Although she is one of the three Art Prefects, Cayley Geffen was not always a master of the visual arts; she started from the bottom. Her art career began in her Second Form visual studies course. “I didn’t like it at first, but in Fourth Form, I decided to take it every term,” she said. Outside of her art courses, Cayley began to spend her evenings in the art center as well. “It’s such an escape. The art center is so quiet and peaceful at night.” Painting every night helped her develop her craft, and soon Cayley found her nich. As she spent more time in the art center, her skills developed rapidly, and she began to enjoy painting more than ever. She even went on to take an independent study in painting with Ms. Van Gelder.
“I’ve really come 180 degrees since Second Form,” said Cayley. Cayley’s ceramic rainbow-colored goblin, which currently sits in her grandmother’s living room is “a complete mess. A lot of people have told her to take it down, but she won’t.” Now, Cayley not only paints with ease, but she also works with charcoal and ceramics. “I probably like charcoal more than acrylic, but I really enjoy both.” The most difficult part of art, she said, “is getting the proportions right to make people look recognizable. Finding time is hard too, especially during my Fifth form year, but you just have to make time.” Her favorite part of art is “seeing how much it changes after each time [she] works” in the art center. Cayley takes pictures of her progress every half hour, compiles them, and turns them into a flipbook.Cayley loves that “people who don’t know [her] personally [can] appreciate [her] artwork.”
The inspiration for Cayley’s paintings comes mostly from nature and her photography. “I like to go through my pictures, edit them, and choose one to paint. It inspires me to experiment with color.” Other inspirations come from her own life. For example, Cayley used charcoal to capture the smile of Joyce, a girl whom Cayley met in her homestay during her trip to Kenya. Another one of her charcoal pieces shows Cayley with her dog, Casper. Since Fourth Form, Cayley has been taking Portfolio Preparation, a course in which she created her best piece, The Barn. “It took half of spring term, but it was definitely worth it,” she says. As an Art Prefect, Cayley opens the Brodigan Gallery and makes announcements whenever an artist visits Groton’s campus. Outside of Groton, Cayley draws in her journal every day, and teaches art classes to younger children. “It’s really important to learn to express yourself through pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?”
When Cayley is not creating art, she runs. She has participated in cross country, winter running, and track in the past two years. This term, she is managing Boys’ Varsity Squash. Cayley also loves to travel and has done so every break for the past few years. A trip to Italy a few years ago especially influenced her art. She drew from the frescoes, mosaics, and architecture to create art that evoked the same feelings of peace that she felt in Italy. “It gave me a whole new perspective on the importance and beauty of art,” she says. Other than that, Cayley is like most other Groton students. “I just study and hang out with my friends like everyone else,” she says.
Beyond Groton, Cayley plans to take art classes in college. “No doubt art will always be a part of my life,” she said. “I love drawing and painting and I’m sure I will continue it.” Her advice to beginners in the visual arts is to keep on trying. “Definitely keep on going with it. You never know. It is so satisfying to finish a painting, and it’s so worth it,” she says. “And art people are cool,” she laughs. Though it is hard to fit into her schedule, Cayley said that it is possible. Since it is the best way to develop one’s skills, she recommends going to the art center, spending time there, and “making whatever you’re working on the best it can be.” In the future, Cayley hopes to try watercolor and enhance her photography skills.