Category Archives: Architecture

Re-treat the Voice of the Artist

Photo Courtesy of MasterDabblers

By Glendalys Medina

Retreats can take many forms, so I ask myself what are they essentially? Aren’t they just structured moments to allow the flash of inspiration to strike? All of us need time alone for reflection. To ask ourselves such questions as ‘Who am I? What do I want? What does this mean?’ and ‘How am I going to achieve my dreams?’ We all seek our inner being, whose voice can be easily drowned out if not cultivated. To keep in touch I have learned to slow–down, to think and listen before I speak, to keep a close eye on what I let out into the universe. A mind with mental clarity and focus is a powerful tool, so it can only help to learn to control it right?

So let me ask you this, have you ever been creatively stuck, emotionally stuck, mentally stuck or any type of stuck? If you are alive then the answer to this question I assume is yes. Life is a beautiful adventure and the best adventures have great challenges. One must collect an arsenal of tools to overcome these challenges and reach the mountain of inner stillness, to become the vehicle of purposeful creation. I write this post today to share with you a tool that came to me when I was all of the above STUCK. The tool is simply silence.


This practice was introduced to me by Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus in late 2012 while I was a visual arts fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was in my 4th month of an 11-month residency and I hadn’t made a thing. I was completely overwhelmed and emotionally and mentally exhausted. I had all this time and space and inspiration was on a vacation. I couldn’t hear myself and I craved solitude. So I gave it to myself and with written instructions from Jessica and Stephane I went on a silent retreat for four days in my very own studio at the Academy. I kept a schedule, gave myself some basic tools to make artwork, had meals brought to me, said no to my computer and started playing. In those four days I learned a lot about myself, I felt completely free and energized, everything calmed down and I began a completely new body of work that I am still working on today. Inspiration finally struck!


Glendalys Medina “Alphabet Series: #6 of 26, (F)” Pencil and marker on paper. 126cm x 172cm 2013

Since then MasterDabblers has been working with Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus to bring and share with you this transformative gift called ‘Unspoken’. ‘Unspoken’ is a silent retreat-in-box that contains everything you need to begin your retreat today.  I must tell you that this practice has been a godsend and has become a frequently used tool in my arsenal. So, if you are in need of this priceless gift today or you want to arm yourself for the next rainy day  please visit


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Ready, Set, Open! The Joyous Hubbub of Open Studios


That’s me talking to two gentlemen about the Legit Kit with screenwriter Krista Suh.

Dear Artists, 

Today MD shares photos from open studios of the fellows at the American Academy in Rome as well as graduate students of the Yale School of Architecture. Have you recently opened your studio? What do you love most about opening your studio? What do you fear most? Are you planning on opening your studio for the first time soon? Here are some tips: 

  1. Hang early. Last minute details can stress anyone out the day before opening, but a week before is a breeze.
  2. Know why you are opening your doors. Have an intention, even if it’s as simple as ‘I am here to share my work.’
  3. Be ready to talk. Have at least a sentence or two that informs your visitors about your work.
  4. Cool and sharp. Wear something that is both comfortable and makes you beam with confidence. 
  5. Have snacks. It puts everyone at ease, but keep the bar far from the work. 
  6. Know how much. Have an image based check list. 
  7. Have backup. Ask your friends to come. Three people talking about your work is better than one, and gives you a break when needed.
  8. Smile. Today is your day!

Let us know about your experience. Share photos and we will share them with the MD community on Tumblr and Instagram. 

Stay open, 

Stephanie & the MD team


Before the crowds arrive all is quiet. Just getting the bar and snacks ready, and in the case of AAR fellow artist Polly Apfelbaum getting her beads and string ready to distribute handmade necklaces to visitors. Giving to your audience is fun and a great way to start a conversation about what exactly you do in your studio and why. Learn more about rules and serious play in Polly’s practice. 

Studio of sculptor Carl D'Alvia and painter Jackie Saccoccio at AAR. Learn more about this creative family.

A place for everything! Check out the studio of AAR fellow sculptor Carl D’Alvia and his wife painter Jackie Saccoccio. Plenty of pedestals and a salon style hanging of paintings leaves enough room to see everything clearly and chat up a storm about their technique and vision. See more detailed images of their work and learn more about this creative family.

Studio of landscape architect Ross Altheimer at  the American Academy in Rome. Learn more about how he experiments with memory, video, drawing and recording in his practice.

AAR fellow landscape architect Ross Altheimer uses every inch ceiling to floor to show visitors his process. Everybody loves to know how an artist thinks. Learn more about how he integrates memory, drawing and recording into his work.

Studio of our very own Glendalys Medina and Stephanie Lindquist at AAR. Read more about Glendalys's top tips to being a superhero artist.

It’s all related. Check out the recent work in the studio of our very own AAR fellow Glendalys Medina. Open studios is also a great opportunity to see all your recent work together and connect the dots between different works conceptually and aesthetically. Take a tip from Glendalys and learn how to become your own superhero artist.

This last week graduate students from the Yale School of Architecture opened their communal studio to show their sketches of Rome from their one-week workshop. Thanks to Michael McGrattan, Mansi Maheshwari, Swarnabh Ghosh, Eleanor Measham, and Yoojin Han for sharing photos. Check them out! They’re mighty beautiful. And if you like what you see, there are more here.

#MichaelMcGrattan #illustration #yale #architecture #drawing #rome #travel

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#MansiMaheshwari #yale #architecture #pyramid #scaffolding #drawing #rome #art

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#SwarnabhGhosh #yale #architecture #drawing #dome #travel

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#EleanorMeasham #yale #architecture #fountain #rome #sculpture #steveharby

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#YoojinHan #yale #architecture #travel #rome

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All photos at the Academy courtesy of Fotografia Altrospazio Roma.

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