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Real As A Dream

This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Teaching Artist Jane Huntington introduced us to the work of her talented friend Alexandra Zevin (1958-2022). Jane thoughtfully shared Alexandra’s passions and larger body of artwork before moving on to her highly symbolic dream paintings. In keeping with our Planet Earth theme - all of this work is environmental in nature.

Alexandra Zevin, Dream Painting

Jane reports: “I am so pleased that the class went very well. I showed 10 watercolors of Alex’s, and the class worked diligently with superb results!

My watercolor, illustrated a vague dream from the night before–on the patio by the pool in the backyard of my family home in CT. It was night, there was a glow from the pool’s lights, a dense forest of trees and shrubs in the near background that separated our property from our neighbors. I’m lying on a deck chair, next to someone, who it was I don’t remember.

Jane Huntington, Dream

Meridith’s vividly followed the non-sensical spacial relationships that happen in dreams–a recollection of her grandparents knotty pine kitchen cabinets leading across the dirt road to what would have been Buzzards Bay but in the dream was a gorge the size of the grand canyon, at the base was revealed to be strewn with prayer flags.

Meridith McNeal, Dream

Zeke made a piece that was not dream specific, but dreamy and influenced by Alex’s work in color, form and feel.

Zeke Brokaw, Dream

Vera Tineo, Dream Figure

Madison and Ed both drew recurring dreams based out of childhood–Madison featuring a plate of cookies and seeing herself leaving, Ed was talking to an extremely tall version of his father in a rather formal room, complete with chandelier.

Madison Mack, Dream (in progress)

Ed Rath, Dream - My Dad 10 Feet Tall

Kevin said that he didn’t remember his dreams very much, but was a huge daydreamer and liked to walk in Prospect Park. Which spurred a fascinating conversation about day dreaming! His drawing, still in progress, was done in pastel and illustrated a pattern of fall colors.

Kevin Anderson, Day Dream (in progress)

In a depiction of a recurring dream, Pat drew a grid with two snake like trains on it. She said that she always dreams of missing a train.

Pat Larash, Dream

Vera made a sculpture in clay of an open armed, gender non-specific character focusing on gesture. She said that she hoped to evoke a gesture of joy.

Karla also dealt with the non-sensical special relationships of dreams–going in one room, and being blocked”. Karla responds: “Thanks to Jane for a really interesting lesson inspired by Alexandra’s dream paintings! The dialogue was fun and inspiring!! A recurring dream prompted my drawing: I find myself in a warehouse type building trying to find my way out only to to encounter doors which open to rooms of very bizarre people to which I respond my continuing down more hallways, stairs or elevators never finding my way out before waking up. Always, dark and haunting and a relief to wake from!”

Karla Prickett, Dream


Advanced Studio in person met at 180 Franklin Avenue in our exhibition Towards A Brave New World. This drawing session was open to the public, however was not the average “drink and draw”. While we did serve wine and snacks, we went the introspective and thought provoking ART YARD route. I was the teaching artist. After an introduction to the exhibition, I challenged the participating artists who included ART YARD Advanced Studio, friends and family as well as building residents, to respond to the concept of BRAVERY.

Elizabeth at work

Little did I know the depths that our eclectic group would plumb! In fact, our critique was so profoundly engaging and open that we went at least an hour over time in deepest dialogue! This collaboration with the management of 180 Franklin, which included our exhibition Towards A Brave New World and accompanying public programs, has well exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to working with them again.

Elizabeth worked in marker to create a symbolic piece which gets to the nuts and bolts of the bravery sharing and communication can hold.

Elizabeth Morales, Bravery

Annie B. shared a deep disquiet with venetian blinds which we as a group explored and certainly felt the response from our own point of view! Annie used Golnar Adili’s piece The King-Seat of My Eye is the Place for the Thought of Your Repose (شاهنشین چشم من تکیه گه خیال توست), as a jumping off point for her slashed paper collage.

Golnar Adili (left), Annie Beliveau, Bravery (right)

Jordan approached the conundrum of conjuring up a visual when one has Aphantasia (a phenomenon in which people are unable to visualize imagery). They worked with landscape and figurative elements. Challenging themselves to work with a loose stroke in their non-dominant hand.

