A new apprenticeship opportunity is inviting artists from across all four divisions to explore the intersection of art and nature.
Against the backdrop of the Marin Headlands, 20 budding artists settled in for a daylong retreat. For Middle Form and High School students passionate about art, the retreat was the focal point of a new apprenticeship program directed by visiting artist David Nyquist, a Bay Area painter and poet whose work examines the beauty of nature.
"The hope is that students will have an opportunity to engage over an extended period of time with a professional artist, deepening their personal practice while learning new skills and conceptual thinking strategies," says Rachel McIntire, Visual Arts Department chair and high school faculty member.
The first cohort of apprentices spent a late November day at the Headlands Center for the Arts, engaged in hands-on mixed media projects and activities, from painting and human-scale mandala making at a nearby beach to contemplative walking and journal writing.
"This day was just what I needed," says Convent senior Day El-Wattar. "I've been so stressed about college and life — it was so nice to be outside without an agenda." As students think about the future, Rachel says, the apprenticeship is likely to help them feel grounded. "It offers a contemplative rite of passage," she adds.
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David, who currently teaches Advanced Portfolio Studio art to juniors and seniors, recently published his first book of poetry, The Mountain Beneath the Soul, which, along with his semi-abstract paintings, conveys a desire for deep connection to the natural world.
"I really like connecting my art practice to nature," says Rose Larkin, a Convent senior. "I've never done that, and it was a really relaxing experience."
As part of the apprenticeship, students will have two half-day workshops on campus before displaying artwork in the Syufy Gallery for a January exhibition.