aquarella 6, 1911

We were challenged to continue work on our previous pieces, although it was not required. This weeks’ musical inspiration was provided by Miles Davis, with a little competition from our neighbors featuring The Cramps, Led Zeppelin and Barbara Streisand.

Vera continued to add another layer to her piece, using a label she picked up on her train ride and strips of packing tape. Alison said she would love to buy it so that she could take it back to France, that it was such a perfect visual of New York.

Vera Tineo, Synesthesia

Ijenna, joining us after a hiatus, jumped right in and created a dreamy piece with burgundy, evolving to blues and pinks and a star emerging.

Ijenna Duruaku, Synesthesia

Alison, returned to her piece from the previous week. The deep blue lightened toward the center, revealing a glowing abstract figure illuminating the rest of the page.

Alison Guinet, Synesthesia

Ed began a new piece. His previous weeks image reflected the ominous tones of Schoenbergs music. The flowing figures of that work, reemerged this week in the form of serpent like swirls, illuminated by colors much more reminiscent of Miles.

Ed Rath, Synesthesia

Meridith painted a new work, as well. This one, calmer and more flowing under Miles Davis's influence, it had and underlay of yellow movement than may have been guided by the additional music from overhead.

Meridith McNeal, Synesthesia

Candy continued by adding color to the image she lined out in ink, last week. Alison noted the similarities between that, and the art on her business card.

Candy Heiland, Synesthesia and Arcade

Everyone agreed that the chaos of our day melted in the companionship and positive energy of our group connection!


In our second to last day of this cycle of ART YARD Art Matters at BNS, we had students at a few different stages on their projects! Some finished working on adding color to their observational self portraits, while others had finished that project and began our next mini lesson.

Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau explains: “This lesson builds on what the students have already learned about observational portrait drawing and adds an imaginative element. Inspired by Surrealist artists, students will create pieces that juxtapose observational drawing and imagery from their imagination--in this case, envisioning something hopeful about the coming springtime.

Chalkboard with notes, BNS

We looked at René Magritte's The False Mirror (1929), which students found fascinating, unusual, and even creepy (owing to the lack of a highlight in the pupil of the eye!).

René Magritte, The False Mirror, (1929)

Then, students paired up with partners to make observational line drawings of one another's eyes. After working on eyes as part of their portraits, students were ready to dive in! We talked about a few additional details such as the tear duct, the lower eyelid, and volumetric shading.

For the next step, students drew imaginative scenes based on their intentions or hopes for this spring--for example, a peaceful sunset--within the round iris they'd drawn. A few students' drawings featured dragons, which would certainly make for an exciting spring!

During critique, we looked at all the drawings together: self portraits and surrealist eyes. Students gave perceptive compliments about their peers' blending, use of vivid colors, hand-lettering, and depiction of hair. I'm excited to see all the students who finished their self portraits dive in with the surrealist eye project during next week's lesson.”


Today at ART YARD Art Matters at PS6 in Jersey City Managing Director Dennis Buonagura and Teaching Artist Vera Tineo began a new cycle exploring the topic of community.

Dennis reports: “Teaching Artist Vera Tineo gave 4th and 5th graders at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6, great insight into her 'community'. She explained about her life in Queens with her family, her colleagues in the visual arts education world (and she created art which includes them) and others she sees daily and have all become her own community.

Faith Ringgold, "The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles", 1996

Students viewed well-selected and very pertinent images depicting communities including Faith Ringgold's The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, 1996. They answered several questions pertaining to their own communities and drew images of items representing them. Some students even developed icons or emojis to illustrate things that they enjoy doing within their communities. Colored pencils and drawing paper were used for this first segment of their lessons with Vera.

Jason drew a portrait of his teacher, Ms. Torres, to reflect someone in his community who he wanted to honor. Others drew cards from board games because they enjoy playing them with their families. Lots of students drew their pets, which made Dennis very happy."

PS 6 Student Jason, creating portrait of Ms. Torres

Vera adds. “It was an excellent start to this cycle! This lively conversation enriched our understanding of the meaning of community, going beyond family to include those we choose to surround ourselves with. I am pleased to report that everyone faced their challenged, persevered and created fabulous pieces.”

Further note: ART YARD BKLYN is beautifully represented at PS 6 in true school bulletin board fashion. Mrs. Tolentino,once again, has gone above and beyond the call of duty and posted every students' self portrait (from last cycle's lesson with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau) - together with very eloquent essays - in a beautiful display outside her classroom. We are very honored and proud to be included in the halls of PS 6!


My Making & Seeing Art in NYC students at Wagner Collage completed the three part session The Source: Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory inspired by the work of ART YARD Artist Candy Heiland’s oil pastels on black paper drawings. We borrowed actual figurines from Candy and paired that with pieces of elaborately patterned paper - the first piece is drawn from observation, the second (completed as homework) from a photo and the third from memory (shown in that order). The results are fantastic!

Lance DeSorbo, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Maurane Dubois, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Alison Guinet, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Dillon Burke, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Dayna Sherwin, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Isabella Anton, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Julianna Bevilacqua, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Agathe Yabit Tita, Drawing from Observation, Photo and Memory

Check back later, as I will update with more art when the pieces are completed!


I hope you have an exciting art-filled weekend!


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