John Beeler • Main Line Times • June, 2010
Welsh Valley Middle School art teacher Todd Marrone quotes Leonardo da Vinci, “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master,” and typically refuses to draw or paint on a student’s project. Of course all teachers are honored when former students acknowledge their work and ask for advice so he was thrilled when his former eighth-grade pupil, graduating Lower Merion High School senior Hanna Williams of Narberth, asked him to collaborate with her on her independent community-learning project, Senior Project, which in the case of Hanna (pronounced hah-na), a talented traditional oil painter, was an art project.
The age difference or the former student/teacher tie aren’t what makes this artistic partnership unusual. Rather it’s the two artists’ very different styles. Hanna’s work is realistic and extremely detailed, the sort of thing portrait painters tried to master before the advent of photography and still awe-inspiring. Todd’s work is much more modern and abstract, taking its cue partly from the shapes of primitive painting, cartoons or even graffiti: faces, alien-like creatures or worms painted with bold lines.
“She’s evolved and I’ve de-evolved” in their styles, he likes to joke.
The resulting set of paintings, “The Colabyrinth,” debuted at Bryn Mawr’s MilkBoy café June 1 and will be on display through the end of June. There was a reception the evening of June 4 complete with live guitar music at which family, Hanna’s friends and MilkBoy patrons got to enjoy the work. The paintings are for sale. MilkBoy is in the Bryn Mawr Film Institute building at 824 E. Lancaster Ave.
Hanna learned a few things with this project: for one thing she now enjoys using paint markers as well as brushes.
Arguably she inherited some of her talent: her father, long in film production, is also an artist and used to create the puzzle page for every issue of “Highlights for Children.”
This fall Hanna is headed to Laguna College of Art and Design in California.