Art class is more than just paints and brushes

Photos by Daniel Jackovino Henry Nakamura, a retired professional designer using felt-tip pencils, and Judy Gross, working on a paper collage.
Photos by Daniel Jackovino
Henry Nakamura, a retired professional designer using felt-tip pencils, and Judy Gross, working on a paper collage.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — An activity of the Glen Ridge Recreation Department, the senior art class, continues to meet on Tuesday mornings, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Ridgewood Avenue train station. The instructor since September has been Kristina Farrell. Farrell, who said she prefers water colors but currently has her students doing a still life with dry media — charcoal, graphite and colored pencils. She has a roadmap for teaching art.

“First I like to focus on perspective and getting down the proportions,” she said earlier this week. “After that, the different values of light, the light areas, the reflected light and the shadows.”

During this past Tuesday, Nov. 29, although raining, the class had seven student sitting around a large work area made up of four smaller tables. Some of the students were new to the class but others were “old hands.” All had a similar interest in expressing themselves through art “I’m a newbie,” said Connie Russell. “I was looking for something to do. What really interest me was mah jong but I couldn’t find any players.”

“Try the ‘Y,” Carol Honaman interected. Students in this class are one of two things at any given moment: quiet and studious or talkative and studious.
But Russell said to do that she would probably have to be a member.
There was also conversation on children and independence.

“What do you consider independent living?” Russell asked Judy Gross.
Gross, sitting across the work area, was making a collage using paper napkins over a floral watercolor she painted.

One veteran of the senior art class is Lynne Palmer. Palmer exhibits regularly at different venues. A show of her oils and watercolors at the West Caldwell Library was coming down the very next day, Wednesday, Nov. 30. She said these paintings were of landscapes, flowers and birds.

“I sold three,” she said.
Palmer said the art classes through the Glen Ridge Recreation Department have made a difference with her because they offer the opportunity to practice and come into contact with good instructors. She commented on the increase of the enrollment.

“Interest and opportunity has enlarged the class,” she said.
Another person new to the class but not to art is the lone man in class, Henry Nakamura, a retired professional designer.

“I designed display advertising,” he said. “I discovered this class by accident. My wife found it.”

Helen Blum has been with the class for sometime, too. She said her drawing of the still life was in progress.

“It’s not going to look like this,” she said pointing to her drawing and then the still life, “It’s going to look like that.”

Honaman said she has been taking the class since 2008 when she started with Palmer.

“I started with Lynn,” she said. “She’s taken off. I don’t work at art at home.”
Farrell said she did not know why the class has increased in size, she has been the instructor for only two months.

“But if I were to guess why people are coming back,” she said, “it’s a nice place to socialize on a Tuesday morning.”

Anyone interested in joining the art class may contact Glen Ridge Rec Director Jim Cowen at 973-748-2924.