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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Surealism Self Portraits!!!!


I have waited SOOOOO long to post this project! My fifth graders have worked SO hard and learned so much! I am pretty sure this is the most successful, difficult, and rewarding project I have ever taught! 

First students brought baby pictures, or current photos and a photo or book of an animal that represented them in some way!
We looked at paintings by various artists and this video 

students spent several weeks creating a composition with them and their animal in a surreal situation.












 then I projected the images on my active board for them to sketch out. The ones who didn't bring pictures were taken with itouch and emailed to my computer. Some kids used images from library books for their animal and also took a photo with the itouch and emailed it.

after the sketch was finished, students spent the next two classes outlining with extra fine tip sharpies and adding texture to their hair and the fur/feathers/scales of their animals
the next two classes were spent learning how to mix skin tones. We used the disposable cafeteria trays with brown, pink, yellow, and red with a reservoir of water to lighten the color. They used testing paper to test until they got it just right. They had to continue to refer to the image to see where to shade their faces

next we did eyes and lips. I gave a demonstration with each step first. They had to shade the pupil black but be very careful to leave a reflection of light in the eye. We call it the "tiny shiny" Everything in this painting had to have value. Nothing could be flat. Whenever they used any color I had to be able to see light and dark values of that color. For instance if the hair was brown I wanted to see at least 3-6 different shades and variations of brown. 
remember the eyelids! When doing the lips, first paint with the skin tone and then add a tiny bit of red or pink to the color


The animals had to be painted with value according to the image. students learned to achieve lighter tones by adding water and blotting with tissue and darker tones by adding layers of color. 


 We used large poster size watercolor paper! These paintings are BIG and beautiful





 students had to choose a focal point. They could use neutral colors for their animal and their clothing and a very colorful background or colorful animal and clothes with very neutral background. That is why you see lots of black/brown/grey shirts or black/grey backgrounds


many students did a wet on wet technique for the background and incorporated any drips that happened along the way. I wanted them to work very loosely and not worry about messing up. Towards the end of the project I saw little artists emerging from their shells! They were trying new things, they were keeping their mistakes, and they were truly in love with their art! we dripped water just to see the spots it created, and and used straws to make drip explosions!  They were lifting paint where they didn't want it, adding paint and taking giant leaps of courage jumping into their backgrounds with huge brushes and bright colors!! 





















































 I'm so proud of these kiddos for all their hard work they put into this project. I think they have all grown from the process and learned so much. These artworks are magical to me. They are so expressive and individual!



















24 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful. How long did it take start to finish? No matter, I would rather have one beautiful project that the students learned a lot from vs. a lot of "trash can" projects. (you know the ones that get trash canned right away). Very wonderful project.

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    1. Thank you! I'm not exactly sure how long it took because we took a few breaks here and there and did zentangles and One Point perspective when the schedule got chopped up for the holidays. I would say it took about 10 weeks.

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  2. Natalie - These are ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR!!! I love the layering of color to create value, the neutral vs. color, the experimentation, -- I could go on and on an on..... Bravo to you all!!

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    1. Thank you so much,Christie, your comments mean so much!

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  3. Absolutely stunning! These pieces are so sophisticated and look like they were done by much older, and more advanced, students. Kudos to you for the patience and love of art that you are instilling in your students!

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  4. Question: did they trace their faces? All the faces seem really in proportion, and with this age group, I just wonder how you got there... Really nice work.

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    1. Yes the students found the images and sketched out a rough draft of how they wanted to incorporate their face with their animal then I projected the two pictures on my active board and they lightly sketched it out. One at a time! It took forever, so they were working on other projects until everyone was finished drawing. Then they outlined with sharpie and added texture before we started the painting part.

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  5. HOLY SMOKES. Incredible work for 5th graders!

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  6. fantastic art! congratulations!

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  7. Once again your students work is AMAZING! Love them so much, would be super happy if my 5th grader brought this home!!

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  8. AMAZING...SPECTACULAR....BRAVA!!! These are so Wonderful! I must try sometime. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. These are wonderful! I enjoyed looking at each and every one of them! I can just imagine how proud your students must be of their work! The art really shows their personality, and likes. Well done!

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  11. Wow, these pieces are amazing. Not only did the students do a wonderful job drawing themselves from a picture, but the finished product is perfect. These are above and beyond what I would expect from my middle schoolers. Props to you and your wonderful students! I love the abundance of pictures you took and the many explanations along the way.
    This was the first blog I began looking to for new and exciting ideas. Thank you for the many, many ideas. I hope to return the favor someday!

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  12. I saw this via a Facebook share from Tinkerlab and just wanted to say that it is such a great project! I really enjoyed looking at all the totally different, unique pictures.

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  13. Absolutely incredible art work!! And the imagination involved for the children... such brain expanding stuff!! Wonderful, wonderful.

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  14. Completely breathtaking!!! I am in AWE of what you had these 5th graders complete!!! WOW

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  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire post! How beautiful it is to see children embrace their inner artist. Thank you for helping to bring their gifts out into the world!

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  16. These are blow my mind amazing! I teach art in New Zealand and would love to borrow your idea here to use for my Year 8 students. I am a big fan of surrealism myself and think the kids would love it! Thank you for another fantastic post. Awesome!

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  17. Hi Natalie. I came back to Ooo and Aaah over these portraits again. They are truly spectacular! Question: How did your students transfer their portrait and animal sketches to their final piece? I don't have an active board and I'm trying to figure out the next best substitute. Maybe I could take a head and shoulders portrait ( 8 X 10) print it and they could trace it with tracing paper and do the rest of their bodies on their own. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

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  18. These are absolutely beautiful!! What an amazing and creative project!

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