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The World Is There To See

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

"The world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.” Paul Bowles, “Conversations with Paul Bowles”, Univ. Press of Mississippi

ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom was thrilled to have ART YARD Artist Wayne Gross present Moroccan Mosaics (Zellij) inspired by his recent travels.

Wayne presenting on Zoom, Moroccan photos by Wayne Gross

Wayne prepared a marvelous PowerPoint using his own photographs taken in Morocco showing a range of tile work, gorgeous tiled interiors, and stunning architecture. Thus inspired, we set out to make a single graphic tile using three colors with a motif inspired by a wish for 2023. From that single image, Wayne asked us to create a composite image of 9 tiles.

Wayne Gross, Graphic Tile

Ajani Russell, Graphic Tile

Ed Rath, Graphic Tile

Pat Larash, Graphic Tile

Karla Prickett, Graphic Tile

Karla complements: “Wayne’s lesson was engaging on many levels! His photos were great! Most surprising to see single tile images become completely new imagery when tiled into multiples. New elements/shapes appeared in the repetition!

Fatima Traore, Graphic Tile

Chloe Kaas, Graphic Tile

Marilyn August, Graphic Tile

Sigrid Dolan, Graphic Tile

Meridith McNeal, Graphic Tile

Wayne summarizes: “I so enjoyed sharing Monday's class inspired by a recent trip to Morocco and the beautiful Zellij tiles that are a historic component of the country's architecture and history.

There was a wonderful surprise factor as the tiles were scaled to the 3x3 grid which then amplifies the visuals - giving new life and meaning to each final artwork. I always find it so inspiring to see what the students create - the ways in which they used the medium of their choice (collage, watercolor, CGI etc.) and the symbolism behind their designs. I am continually impressed by the thoughtfulness, creativity and talent that permeates this group!”


This week Dennis and Fatima did double duty in Jersey City.

Dennis tells us about the work on Tuesday: “NYC public schools were closed this week for mid-winter recess - so Dennis and Fatima took advantage of the time to host 'make up' classes at ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6 in Jersey City.

5th graders continued with their Purposeful Tooth projects and moved forward into their creations of interactive pieces using the many 'did you know?' tooth facts listed by Fatima. A well participated critique included compliments about the usage of black watercolor paint by several for their backgrounds - one student noticed and commented that a classmate's painting of a molar looked like the entrance to a black hole.

Completed Purposeful Tooth paintings

Several 4th graders completed their "Four Seasons: Accordion Book" project by adding finishing touches with paint and colored pencils.

Finishing touches on a Four Seasons book

The 2nd cycle of classes at PS 6 has come to a close - with lots of work ready for exhibition.

It was the 100th day of school and lots of students dressed as if they were 100 years old to celebrate the occasion. We were lucky enough to have the parade of 'old people' lower grade students parade right outside our art room door - and we even had a few 5th graders joining in the fun.

"100 year old" elementary schoolers!

One 5th grader proved he had a very good memory. He said: "Dennis, you're 101 this year because last year you told us that you were 100". So much for trying to fool 5th graders. As Art Linkletter used to say ‘Kids say the darndest things’.”


Dennis, Fatima and Sarah were back at PS 6 to start a new cycle today. Dennis reports: "A great wave covered room 314 at our partnership school, PS 6, in Jersey City. In a lesson called Variations of The Great Wave, students viewed and discussed Hokusai's piece and learned about its meaning, about woodblock printing (ukiyo-e), and the colors of blue used by the artist (indigo and Prussian blue). Dozens of variations of the piece were shown via powerpoint presentation and printed images were hung around the art room - we referred to the main board as 'the wall of inspiration'.

Students (3rd, 4th, and 5th graders) were asked to think about a variation of the theme and their choice of materials. Some seemed slightly disappointed that they wouldn't be given knives and blocks of wood to create blocks for printing - and we understood - but somehow that might NOT have been the best choice of materials for grade-schoolers.

Of course, the first day for each cycle includes lots of discussion and participation with sharing ideas and thoughts, and then pencil draft drawings. Teaching Artists Fatima Traore and Sarah Gumgumji and I always encourage students to come up with unique and individual ideas to avoid duplicate works amongst the class. And did they ever come up with clever and creative designs:

  • A bathtub with a huge splash of water

  • A mermaid with wave eyes and swimsuit top - with her hair in a giant wave

  • Two waves facing each other creating a heart

  • Teacups with foamy waves

  • A Gatorade bottle with a very wavy letter G - which became known in the classroom as the Gatorwave

  • Godzilla and other sea creatures enjoying or battling the wave

  • and some very sensitive recreations of Hokusai's original piece and Mount Fuji was symbolized by large buildings, small houses, mountains, and even a Mayan temple.

When asked what one does when facing such a giant wave, many suggested surfing, swimming, or jumping into it. London said "RUN!" and I agreed with her. Fatima, Sarah, and I wrote out the artist's name phonetically as well as the term 'ukiyo-e' and we all practiced saying them together.

Fatima created 4 samples to show students - for further inspiration - and templates of the wave in several sizes for those who were not fully comfortable with freestyle drawing. This led to lots of multiple waves and overlapping waves giving their pieces interesting textures.

Sample drawings by Fatima Traore

At the first sight of an image on the smart board of The Great Wave, one student shouted "we have that hanging in our home" and another "I saw a print of The Great Wave in a museum in Japan".

Student Great Wave drawings

The 3rd graders learned new vocabulary words - critique, and variation. Lots of well-observed compare/contrasts and thoughtful compliments during critique made for great finales to each class.


ART YARD Advanced Studio in person artists continue to venture forth to see art in person. Tomorrow Saturday February 25th we will be at The Brooklyn Museum from 2-4pm. You are welcome to join us! We will meet just inside the main entrance at about 1:50pm.

At the museum we plan to view work by Duke Riley, Oscar yi Hou and Mel Chin which have all inspired recent Advanced Studio sessions on Zoom.

Work (left to right) by Duke Riley, Oscar yi Hou, and Mel Chin.


Other Art News

I attended ART YARD Artist Vera Tineo’s Performance Art class at Hunter College. Currently enrolled in the MFA program at Queens College, Vera is taking advantage of the opportunity to take classes at other CUNY institutions. The student performances were held in an empty gallery space, which was well suited to give ample room for performers and audience. Vera’s piece explored body image and a personal narrative of change. With hand-sewn sculptures, hidden ceramics, well formatted audio, Vera pulled from a variety of techniques to great effect.

Vera Tineo, Performance stills


As most (all?!) of us are avid animal lovers, I thought you might enjoy seeing the portrait I just painted of Bess, beloved beagle of my friends William and Jeffrey.

Meridith McNeal, Bess, 2023, watercolor on paper, 26x24”


Hope to see you at the Brooklyn Museum tomorrow!

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