Friday, November 23, 2012

Pastel Self Portraits- Who Am I?

The Essential Question

Who am I ?  That is the first question I ask when starting this lesson on pastel portraits.

This is a great question to ask middle school students. As they're growing into adulthood, they're in the process of dealing with issues such as: 'Who am I?', 'Who do I want to be?' and 'What's important to me?' all the time. 

For this lesson I introduce various self portraits/portraits  that contain symbolism that reflect the subject of the painting. Self portraits by Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh; portraits made by Jacques Louis David and Warhol all contain symbolic clues that reflect who's actually in the painting.

The symbolism could be: something they're wearing, something in their hand, or how they hold their hands or something in the back ground. All of which that can be the focus of  discussions with the class before the project is started.

The Steps We Take

These self portraits are all made with oil crayons. We start with a rough draft first, while we review all the proportions of the face. Then, we  practice blending colors with the oil crayons. Lastly, we create our self portrait, cut it out and glue to the background paper.  We then draw our symbols which are cut out and glued on to the background.

What do you think about making self portraits with your students? Would this work in your art class? Let me know.

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