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Modern Masters

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

This week in Advanced Studio, we discussed the work of ART YARD favorite Kehinde Wiley alongside the images he used as a direct reference for his monumental works.

Teaching Artist Jane Huntington reviews the session: “I began with showing Wiley’s rendition of Jean Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps".

“Napoleon Crossing the Alps" (left) Jean Louis David, (right) Kehinde Wiley

Many students remembered seeing this work at the entrance of the Brooklyn Museum, and some of them had been with ART YARD long enough to remember Meridith’s classes during Wiley's 2012 show at the Jewish Museum.

I showed several images with various background/foreground treatments. Although Wiley’s earlier subjects were male, I made sure that his recent works featuring women were represented. We discussed the subjects' direct gaze towards the viewer and their stances, their clothing choices, and how the attitudes differed from their referenced images.

The assignment called for using people the students knew. In the uploaded pdf I included several of Wiley’s works with their references, along with other images that I felt might inspire the students. I made sure to include masterworks with pets and their owners, thinking they would be popular images to draw from–and they were. Many students embraced the repetitive wallpaper-like patterns, some of them making their own stamps.

Halli Beaudoin, Andy and Pru
Eden Moore, Belle: Double Portait - My Mother and Aunt

Students Sarah, Akash, and Ed finished their work within the hour. Others, like myself, needed longer. Ed and Akash both drew from the soldiers/commanders on horseback. Ed made a political statement, and Sarah drew upon her Saudi Arabian Muslim heritage as a modern woman for hers. Marilyn and Wayne did some lovely portraits of dear friends and family, and pets were a popular subject, with or without their owners.”

Sarah Gumgumji, Covered Woman Doing Everything
Akash Wilmont, My Friend
Ed Rath, Napoleon Complex
Marylin August, My Friend's Granddaughter in Hat
Wayne Gross, Mother and Child (Samira and her mom)

Jane Huntington, Brother Steve

During this time we are working on Zoom Advanced Studio Artists send me images of their work, so that I can share in this recap. This often leads to the bonus of process images or additional works. Vera, for example, did a second piece which is a variant of her portrait of her aunt. With his usual humor (to get at serious subjects), Zeke's piece touches on the strangeness of masked culture and disguise. Inspired by our lively discussion of gender roles and depicting strength, Jacob added a second master inspiration a self portrait by Paula Modersohn-Becker for his portrait of his friend Helena and her dog Grazie. Ecce Cattus might not be the proper Latin (Eden should be able to help with that), however, I thought it the perfect variant on the Wiley and Vandyke Ecce Homo (Behold The Man).

Vera Tineo, Portrait of my Aunt (1)
Vera Tineo, Portrait of my Aunt (2, in progress)
Zeke Brokow, Disguised

Paula Modersohn-Becker, Self Portrait
Jacob Rath, Helena and Grazie

Meridith McNeal, Ecce Cattus (Rik after Kehinde Wiley after Anthony Van Dyke)


Sarah has posted a new CREATE thread in which she asks us to consider and discuss “It has been a roller coaster of emotions from the beginning of 2020. What do you do to relieve the burden of emotions? Do you listen to music, paint, watch movies, cook, or call a friend? Please share with us in our fantastic community in ART YARD your way to refresh your mind during the day.”

Marie adds to the thread: "I am a loner by nature, so being in quarantine has returned me to my natural home of being alone. I spend way too much time at my job, and i am drawing. I had to learn how to work with online model sessions for my classes. I love to draw from the figure."

Marie Roberts, Figure Drawing (from Zoom session)

Nayarit posts: "Days often feel mundane following a similar daily routine, I find myself seeking motivation out of the simple things around me."

Nayarit Tineo, Sticky Note Sketches

Head over to ART YARD CREATE and add your ideas and images on how you are coping!


In other interesting news, I received an email from my friend Brian Tate this morning sharing projects he is currently working on. I think this will be of great interest to the ART YARD community!


A WNET Summit

Tuesday, October 27, 5-6:30 pm EST

Join the Conversation Live at

Brian says: "I'm thankful to WNET, America's flagship PBS station, for the vision to undertake this major forum. I'm proud to have gathered these powerhouse thinkers and doers for the occasion, and I'm excited to moderate our conversation on revolutionary history, current events, and the future.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 27, 5-6:30 pm, for Criminal Justice In America: A WNET Summit. The event will gather 10 thought leaders from across communities and across the U.S. to examine the leading criminal justice issues, policies, and narratives affecting America, and what can be done about them. Our focus is on strategies and solidarity, with an understanding of history and eyes toward the future."

You can join in this exciting dialogue online and take part in this conversation!


I hope the week ahead brings you much inspiration!

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