(Center, L-R: Elise French ’24 and Skylar Ward ’24 work on their sketches in McBee House under the guidance of Visual Arts faculty member Raúl Miyar. Sketches, clockwise from top left: Davis Murrell ’23, Eads Hubble ’23, Emi Winters ’23, and Mattie Hood ’23)

In Visual Arts faculty member Raúl Miyar’s Foundations of Art class, students come to understand perspective first by study and then through practice. Learning about vanishing points and illusion of space, they train their eyes to discern details hidden in plain sight and transform their observations into art.

“The perspective segment of the semester begins with studying one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective,” noted Miyar. “With these studies, students learn the different ways in which vanishing points determine the illusion of space, dimension, and depth on a two-dimensional surface. In addition, they learn about ‘modeling’ (light and shadow), another term for ‘shading,’ which enhances the illusion of volume, as well as atmosphere.”

As a capstone project, Miyar asked his students to apply their understanding of vanishing points to real space by drawing from direct observation either the exterior or the interior of McBee House. “In most perspective exercises, you are told to draw skyscrapers or simple geometric shapes,” shared Eads Hubbell ’23. “This assignment pushed us a step further by challenging us to take time to accurately draw something as complex as McBee House and its rooms.”

Precisely depicting one of Ashley Hall’s most iconic buildings can be intimidating, but thanks to Miyar’s patient teaching methods, his students were up for the challenge. “I walked into Mr. Miyar’s class with very little art experience or skills, and he has guided us through everything step by step which kept me from falling behind or being stressed about what I was doing,” said Elise French ’24. “I improved my ability to capture perspective by Mr. Miyar teaching us to squint and see which planes are darker and lighter, which helped me notice the difference in how dark or light to shade areas. My favorite aspect definitely was doing the detail of the rug and spending a lot of time on it. The intricate details are very time consuming but worth it in the end.”

Students also appreciated the opportunity to draw McBee House’s classically-inspired architecture. “We got to spend time in one of the many amazing rooms in McBee House and take time to notice the details in the historic architecture and interior design,” enthused Hubbell, who credits Miyar with helping her envision new ways to improve her work. “Mr. Miyar lets us work at our own pace while pushing us to try new techniques and think outside of the box, and he always knows what each of us needs to do to enhance our drawings and teaches us step by step how to make those changes,” she affirmed. “I think that we have all learned to be proud of our finished product of such a challenging assignment.”