ArtId Art Blog
This past summer, St. Lucy's teacher and professional artist, Dr. Yvonne M. Ward, shared her passion for art by creating an art program designed specifically for kids in the 3rd and 4th grades. Having been raised in a large Christian family, Dr. Ward learned the importance of sharing her gifts and talents with others. It was a theme that ran through her family of five children, all talented in the arts. Dr. Ward's mother, Hilda, was her chief role model for her wanting to become an artist. Hilda was a professional fashion designer and illustrator, trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parson's school of Design. She painted fashion models, designed fabrics and had expertise in pattern-making.
Growing up, Ward watched her mom paint fashion models in different poses and design colorful fabrics. She attributes her mom's influence on her love of colors and being drawn to art. As a professional artist, Ward was also greatly influenced by her father, Eugene, who was a chef, musician and enjoyed carpentry and working with his hands. He spent many quiet hours in his carpentry workshop working on different projects he created. Naturally, Ward followed in her parents footsteps of living a life where creativity is a pivotal and motivating force in what she does as a teacher and as a professional artist: Divine Brushstrokes Fine Art Studio!IMAGE114!
This summer Ward created her program entitled The Young Artists Workshop to address the needs of children in the Bronx who have no exposure to the arts. Ward wanted to share her art with 3rd and 4th graders in response to the many children from her school who have asked her repeatedly to teach them how to paint. Early this summer, Ward put her creative mind to work and devised a program that enables her to bring art down to their level. Many children in the city, she noted, do not have the opportunity to experience art either by visiting museums or firsthand by creating art themselves. She wanted to expose children to the job of painting, drawing, and sketching in different mediums (watercolor, pastels, colored pencils, graphite and acrylics).
Another inspiration for Ward to begin a studio art program designed specifically for kids has been Pope John Paul II's "Letter to Artists". In this letter, Pope John Paul II reminded artists of their valuable role as guardians of beauty in society. He stated that "a society without art eventually loses its soul." Ward admitted that she is passionately drawn to beauty - in people, nature and objects. It is this beauty, which she captures on canvas, that she wants to transmit to the children she teaches. Pope John Paul II stated in his letter that beauty offers hope in a world that is riddled with troubles and that it elevates the spirit of a person and prevents despair. He also said that beauty points to God and that as artists we must transmit that beauty through our art and out into the world.!IMAGE113!
As a private art teacher, Ward brings her Young Artists Workshop straight into the homes of the children she teaches. Parents like the idea of Ward visiting their homes to give their children private art lessons and encourages parents to become part of the process of painting. Parents have volunteered in the art process by refreshing the water, cleaning paint brushes and helping to arrange art materials on the studio table. Another relative purchased art supplies and a little pink art bag for his granddaughter so she could have her own set of materials.
Since this past summer, Ward has been working closely with two young artists who are progressing nicely in their art lessons: Ariane Caloobanan, a 5th grader from St. Lucy's School and Cierra Hernandez, a 3rd grader from St. Raymond's. Ward prepared an extensive series of studio art workshops for these students which cover a wide variety of art techniques and demonstrations which students can follow easily. As students work on their artwork, Ward teaches them by doing a step-by-step demonstration of a painting. The students follow her as they work on their own, identical painting. They learn how to listen, follow instructions, hold a brush, load a brush with the right amount of paint and how to practice different brush techniques like scumbling and pouncing. Ward's programmatic series of art lessons for "Young Artists" include: Learning the basics of painting in watercolor, pastels and colored pencils, still life, landscapes and botanical art, abstract art, the art of sketching, drawing, design, composition and value studies.!IMAGE111!
Cierra and Ariane are thoroughly enjoying their art classes with Dr. Ward and both have demonstrated a strong interest in art which Ward hopes will continue as they get older. Ward wishes to inspire her students to pursue art in the future either as a career in the arts or as something they like to do regularly. Through art, Ward's students learn self-expression and how to see beyond the ordinary - how to really look at something closely. They learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and of objects. Eye and hand coordination is also something they practice during the process of painting the things they love like flowers, mountains, the beauty of the sky, beach or desert scenes. Her students also acquire a sense of accomplishment because each student has to complete one painting at the end of a lesson. The first half of the lesson involves explaining what techniques will be used to create a painting, followed by how to choose the brushes, arrange the palette and color-mixing. The second half of a lesson is geared towards the completion of a painting.!IMAGE112!
Dr. Ward's long-term goal is to open up a small art school for children where they can learn studio-artmaking, exhibit their artwork and pursue art with greater concentration in an extensive and diverse program of study in art.
Ward exhibited her artwork at The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery for the second year in a row on September 23, 2006. The Starving Artist Cafe and Gallery is located at 249 City Island Ave., Bronx, NY.
Published with permission from the Bronx Times Reporter, August 31, 2006.