Continuing our lesson on shadows, we mixed it up a bit this week in ART YARD Advanced Studio by turning off the overhead lights to create more drama in our directionally lit still life set-ups. Under this extreme lighting, our everyman everywoman ever loving doppelgänger mannequins inspired us to new creative heights. Watching the students work in the darkened studio, the eerie shadows of the mannequins on the wall brought to mind the allegory of Plato’s Cave we learned of a few weeks ago. Teaching Artist Ed Rath challenged the students to continue using a limited palette of black plus one other color to create nuances in warm and cool.
Riveted to the dramatically lit still life set-ups, no one seemed to notice that we were working in the dark. As in a dream, time itself was suspended.
At critique, August presented four stunning drawings, and Sigrid showed three. Blaze also had a knock-out drawing featuring silhouettes with pale gray shadows. Vera discovered a rich range of colors and tones using Sumi black, plus brown. Fatima raised the bar as well by adding a decorative pattern from the still life fabric to her bold figures. Like Vera, Jeffrey and Elizabeth discovered unexpected colors. Not to be outdone, Zahir and Akash executed exquisite images in their own unique style. At the end of the day, the question of whether or not Giorgio De Chirico’s work is still relevant was firmly and ineluctably affirmed.
Lastly, Evelyn unveiled her now completed, flawlessly executed, life-size self-portrait. Everyone agreed it’s one of a kind, one in a million, one for the ages.
Students from MS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens and their teacher Ms. Heller returned to Kentler International Drawing Space to complete their beautiful drawings inspired by robin holder’s work on view.
We spent some time at the start of the session to review the topics discussed last week. Then as a group we took a close look at robin’s “pop-up” style collages. Students were excited to think about making their own collages incorporating images of home, family and text about personally meaningful ideas and issues.
Once again a concentrated hush fell over the gallery as our young artists jumped right back in to work. Some students pushed through what they thought might be completed pieces to add additional layers of color as robin employs in her artmaking.
At critique students were well spoken and deeply complimentary of each other’s progress and artwork. Ms. Heller gave her compliment from the teachers perspective letting our students know how deeply they impressed her with their focus and talent.
Several students asked to become part of our gallery curatorial and docent team. We are all looking forward to our exhibition at ART YARD Gallery at MS 226 in the spring.
Teaching Artist Richard Estrin gave students the opportunity of self-reflection and mindful thought at our partnership school in Jersey City, PS 6. Students from Mrs. Tolentino's class and Mrs. Wulff/Mr. Creed's class had serious discussions about technology, ecology, the reuse of materials and current modes of delivery. Living in a modern world where groceries, clothing and other items are brought directly to one's door, students realized the excessive use of cardboard boxes in their everyday lives.
Richard created a cardboard sculpture of a carrier pigeon made with many layers of overlapping cardboard and held together with cut notches, toothpicks and glue as a demonstration.
Preparing drafts for their own sculptures, students identified the many modes of delivery, past and present: horses, carriages, camels, llamas, sled dogs, trucks, bicycles, carts, planes, hot air balloons, elephants and a host of others. Using pencil and drawing paper, students drew in both profile and front views. Richard discussed scale and dimension and was assisted by Art Yard Teaching Artist Sarah Gumgumji and Intern Leslie Ramirez. Dennis led introductions and critiques.
Working with enthusiastic students from Mrs. Acevedo's class, Richard discussed symmetry and balance in a lesson using collage to indicate reflection. Showing examples of works using horizontal, vertical and diagonal symmetry, students folded colored paper in half and drew imaginative and expressive designs as well as familiar shapes (like tacos, avocados, boats and people) and cut them to create perfectly symmetrical shapes.
Gluing those shapes on contrasting colored paper and adding (always symmetrical) more pieces, students not only constructed lovely collages but left with a greater understanding and appreciation of balance.
Now into my studio I go to work on a new painting!