H@H Kids Edition (Episode 8): “Family” Portraits

For this week’s Heckscher at Home Kids Edition, we will be learning about artist Fairfield Porter and his painting Elizabeth in a Red Chair, which is from the Museum’s permanent collection, and high school artist Micarlys Ramirez and her painting Ydelim in a Green Chair. Then, Lisa Sayedi, Lead Museum Educator, will guide you every step of the way as you discover, imagine, and create your own artwork!

Watch Instructional Video below!

Project Overview:

First, we will learn about Fairfiled Porter and Micarlys Ramirez and then uncover details together as we look closely at both of their paintings. After getting inspired by Elizabeth in a Red Chair and Ydelim in a Green Chair, we will get creative and make our portraits using paper and coloring materials!

white paper
colored paper
crayons/marker/colored pencil

Key Concepts:



Taking a closer look at our inspiration artworks, let’s make observations about details that you notice.

Let’s look at our first painting by Fairfield Porter. Where is your eye drawn to first? The little girl in the red chair is the main focus of this painting. When a person or people are the central point of a work of art, we call that a portrait. Elizabeth is the artist’s daughter and he has asked her to pose for him. What kind of expression does she have? How would you feel if you had to sit still for a long time? The setting makes us curious about Elizabeth, and we can use our imagination to create a story or a narrative!

This painting is called Ydelim in a Green Chair and it’s done by an artist in our current exhibition Long Island’s Best. Micarlys used Fairfield Porter’s piece as her inspiration to create her own work of art! What do you notice that they both have in common? Both of these paintings are portraits and the subjects share similar expressions. While in each of the paintings, the people are the focus, you will notice the backgrounds are different. Observing the surroundings, and looking for details, can help us figure out the story behind the painting. Looking at both of the works of art, how would you describe the mood? 

Fairfield and Micarlys both use color and details to capture a moment of everyday life. Let’s look around our own homes and see if we can find inspiration around us to create a portrait of our own! You can use someone in your family, a pet, an action figure, or even a stuffed animal! What kind of setting and mood will you create in your portrait?


Please share photos of your finished works of art with us on social media and we will post some of our favorites here. And check back next week for our next project! #HeckscheratHome #MuseumfromHome