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The deep and refreshing well of art making

Many of us are starting to feel a level of exhaustion that is part and parcel of this strange and challenging time. I am certainly feeling it. I feel fortunate to have the deep and refreshing well of art making, esoteric thinking and community to dip into and revive!


In ART YARD Advanced Studio Teaching Artist Marie Roberts had her friend and talented performer Sage Sovereign to model for us. I saw Sage in the Metropolitan Opera's Coney Island-set recent production of Mozart's Così fan tutte. She is remarkable performer and a fantastic model.

Advanced Studio model (5/18/2020) Sage Sovereign

For our session on Monday May 18th, we looked at fine examples of portraiture by Kerry James Marshall (American, contemporary), Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (French, late 19th century) and Beggarstaff Brothers (British, late 19th century) and Romare Bearden (American, 20th century). Our model using simple props – a fan, a cane, a wide-brimmed hat -- recreated poses depicted by these artists.

We used materials of our choice to depict each pose keeping in mind style of the master artist(s) for each piece..

FIRST POSE Inspired by Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall, “Untitled, 2009, Acrylic on PVC panel
Fatima Traore, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 1
Ed Rath, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 1
Sigrid Dolan, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 1
Marilyn August, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 1

SECOND POSE inspired by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

Zeke Brokow, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 2
Abriel Gardner, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 2
Marie Roberts, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 2
Sarah Gumgumji, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 2
Zahir Prudent, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 2

THIRD POSE Inspired by Beggarstaff Brothers and Romare Bearden

Beggarstaff Brothers, “Girl on Sofa”, 1895, print
Romare Bearden, “She-ba”, 1970. Collage on paper, cloth and synthetic polymer paint on composition board
Ajani Russell, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 3
Kevin Anderson, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 3
Zeke Brokow, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 3
Meridith McNeal, Advanced Studio May 18, Pose 3

To see more of the beautiful work from this session check our the Gallery page.

Sage stayed through to listed to our critique and shared her heartfelt enthusiasm for the work created in our session. We hope that Sage will join us in the future for another session!


While we are working from home our materials present a new challenge. For example, I’ve run out of my favorite paper and the replacement paper is just weird. Or perhaps like Felix you are going back to materials on hand that you’ve not used in a while. Maybe like Jane you stocked up before quarantine and have new materials to become familiar with. This week our CREATE topic is ART MATERIALS.

Fatima Traore, Art Supplies
Fatima Traore, Watercolor in action!
Marie Roberts, Art Tools, 2020
Marie Roberts, Pens in action!
Marilyn August, Art Supplies
Marilyn August, Supplies in action!
Felix Plaze, Art Tools, 2020
Using those pastels Felix drew this piece.
Colored embroidery thread
Sarah Gumgumji, Colorful embroidery

Kevin described his process "This is an imaginative landscape in vine charcoal, inspired by an artist I saw on instagram. It is pretty simple to make; what you need is vine charcoal."

Vine Charcoal
Kevin Anderson, "maginative Landscape", 2020, vine charcoal and water on paper

Vera has been experimenting with Suva brightly colored glowing face paints.

Vera Tineo, Suva glowing face paint
Vera experimenting with the Suva face paint!

You are welcome to share your materials directly on the thread or by email and I will post to the thread!


If you would like to support our continued Virtual Programs, our GoFundMe campaign is still live. We have 38 people who have contributed and we have raised close to 82% of our goal!


We are in 4th place for the World Happiness Award. Please vote of us!


I received an email from the National Arts Education Association sharing an open letter directed at Superintendents, Principals, and School Board Members. While the missive was full of relevant information, this particularly resonated as we work together to generate creative solutions and combat exhaustion and pandemic generated ennui.

“Visual arts provide a means to understand ourselves and the broader world around us, to unpack history and culture, express complex ideas, formulate innovations, and generate creative solutions.”


And now back to wrangling with that bumpy new paper, or rather to generate a creative solution!

Sending very best wishes,

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