Jordan Moran, Bravery

As an architect by trade German is used to making tight rendered drawings. He took this session as an opportunity to play! Creating a moving portrait on an accordion folded page.

German Batista, Bravery

We all know that self-critical voice which points out flaws. Annie M. tackled these kind of thoughts in a beautifully rendered classical self-portrait in vine charcoal.

Annie Moultra, Bravery

Ed explains his piece: “This preliminary study depicts three visually impaired people navigating through a cacophony of heavy traffic, pedestrians, and bike riders, down west 23rd Street during the morning rush hour. I am always humbled seeing how these people face the world each day with such fortitude.”

Ed Rath, The Bravest People In The World

Evelyn shares her thoughts on the session and on her artwork: “Such a thought-provoking session yesterday! The "bravery" prompt brought out a lot of vulnerability and experimental spirit in all of us. The responses were visually quite varied, but many were connected during the discussion by a common thread of facing or unveiling personal fears."

Evelyn explains: "My own series of drawings extended a line of thinking I've been exploring in my work lately, but (encouraged by Meridith and Vee) I pushed myself to address it without using face imagery, which is my comfort zone. So far loosely titled "The self-destroying system and the intervention to save it from itself", the drawings fancifully depict the rods and screws embedded in my spine from the surgery I had at age 14 to stave off the life-threatening, inexorable distortion of my spine and ribcage. These drawings form part of a broader reflection on my teenage anxieties surrounding the surgery and the unsettling potential futures that I sidestepped during that moment.”

Evelyn Beliveau, Bravery. Animated by Vera Tineo.

In her own work Vera responded humorously as herself as Napoleon in several digital variants.

Vera Tineo, Bravery

I was busy teaching thus did not have time to complete a piece. However, I thought of a concept – medals for bravery. Then roughly sketched my hand holding my key chain with a silver pendant of Menerva – Goddess of wisdom, invention and the arts. Yes, I’ll take some bravery in that trifecta! I finished the piece later in the week in painted cut and shaped paper.

Meridith McNeal, Bravery sketch and Bravery sculpture


This week in ART YARD Portfolio at LaGuardia we began by discussing updated photographs of student artworks. This is an important step as we ready our participants to present the best possible representations of their work.

We then move on to an important portfolio project -- depicting interiors. For mater inspiration we looked at works by Dawn Clements, Roxa Smith, Maira Kalman and David Hockney (in that order below).

We discussed the fact that portfolio reviewers are looking for personal responses to portfolio projects. With that in mind, students were given the freedom to select materials as they drew the interior space around them from observation. Note these are all photos taken at the end of our session, which means after dark. Works will be completed if still in progress and re-photographed in daylight.

Maya, Interior Drawn from Observation

Jessica, Interior Drawn from Observation

Charlie, Interior Drawn from Observation

Elizabeth, Interior Drawn from Observation (in progress)

Roxannah, Interior Drawn from Observation (in progress)

Clara, Interior Drawn from Observation (in progress)


Other art news

One of my very favorite contemporary art writers is John Yau. I find his thoughtful insights refreshingly eclectic. Written with a beautiful poetic voice, I am ever inspired by his reviews. His piece Overlooked Landscape Painters: Masterworks of American Landscape Painting in today’s Hyperallergic is a great example and well worth a read! Yau cites several local exhibitions which deserve our attention.

Albert York, “Farm Landscape” (1970), oil on board, 7 x 10 inches


And…The full moon of October, called the Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon, will grace the skies on Oct. 9, the same day that the planet Mercury reaches its highest altitude in the pre-dawn sky, and a day after it reaches greatest elongation (separation) from the sun. That means on the night of the full moon Mercury will be visible before sunrise and at an altitude high enough to make it easier than usual for observers in mid-northern latitudes. Traditionally it is a moon of new goals, protection, and resolution!

Jane MacAvock, Full Moon (France), Photograph, 2012


Real as a dream

What shall I do with this great opportunity to fly?

What is the interpretation of this planet, this moon?

~ Allen Ginsberg, Understand That This Is A Dream



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