Lesson 2: Barkley Leonard Hendricks
Students will discover the unique style of portrait artist Barkley Leonard Hendricks.
To have students explore the unique style of Barkley Leonard Hendricks, portrait artist, and create their own life-size portraits.
Birth of the Cool DVD from the National Gallery of Art, canvas or butcher paper, acrylic and tempera paints, camera
Other resources include:
National Gallery of Art: www.nga.gov educational resources packets for teachers
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University: www.nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions_hendricks.php
SET UP AND PREPARE
1. Study Hendricks' portraits and ask students to list characteristics of Barkley's work. (For example: large scale, subject is looking at the camera, multiple angle use, rich images on matte backgrounds, etc.) Have them view the video Birth of the Cool and if possible borrow the DVD from the National Gallery of Art educational programs. Discuss the commentary and images viewed.
2. Share with students background information about Barkley Leonard Hendricks.
Barkley Leonard Hendricks is currently on the faculty of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.
He was born in Philadelphia and studied at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he learned his excellent skills in portraiture based on traditional European techniques. He began exhibiting his realistic portraits during the 1970s. Barkley focused on what was considered a forgotten group of people, those who exhibited a "queerness" in stance and clothing style. He would often see someone on the street with a unique sense of style in clothing and ask to photograph them. He elevated the common person to nobility with his life-size intricate paintings (audio commentary from Birth of the Cool www.nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions_hendricks.php).
1. Explain to students that they will create portraits in the style of Hendricks.
Explain proportion and figure basics for body representations. Have cameras available for student use, if they do not have their own. Acrylic paint can be used for the figure and tempera paint for the background. Have students wear their chosen fashion style (if the school has a uniform code, have them bring in clothes to change into for the photo shoot). After studying the poses and representations of Barkley's work, have students choose a signature pose to present for a photograph. They will paint their self-portrait from this image.
2. Students will work in small groups to photograph themselves in their own unique fashion style and pose. When all are satisfied with their own images, they will begin self-portraits on canvas. If canvas is not available, have students work on large butcher paper or roll paper.
3. Display all student work and discuss the feelings students have about each work. Allow students to explain how they chose their fashion statement and pose.
Alternative Projects and Extended Lessons
Have students write an essay comparing their experience to what they have learned of Barkley's approach. How was the process similar and different?
If Photoshop is available, portraits can be retouched and manipulated via software and printed if life-size scale is not possible. Digital photos can be scanned and printed as well.