Ranelle Wolf - THE ART PROFESSOR
Ranelle Wolf has been an Art and Art History Professor at Suffolk County Community College for the past eighteen years. She also taught art at the Montessori School in Brooklyn Heights while completing her graduate program at Columbia University and Queens College.
Her classes include Continuation of Interior Design, 101 Art Appreciation, and 2D Design.
Ranelle’s approach to teaching stands out amongst her peers as, instead of judging or critiquing an artist’s work, she prefers to dive into the soul of the artwork and the artist to unleash the profound meaning and encourages her students to do the same.
“I live and teach by the principle of integrity. Integrity is showing respect for the creative expression of another person’s work; it teaches tolerance and forgiveness; integrity earns the trust to witness the human experience and spiritually connect with their soul.” - Ranelle Wolf
Based on the theories of Hans Hoffman, Ranelle teaches that to create a piece of artwork, we must combine what is felt (the lyrical) with the formal (the mind). In essence, the mathematical equation of “the heart meets the mind.” The brushstroke is lyrical (felt by the heart) and then analyzed (by the brain).
“To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
Based on her life’s purpose, Ranelle’s teaching method instructs students to use the heart first and then the mind. Showing people how to use their intuition artistically from a sacred space helps bring out the best in the student as their creativity returns to the child-like freedom they were born with.
“Use your heart and less of your mind.” - Ranelle Wolf
By interpreting the feelings depicted in the imagery, and those of the artist, combined with the historical landscape, one can fully immerse themselves in the experiences of humanity and then realize the importance of creative expression throughout time.
“There is no other better way into the excavation of humanity than the language of art and design, mixed with the history of art.” - Ranelle Wolf
Using her extensive knowledge of art history, Ranelle infuses her classes with a fresh perspective, particularly in the exclusion of women from “high culture literature, music, philosophy, and works of art” so highly valued in Western culture— known as Western Canon.
Ranelle’s own artwork expresses the connection to the Divine Feminine, and examining the lessons of portrayed history without a feminine perspective— mainly through various art forms— she creatively threads the missing female experience into the narrative.
“This vocabulary of art design mixed with a broad stroke of art history enables me to give students a point of departure and bring out the most creative part of them.”
Ranelle quotes Picasso by saying, “All children are born artists.” But, unfortunately, as adults, we have forgotten how to be free creatively, or society has squashed it as not a valuable skill.”
Creating art, or even living in a sacred space, helps realign people with their imaginative souls.
Art as a Restorative
“Art is the purest display of one’s soul.”
Using art to restore a person’s overall wellbeing, Ranelle Wolfe guides people towards self-expression with the very act of creating art providing soothing and healing. As an art therapist and instructor, she believes that helping young people bring out their imagination and life’s purpose is her own greatest gift.
Ranelle believes that by connecting the human heart and soul, both currently and through historical knowledge, people are more creative in their lives, thus making better decisions for themselves. This awareness uses the heart to feel through decisions and then confirm with the mind, as a child would.
“My mission in life is to merge artistic creation and restoration to form a new mindfulness about healing with art.”
Art therapy not only helps to relieve mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress, but it helps shift cognitive focus, influencing the person’s state of mindfulness. Mindfulness taps into the parts of the brain not used for linear, critical thinking, and judgment, allowing the visual aspects of the brain to engage.
Ranelle’s teaching revolves around exploring and accepting the entirety of the human journey in the physical, mental, and spiritual world, both past and present. Her future aspirations include healing through art with teenagers and young people. One such project consists of a meaningful lesson in art history paired with an imaginative art demonstration that teaches the dangers of hatred and bigotry from the Holocaust.