as I think them, not as I see them,” for inspiration. Some students added pastel to the negative space to make their self-portraits more effective. Again the students were thrilled. By this time, they were comfortable with this process and had much practice with pastel. They had also manipulated their portraits several times, making them much less possessive of their own preconceived idea of how their face should look, and less sensitive about using color. PORTRAIT 5: Confidently prepared to complete a more realistic self-portrait, each student was given a sheet of tan construction paper—which is easy to cover and doesn’t fight with other colors. The students imprinted their portrait again, and were encouraged to layer colors to find their skin tone. We looked at self-portraits by Henri Matisse, Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt to encourage highlighting and shading. There was very little teacher input at this stage, as this was the fifth time the students approached this task. They were excited, fearless and the final portraits were fabulous. I am planning to use this idea with eigth-graders, centered around Van Gogh and oil pastel. They will be able to focus on conveying their emotions through stroke and color because the portrait technique is so freeing. Picasso once asked, “Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror or the painter?” The answer? Our students! n Carrie Nethery teaches at Jean Little Public School in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Moez’s second self-portrait, in pencil. Third portrait by Moez, inspired by Andy Warhol. Final (fifth) portrait, in pastel. www.ar tsandactivities.com x 81 YEARS • march 2014 15
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