August 3, 2020 - 12:00 am

Nicki's Central West End Guide

For more information (syllabus follows) email B.J. Parker,

Nicki's Central West End Guide

Master Copies with Millet


August 3-29 (4 Weeks)

Cost: Full tuition $80/Audit $60

B. J. Parker

Course Description: 

Jean François Millet is, arguably, one of the most important and overlooked painters of the Nineteenth century. Not only did Millet create a large oeuvre of significant drawings and paintings, he was influenced the direction of the realist movement. His view of life and the way in which he expressed that view caused artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, Jules Breton, and Jules Bastien-Lepage all to return to his work. In light of Millet’s significant contributions, this class will explore both his work and his broader context. In this class, we will:

  • Discuss the historical milieu of Jean François Millet
  • Discuss his influence on realism and modern art
  • Make a master copy from Millet or other artist connected to Millet

In addition to these goals, students will also have the opportunity to: 

  • Receive weekly private critiques
  • Enter a “digital studio” with other students via a weekly work session

Recommended Texts:

Kelly, Simon; van Dirk Maite, eds. Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí. Bussum: THOTH Publishers, 2019. 

Mary, Julia. Jean-François Millet: His Life and Letters. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1902.

Sensier, Alfred. Jean-François Millet: Peasant and Painter. London: Macmillan, 1881. 

Waller, Susan. “Rustic Poseurs: Peasant Models in the Practice of Jean-François Millet and Jules Breton.Art History: 31, 2008, 187-210.


Week 1 June 22-28

  • Topics:
    1. The Milieu of Millet: Historical Context 
    2. Why Master Copies?
  • Work: 
    1. Watch The Milieu of Millet: Historical Context Video
    2. Watch Why Master Copies Video
    3. Peruse folder of possible images 
    4. Choose an image to copy
    5. Draw image on canvas/panel
    6. Consider going to the St. Louis Art Museum to view the Millet exhibit (

Week 2 June 29-July 5

  • Topics: 
    1. The Realist Tradition of Millet 
    2. Roughing in the Painting 
  • Work: 
    1. Watch The Realist Tradition and Jean François Millet
    2. Watch Roughing in the Painting 

Week 3 July 6-12

  • Topics: 
    1. The Modern Tradition of Millet 
    2. Developing the Painting 
  • Work: 
    1. Watch The Modern Tradition of Jean François Millet
    2. Watch demo: Developing the Painting

Week 4 July 13-19

  • Topics:
    1. Reflections on Time with Millet 
    2. Finishing the Painting 
  • Work: 
    1. Watch demo: Finishing the Painting

Required Materials:


  • Choose a canvas or panel that is in step with your idea. Consider: linen canvas, aluminum or wood panel, copper, or paper. Each support accomplishes something different. 
  • Paint
    1. Choose professional grade paints from distributors such as: Williamsburg, Michael Harding, Blue Ridge Oil Paint, Rublev/Natural Pigments. 
    2. Your palette should include at least the following, though you are welcome to add whatever you like:
      • Titanium White or Lead White (Flake White, Cremintz, and Lead white)
      • Venetian or English Red
      • Yellow Ocher 
      • Raw Umber
      • Cadmium Red 
      • Ultramarine Blue
      • An earth-green
      • Indian Red
      • Bone Black 
  • Palette knife
  • Brushes 
    1. Quality brushes in good shape and in a variety of shapes, sizes, and stiffness. Rosemary and Trekkel make great products. 
  • Medium 
    1. Odorless Mineral Spirits 
    2. Linseed Oil
    3. Stand Oil 
  • Lint free rags
  • A comfortable palette
  • Pencils or charcoal 
  • A sketchbook