Drawing Inspiration From Estherwood

Last month, tenth grade art students needed only to look in the School’s own backyard for inspiration. The grand architecture of Estherwood, the late 19th-century mansion on campus, served as the ideal subject for a Studio Art Major class.

“The assignment was to use line to illustrate form in space, including context and working from observation,” explained Cheryl Hajjar, chair of the visual arts department.

After the students drew geometric shapes in class, they headed to Estherwood and selected the section of the building they wanted to draw. To get various perspectives, they positioned themselves in different spots around the mansion. The assignment took the class outdoors for three class sessions. 

“Considering the composition in their selections, some practiced using pencil,” Hajjar said. “Once they designed the layout of the picture plane, they practiced inking using a variety of tools to create outline, form, depth of field and texture.”

Jenny Xu ’25 said the light and beauty she witnessed during each visit influenced her work. “I drew the front door, roofs, statue, glass windows and some of the walls,” Xu said. “In my drawing the building is divided into different sections and was observed from different angles and perspectives.”

For Xu, there was also a sense of fascination and discovery in “finding new things every time” through “marks on the building that showed its age, the patterns and the structure of the building.” The assignment made her yearn for other opportunities “to view and focus on one part of our daily life as closely.”

Hajjar said her assignment “gives students the opportunity to learn and appreciate more about our School; its beauty and its history. And I love how the students feel the joy of sitting outside on beautiful fall days to draw this gorgeous building that sits in front of them, while sharing their observations, tips and encouraging each other in this work.”

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