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Updated: Mar 8, 2022

We opened up a new world of color at ART YARD Art Matters at BNS this week! After being away for break last week, students returned to the pencil drawings they've created over the last two sessions with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau. Each student chose to use watercolors, colored pencils, or a mix of the two.

BNS student painting self portrait

Evelyn explains: “I demonstrated different ways to achieve skin tones using both types of media--for example, layering crosshatched strokes of different colors, or loading just enough pigment and water onto a brush (but not too much). Matching the colors to the skin tones was challenging, but students tried out many combinations on test sheets and seemed to enjoy the process--marveling at the vibrancy of some colors and how certain colors changed when a white colored pencil was added.

Evelyn gives painting demonstration

A couple of students finished their drawings--including skin, hair, shirts and masks, eyes, and background--while others will finish next week.

Dennis and I were able to do a short critique with one student who finished early. Max G. drew a great comparison between his drawing and one of the example images on the wall--he noticed a similarity between the head shape in his drawing and TM Davy's Self-Portrait in Orange Hoodie (2019)--shown here:

TM Davy, Self-Portrait in Orange Hoodie, 2019

Max G., Self Portrait

Max G. also talked about how he incorporated mistakes and kept on working, with those missteps and initial attempts becoming part of the story of the drawing. That strikes me as a great attitude to have and a fruitful way to work!”


This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Teaching Artist Vera Tineo presented a session titled How Hair Shares Ideas in which we used the medium of our choice to create a piece sharing our relationship with hair.

In her well prepared and compelling presentation Vera shared the work of Uchechukwu Ibemere, Sonya Clark, Jessica Wohl, Laetitia Ky, Natalie Weis, Christopher Smith, and Forwar Moledina (images in that order below) for inspiration.

Zeke was inspired by the work of Jessica Wohl to create a drawing of what could be a Hair Horror Movie Set!

Zeke Brokow, Hair

Vera summarizes: “Hair is such an imaginative medium for us as a group. This session underscored at everyone has a different relationship to hair. It was so much fun to see past hairstyles of the ART YARD Artists! We got to experience each other through a different lens, telling the story through hair.

I loved seeing Wayne, Meridith and Marilyn's transition through hairstyles. Wayne’s a side by side excellent drawings of two of passport photos:

Wayne Gross, Hair

Marilyn’s a delicately painted montage of styles through the years:

Marilyn August, Hair

Meridith’s a paper doll depictions of her hair styles and corresponding hair colors.

Meridith McNeal, Hair

Similarly Ed depicted a history with his hair and it changed. And had us roaring with laughter about his stint as a department store worker when men were required to have short hair styles and his solution for his long ponytail was to purchase a cheap wig, which he wore defiantly tugged over the lump of his ponytail!

Ed Rath, Hair

A surprising response to the lesson, came from Delphine and Karla with their use of hair utensils. Seeing their work allowed me to see that the way we treat our hair can be used to communicate about hair.

Delphine Levenson, Hair

This lesson gave me a great insight to some of our members' experiences, and the understanding that some of us have only started to recognize their hair relationship as something they can curate for themselves.”

Karla adds: “When Vera talked about the relationship with our hair I thought of the daily routine of making oneself “presentable”! I thought of my “go to” comb which I’ve had for several years and that I use for this ritual every day. The comb became my stencil. Overlapping and repetitive drawing echoes the tangles and angles this tool experiences.”

Karla Prickett, Hair

Maraya and Vera both made masks, employed actual hair, and appear in the documentation (presentation) of their pieces.

Maraya Lopez, Hair

Vera Tineo, Hair

Robin who shared stories of the struggle and pain of the hot iron for straightening hair, described her collage rebellion hair style and her mother and grandmother’s dismay at the look.

Robin Grant, Hair

Pat created a dual hairstyle portrait of Tina Fay/Sarah Palin which resembled her Roman hair cut in 2008.

Pat Larash, Hair

During the discussion I shared that I have a great track record for getting complements on my hair from students. My second piece includes a quote from a fan letter I received several years ago framed by my current pink tresses.

Meridith McNeal, Hair (Fan Mail)

Candy chose to depict Vera's hair, which she describes as a beautiful inspiration and a reminder of her East Village days sporting a technicolor Mohawk.

Candy Heiland, Hair (Vera)


On Tuesday ART YARD Advanced Studio class returned in person to the Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition’s beautiful space for the Spring 2022 sessions.

Follow the signs to the ART YARD Studio at BWAC

Teaching Artist Candy Heiland kicked off a series of 3 sessions based on the work of Wassily Kandinsky. Candy explains: “This cycle is inspired by a visit, with Meridith, to the Guggenheim museum to see the Etel Adnan: Light’s New Measure. Coincidentally, also on view was a large exhibit of Kandinsky’s work. This reminded me of how much I once loved this art and decided to develop a series of sessions based on his work.

