by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor
Elk River art teacher Rana Nestrud wanted to help some of her talented drawing students reach the next level, and last summer at an art show in St. Cloud, she met just the fellow who could help.
Willicey Tynes, a portrait painter and sculptor who grew up in The Bahamas and lives and works in Waite Park, recently spent five days over 2 1/2 weeks in a residency working with two of Nestrud’s morning classes.
“We have students who draw very well, but I want to get them to making great drawings,” Nestrud said. “When I met Willicey, I was very impressed. I asked if he worked with high school students. … He’s been helping them on taking extra time and attention to details, and about little techniques, to get that highlight right, for instance.”
Tynes presented demonstrations, showed and discussed the process of his own work, and led students in critiques of their own drawings. In one class, the kids did portraits from photos of orphans in Nepal, along with other subjects of their own choosing. In another, they did animal portraits.
“I mainly want them to understand there is a way to see (subjects) better and to translate that into your work,” Tynes said. He said you can’t get through to everyone, but “there have been some ‘aha!’ moments.”
One of his tips: “I told some of the students to break down what they are doing into small chewable bites. You don’t try eat a whole plate of food at once. You chew each piece separately. Same with art.”