SchoolArts Magazine

September 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 37 noticeable progress you've made since the beginning of this project." Laughter Is the Best Medicine The mystery of humor is elusive and engaging. Some say it's used to ponder logical impossibilities. Others say it helps to release energy generated by stress. As educators know, humor can also break down barriers in the class - room. Personal portraits are the perfect avenue for providing a time and space for laughter and humility, and an open - ing up to another's point of view. Activity: Humorous Portraits 1. Interview the Subject Begin by pairing up students by drawing names from a hat or inten- tionally pairing students who know little about one another. Through the interview process, each student must pose the question to his or her partner, "What makes you laugh?" After each student interviews and composes a detailed response, a blind contour line portrait drawing ses- sion ushers in laughter and release. 2. Procedures Have students choose from black fine-tipped markers, colored pencils, and/or watercolor on white paper. Possible perspectives include front, profile, or three-quarter views. Stu - dents should take turns drawing one another. Eyes must stay on the subject, while the student drawing uses one continuous line to compose the portrait. No erasing. No regrets. Emphasize the value of the creative process rather than the final product. 3. Criteria The subject must smile during the drawing session. The artist must keep the drawing utensil in contact with the model at all times and include every facial feature, especially the smile (lips, teeth, etc.). Maximize the picture plane—make it "big." Produce five distinctly different blind portraits and have the subject pick the one that suits him or her the most. Either the artist or the subject may apply the color medium of their choice. Watching my dog chase his tail. Max was a Christmas surprise. He learned to fetch a ball before he was five weeks old. By the time he was a year old, he began coming with me on family vacations. We've hiked trails in two national parks. Though I know he's an intelligent dog, he's always liked to chase his tail. Sometimes I think he just likes to hear me laugh. —Peter Results Be prepared to laugh and discuss the intrinsic qualities of the highly abstract portrait results. Elisa Wiedeman teaches art foundations to art and non-art majors at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. ecwiedeman@ aol.com

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