Magazine article School Arts

Where Do I Begin?

Magazine article School Arts

Where Do I Begin?

Article excerpt

How do I make a connection to my students? How can I find out who they are, and what they arc interested in? These thoughts raced through my mind as I began an internship at an inner city middle school. Self-portraits seemed to be a logical solution.

We began by taking a h)ok at self-portraits by Frida Kahlo, Max Beckmann, and Otto Dix. We discovered how the choices each artist made in terms of pose, dress, and background revealed not only who they were, but who they wanted to be.

Getting the Face in Place

The next step was to introduce proportion. Although our features are of different sizes and shapes, their placement on our faces is fixed on everyone. After looking at a proportion diagram, we felt our own faces and measured the distances to see if the information was correct.

We were ready to draw a head to shoulder portrait from mirrors onto colored 11 x 14" (28 x 36 cm) construction paper. Many students had never done this before and they had difficulty making a large oval. To make it easier, I told them that one of their outstretched hands is as big as their faces. After observing this wacky phenomenon they put their hand tin the paper and sketched around it. They drew guidelines to place their features in the right proportions.

Realistic Skin Tones

The next lesson involved color. I was worried that I would see just straight brown or white as their skin colors. In order to avoid this we talked about skin being made up of many colors. …

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