Visiting Instructor Heidi (Schneider) Brar will be leaving the Department of Art & Art History at the end of the semester to join her husband in Washington D.C. We recently interviewed Professor Brar about her time here at William and Mary.
1. What initially drew you art?
My interest in art was inherent, but the development of my skills and pursuit of it as a career was more a result of having had encouraging parents and good teachers. My mother says I started drawing as soon as I figured out not to eat the crayons. Whether I am using paint, charcoal, or another media I am hooked on process and visual problem solving rather than the final result.
2. What are you working on currently?
My most recent paintings and drawing are part of an ongoing body of figurative narratives set within the coastal landscape. I participated in an artist residency at Acadia National Park two years ago and found that experience so ripe with imagery that I have continued with it. What most impressed me about that trip were the groups of people interacting within the landscape. Also during the residency I painted plein air for the first time in a long time. Now back in my studio in Williamsburg I draw upon the color studies, drawings, and photos that collected there. I hope to return there in the next few years to paint again.
3. Tell us about your teaching experiences at William and Mary.
During my first semester at W&M I was really struck with the work ethic of the students and their ability to make connections across the curriculum. I realized I was dealing with a unique student body that was open to being challenged and engaged. I really enjoyed teaching the 2-D Foundations course and seeing students progress and discover a passion for artistic processes. Some of my fondest memories of teaching at W&M were working with Tangelo, the Student Fine Art Society when we held a student art sale. The students worked very hard to organize and set up the sale and it got a great response from the community. Overall, I have a great sense of pride in having been a part of the department and college and am very thankful for the opportunity.
4. What are your future plans?
This summer I will be teaching a new course I designed through the W&M Washington D.C. campus. We will visit various D.C. museums and locations such as the National Portrait Gallery and the National Mall to learn about the processes of drawing and painting. It will be the first time the class will be offered and I am looking forward to teaching it. Beyond continuing to teach studio art courses I will be setting up a new studio and traveling to India.