SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2013

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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Page 40 of 54

Middle School Studio Lesson go for bold! Jana DeSimone W hat's our next assignment?" is a question I am frequently asked by my eighth-grade art students. In the past when I have replied, "We'll be working on a self-portrait," the reactions range from sad faces and rolling eyes, to a collective "We've already done that." In junior high, I have noticed that students are generally not interested in self-portrait assignments. Often, they have drawn a self-portrait every year in art class and an additional one for their classroom teacher. I could see that this could be monotonous, so I set out to create a new self-portrait lesson; a lesson that would require students to break away from traditional methods and explore the use of unconventional color combinations and media. 36 October 2013 SchoolArts Drawing SelfPortraits First, students used tabletop mirrors to look closely at themselves and draw contour line self-portraits. After I demonstrated the technique, they drew in pencil and tried their best to use one continuous contour line. I reminded them that a contour line drawing would produce a drawing that was more cartoon-like than realistic. This information helped many students to feel more comfortable with drawing themselves. When the portraits were drawn, students outlined the pencil with black permanent marker and erased any pencil that was peeking out from under the marker line. I told students that they would be using colors that were not typically used for hair and skin. I set out tion was red and the right section was orange, then the middle section would become red-orange. I explained that the two color families they were working with were the warm colors and the cool colors. We also discussed contrasting colors, complementary colors, and analogous colors. All of this information was intended to help students make better choices when they began to use pastels on their portraits. Adding Color Students began adding oil pastel to their self-portraits. I encouraged them to make personal choices about where they would use color and suggested using contrasting colors to help make the facial features show up better. Many students discussed how some colors could be used to add "feelings" to their self-portraits. Red, for example, could make a person look angry or mean, while green might make it look like the person was feeling sick. I reminded students that they could use the colors any way they chose as long as both color families were used somewhere in their image. to create a Practicing on lesson that would require Creating a Color Wheels students to break away Background Students were anxfrom traditional methods When students ious to add color to and explore the use of finished applying their self-portraits oil pastels, they cut with oil pastels, but unconventional color I had them comcombinations and media. out their portraits and each selected a plete a worksheet background paper. These backgrounds of two color wheels first. In the first were taken from discarded wallpaper color wheel, I asked them to use one books and offered a variety of textures, solid color in each section. On the patterns, and designs to contrast with second color wheel, I asked them to the artwork. experiment with mixing the colors Using a low-temp glue gun, stuin between the solid colors to create a dents attached small recycled sponges new color. For example, if the left sec-

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