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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Exploring the theme of Myself in September

We began the school year with "Myself".

Week 1:

Exploring "Myself" through Mindmaps in our sketch books and practising sketching our self portraits. This brought up some interesting conversations about skin tones and the lack of colours to suit the skin tones in the standard colouring packs. There was a pinky fair colour and a very dark brown, but no lighter browns or tan colours.

Some children in first class that are learning English as an additional language did not know the name of some body parts- eyebrows, eyelashes etc.

Many children were drawing stick people and we discussed how our bodies look- arms and hands.

Week 2:

We had fun looking through the book "Faces". We looked at all the places we may see faces in our world. There were many faces made from everyday items in this book!

Using the Tiger book we created our own faces from random items.

This was stuck into the children's sketch books.

Week 3:

Using large sheets of paper (A2), each child painted their own self portrait. I encouraged the child to paint big! This makes painting a bit easier at this age and looks very effective in the corridor! Who can resist a smile when they see these faces smiling at them?!

(I'll post photos later in the week!)

Week 4:

We spent our art lesson just responding to famous self portraits. The curriculum contains the strand unit "Responding to Art" and teachers are advised to let children respond to the art they make and famous artists.

This can be done as an introduction or conclusion to the art activity. I find that an hour flies by, between the set up, activity and clean up! (Clean up mainly!) So when you try to respond to the art, you rush it as you stand washing paint trays and collecting table cleaning cloths and instructing the class! 

I made time this month to introduce some famous self portraits and allow the children time to think and respond in a meaningful way to the portraits. Inspired by our class trip to IMMA last year, I asked questions like 

"What do you see?" 
"Does the picture remind you of anything?"
"How do you think the artist feels"

This is a fantastic website for resources:

I recommend the Judith Leyster video for self-portrait exploration.

The responses were fantastic. My first class openly discussed how they liked the brush strokes in Van Gogh's paintings and how Andy Warhol's self portrait was like a selfie! Amazing!!

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