Two books by Todd Parr: “It’s OK to be Different” and “Be Who You Are” (Todd Parr website) are fabulous to explore the theme of diversity with young children. The illustrations are simple and bright, and lend themselves to this activity where Prep students choose different coloured faces, hair style and accessory to make a unique portrait, and perfect to practise cutting skills!
Prep/ Foundation Victorian Curriculum lesson plan with templates, learning intentions, success criteria, example artworks.
Once I worked how to do a reverse acetate portrait, I got Year 5/6’s to do one; the Year 6’s were displayed at Graduation. This is a relatively easy process and in most cases successful! Win-win!
Students were photographed to include head and shoulders to the chest, and printed out in black and white on A4 paper. Next, a piece of acetate was taped (just at the top) over the photograph, so they could lift it up and flip it over.
Using a black permanent marker (we used Fine Point Sharpies) students trace around their face and features, hair, clothing, etc, and if they flip the acetate over so it is on top of the back of the photo (white paper) they will see if they have missed any lines. If not they leave it flipped over- photo will be face down and this is the REVERSE of the acetate sheet- the side that you paint on. Their outline is on the other side (the front).
On this reverse side of the acetate, students used either warm or cool colours to paint just the hair, clothing and lips and eyebrows if they wanted. They could mix colours and add white; best to do a second coat so that the paint is not transparent. Of course you can use other colour schemes- primary, complementary, analogous. We didn’t have a lot of time left for colour theory!
Next step it to make some painted paper in the opposite colourway than the portrait (cool>warm, warm>cool). You could use gelli plates to make prints, but we just painted the paper, and whilst wet used texture combs to drag through the paint to create something interesting lines ( wavy, swirly, straight) and blending different colours a little.
All that needs to be done to complete the reverse acetate portraits is to slip the painted paper under the acetate sheet (the painted side is on the reverse). I left the photo attached and for display, a card frame was added plus a backing sheet, and Yr 6 students decorated it with their name and the year for Graduation.
View portrait of Dora Maar painting by Picasso. Discuss the colours used and the different views of the face. Next, view Weeping Woman 1937. Note the colours and emotion on the faces (Explain Picasso drew and painted a series of “Weeping Woman” in response to the Spanish Civil war and the loss and devastation- these portraits portraying a mother who has lost her child in the bombing, using colour and expression to convey feelings of anguish, horror, deep sorrow and mourning.)
Students can compare these two portraits of “Weeping Woman” by talking about the similarities and differences.
Students are shown how we can draw a Picasso face by playing “Roll a Picasso” game to choose different features. They draw some faces in their Scrap Books.
Next lesson, students choose two emotions they would like to show on either side of the face, choosing some features from their Roll-a-Picasso drawings to suit the feeling. Students draw in grey-lead pencil, firstly drawing a face shape or using a template to trace. After making a mark in the middle of the face students choose a nose to draw down from that point, then adding the line continuing up to the top of the head and below the nose to split the face in two. They add eyes, mouth hair etc. Trace over in black marker.
Talk about colours that could represent emotions. For example, yellow=happy, sad=blue, red=angry, green=calm, purple=confused. Students paint their faces in a colours to match the emotion shown on each half.
Background can paint or food dye “wash” . Students describe the emotion on each side of the face along with colour chosen to match.
This art lesson is suitable for Prep students (adaptable to Year 1 & 2) and I loved the way the artworks turned out. The use of colour is stunning! It will take 2-3 lessons depending on the class time allotment. I have hour lessons, so two and a bit of the next lesson gave enough time to discuss, explore, reflect and share.
Alexei Jawlensky (born 1864, died 1941) was a Russian Expressionist painter, (moved to Germany in 1896 and was a founding member of the New Munich Artist’s Association.) He is known mostly for his portrait art of heads and the use of bold, contrasting colours and strong directional brushstrokes.
The students viewed artworks by Jawlensky, describing what they saw, discussing use of colour, style of art, feelings conveyed.
‘Head’ 1910 by Alexei Jawlensky, pictured left, could be used on a platform like Seesaw for students to record their description and thoughts about the artwork, which can be used to assess the achievement standard at Level F in the Victorian Curriculum: “Students identify and describe the subject matter and ideas in artworks they make and view.”