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition V11, 1913

The class opened with several examples of his work projected as we learned about his inspirations and philosophy. Kandinsky experienced synesthesia, a condition where one sense was activated by the experience of another. In his case, he saw colors when he heard music. With this, he explored the ability to channel spirit as a resource to illustrate the effect music had on his emotions. He believed that abstract forms were the purist means of communicating these emotions. Kandinsky had a long friendship with the composer Arnold Shoenberg. This was some of the music that touched his heart, inspired his artistic exploration and for this class, we listened to his music played by the violinist, Hilary Hahn. The music would vacillate from calm to tumultuous, with the latter being the dominate feature.

The work created reflected the drama of the music. Ed using watercolors, began his exploration while the music was calm. He painted flowing waves, but as the music became more dramatic, the image grew darker until his final piece was a perfect reflection of the sound.

Ed Rath, Painting Sound

Robin used layers of lines to create her piece. First, she drew small squiggles which evolved into thick, black lines, also demonstrating the progression of the music.

Robin Grant, Painting Sound

Vera made a multi-layered monoprint using acrylic paint and a piece of acetate for her plate. As the intensity of the music subsided, she began to interweave white into the dark mass of colors.

Vera Tineo, Painting Sound

Alison, working first in her sketchbook, drew an abstract form using geometric shapes that became a human figure. The edges of the frame began to fill in representing darkness. As the color progressed it began to lighten.

Alison Giunet, Painting Sound

Meridith, who confessed to finding the music most disturbing, created a very “Kandinsky” piece which reflected the sheer emotion she experienced.”

Meridith McNeal, Painting Sound

Candy lined out layers in ink, beginning with circles to represent the spiraling notes of the violin. Next, she added a hand reaching forward releasing ribbons as if to quell the burgeoning sound.

Candy Heiland, Painting Sound

I think we can all agree that one night of Shoenberg’s music was a challenging and effective starting point. It will be interesting to see the effect that different music has on the art. Next up, Miles Davis. It was great to be back at BWAC and to see everyone in person!


Students participating in ART YARD Art Matters at PS 6 in Jersey City worked diligently with Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau and Managing Director Dennis Buonagura. Wrapping up their lessons in creating self-portraits which indicate feelings and emotions, students viewed and discussed 3 relevant works.

Evelyn's piece called "Giselle" was selected intentionally to help students understand color blending for skin tones. Evelyn explained the use of cross hatching to achieve the skin tone when one pencil might not be close enough.

Evelyn Beliveau, Giselle, 2018

Lui Ferreyra's portrait represents yet another style of color blending and was a class favorite. Stacy Sherman's portrait was perfect - students were able to get a better idea of how to incorporate a mask into their own work (some of their masks have pleats, others were tie dyed, and one had little boxes of faces of Sesame Street characters) and how Sherman's work showed emotion through the eyes and eyebrows.

Lui Ferreyra, Idioma 8

Stacy Sherman, Self Portrait 2020, 2020

Using hand mirrors to get a close look at their base skin tone and the different colors appearing in shadows and highlights, students selected colors from a variety of colored pencils (some specifically identified for developing skin tones) for their faces, necks, and hands (and shoulders, where visible). Using the hatching methods demonstrated by Evelyn, students discovered the correct matches and moved forward to complete their self portraits.

Due to the amount of work involved during this final lesson, critiques were short and voluntary but resulted in all comments being positive, happy, and full of excitement.

WOW!!! What remarkably well realized and beautiful portraits!


Other art news:

ART YARD Artist Candy Heiland’s oil pastel drawings of circus performers, glittering sideshow sights and playful collectible figurines on black paper served as inspiration for my class of Makers & Seers at Wagner College. I borrowed a stash of still life objects including figurines, toys and a stray sea shell from Candy to use for this three part drawing project.

Candy Heiland, The Followers #2, 2022

This week we worked from observation of our selected item paired with ornate patterned paper. Homework will be drawing from photographs of these objects and next week we will draw from memory.

Students observed that drawing on black paper has a particular effect that would not be possible otherwise. The vibe in our windowed basement studio is convivial, happy, productive and energetic. The dialogue in critique is exceeding my expectations for thoughtful reflection and intellectual consideration.

Drawings by Tara Manning, Lance DeSorbo, Maurane Dubois, Alison Guinet, Dillon Burke, Dayna Sherwin, Eric Griffin, Christopher Field, Brianna Tormenia, Isabella Anton, Julianna Bevilacqua, and Agathe Yabit Tita:

When I shared images of the work with Candy she responded: “I love that the papers were rendered edge to edge, filled with a vibrant array of shape and color. I was impressed with the way the patterns of the backgrounds were chosen to integrate with the figures. The finished works were gorgeous and inspiring, worthy of framing! I could feel the spirit of each person in the images. It is such an inspiration to see how this project has evolved and spread into the hands of other artists!”


I am thrilled to have my painting Inside Outside Recovery Rain (Clinton Hill Brooklyn) included in The Baldwin National 2022, A Survey of Contemporary Art in the United States at the Holt-Russell Gallery in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Recovery Rain (Clinton Hill Brooklyn), 2021, watercolor on paper, 55x75”

Kansas Native ART YARD Artist Karla Prickett went to the exhibition today! She reports that the eclectic show is well installed in the gallery which is housed in a newly renovated historic building built in 1858 on the campus of Baker University.


Love your hair!

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