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.
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.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions we are still allowed to leave our home to exercise, so whilst out for a walk I collected some varied shape Autumn leaves from the ground and used them to create a simple artwork suitable for any primary school age child. I had done this lesson previously with Year 1’s and 2’s, shown further down in student examples.
Choose 4-6 leaves of varied shape to arrange on your paper. Once happy with the arrangement, trace around each leaf with a grey lead pencil. Use oil pastels in warm colours to trace each leaf, and use the leaves as reference to draw the veins on them.
Colour each leaf with pastels, using the colours of the real leaf if it’s not just brown! Then use your finger to smudge and blend the colours.
Once all the leaves have been coloured and blended, trace around the outline again and go over the veins of the leaves. Now time for the food dye background! You can buy food colouring from the supermarket. Use the COOL colours- which will be green and blue; I tried mixing purple with red and blue, but it turned out a little murky! Mix a few drops of food colouring with a little water and “paint” the background in dabs of each colour.