After discussing placement of features on a face, students used a mirror to draw their head and shoulders and traced over with a thick permanent marker.
Students used chalk pastels on the side edge to gently lay down colour to then blend with fingertips for the background (of course there are always some who get excited and use their whole hand or even both!) They used water soluble pastels for the face and body. Water is brushed is over the pastel areas to smooth out the colour, giving it a painterly effect.
For students at this age, they can reflect on their artwork by sharing with others or describing their piece on a platform like Seesaw.
Prep/ Foundation Victorian Curriculum Lesson Plan with learning intentions, success criteria, step by step materials and techniques.
To learn about the Dutch artist Marten Jansen and his style of portraits
To explore using colour, shape and line to make an abstract Jansen style portrait.
I can use describe the elements of art in a Marten Jansen portrait.
I can describe the artwork of Marten Jansen – colour, style, line, shape, mood.
I can use colour, line and shape to make a portrait in the style of Marten Jansen .
Students view portraits by Marten Jansen. I just used “head shots”; some of his pieces are not suitable to use in primary school, eg. ‘Street walker’, ‘Solicitation’ for obvious reasons (Check out his work here: http://paintings.name/paintings.php)
Discuss different colour combinations to show emotion or create a mood. List and describe the elements of art used. Talk about various lines used (thick, thin, long, short), shapes (circle, triangles, organic shapes) and colour.
They could annotate one of his pictures individually, in a small group, or as a class.
Students work from a photo of themselves to make a line drawing. (I took photos of the students, edited them on Photoscape (like Photoshop) to change it into a line drawing, and then printed them on A3 cartridge paper. They then use colours, lines and shapes to fill it in using chalk pastels, (we used square blocks) using the edge, tip, side to produce various thickness and intensity of line. Blocks of colour can be used too, especially in the background.
Students reflect on their completed artworks.
WWW EBI (What Went Well / Even Better If ) Reflection Questions:
Did I fill the paper, leaving only a little or no empty/white space?
Did I use a variety of line thickness?
Did I use some shapes- geometric / organic?
Are the colours generally sharp, only blended or smudged in areas for an effect?
My Prep classes were learning about use of colour to show emotions and feelings, so this activity was a good follow on to learn about warm and cool colours.
Students learnt about what an ABSTRACT portrait is, in particular ‘Senecio’ 1922 by Paul Klee to inspire making a portrait in this style using warm OR cool colours. They used a variety of materials, including: crayon, oil pastel, water colour paints and chalk pastels using various techniques in the process.
First we looked at Paul Klee’s ‘Senecio’ (1922) and discussed the style and type of artwork, the colours, the feelings or emotions the colours might convey.
Students used a card circle (from Supermarket pizza packaging) and followed a guided drawing to add the joined eyes, line for the nose and mouth, and shoulders. These lines are traced over heavily with a black crayon. (no smudging!) They then drew lines on the face and body to make sections.
Oil pastels were used to colour the eyes. Water colour pallet paints were used to paint the sections and can be used with varying intensity- more water for a lighter colour value) We discussed that pink is also a warm colour because it is made using red (with white.)
For the background the students use chalk pastels on the side, then spreading and smudging the colour with their finger to fill the space.
Full lesson plan available with learning intention, success criteria, discussion questions, process and techniques. Self assessment rubric for students.
I have done this activity with Prep to Year 2 classes. Great lesson for Preps when teaching portraits and facial features. Of course if it’s inspired by Picasso, the features can be odd sizes and from different faces! The kids loved this. I had the pictures cut out in piles of each feature, they just had to choose 2 different eyes, a mouth, a nose, 2 ears and some hair. I drew an oval shape for the face on the paper.
Older students can do their own magazine search, cutting out the features from different faces, or using one face as the bottom layer, and adding different eyes, mouth,etc.
We viewed portraits by Pablo Picasso and discussed the difference between realistic and abstract (unrealistic) portraits. We watched a simple introduction toPicasso’s style of artand cubism.