SchoolArts Magazine

February 2016

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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18 FEBRUARY 2016 SchoolArts could be categorized as Surrealist art. Students became really involved in the analysis of these artworks. They enjoyed dissecting the images to try and figure out the intentions of the artists. Once our introduction was finished, we began creating surrealis- tic self-portraits. Students Strike a Pose Everyone knows that middle-school students love pictures of themselves, so any project that incorporates their own image is sure to be a big hit. About two weeks before we started the art-making part of this lesson, I began taking individual digital photographs of students in front of a white backdrop. I asked each student to assume an interesting pose (arms outstretched, crouching, grabbing, reaching) and an exaggerated facial expression such as fear or surprise as I photographed them. At this point, students did not know why I was taking their por - traits. When all the photographs had been taken, I edited out the back - grounds and printed them out in grayscale. Once the Surrealism introduction was complete, I gave students their individual photos, 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) pieces of white drawing paper, and scissors. I asked them to care- fully cut out the images around the edges as close as possible and then set them aside. I didn't want them to glue their images on their paper until their drawings were complete. Getting Surreal I asked students to integrate their self-images into drawings of unique Surrealistic environments. Their scenes could be from anywhere, real or imagined. They were free to include anything they wanted, as long as it was school appropriate. I suggested that they move their cutout figures around the paper to decide on possible positioning, but instructed them not to glue them until the drawings were complete. I encouraged students to consider adding a foreground, middle ground, and background; to use overlapping to create the illusion of space and dis- tance; and to add detail. If something was drawn that needed to overlap the cutout figure (e.g., something grabbing their leg), that part of the image would eventually be cut away to make room for the object that will overlap it. Students had access to books, magazines, and the Internet if they wanted images of specific ani- mals or objects to draw. When the drawings were complete, students glued their images where they desired. This was the point when some of them needed to cut There are no limits to Surrealism. An thing ou can imagine, ou can create. Olivia Uchello

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