First, students drew their person to the best of their ability, using charcoal, from a photograph or using a mirror. Some students even mapped out the shapes of the shadows, which was a wise move.
Next, they transferred the drawing onto a gessoed 18" by 24" MDF board using the age-old carbon on the back of your paper and trace your lines technique. They then went over the charcoal lines with watery paint, solidifying them. I want the students to be aware of several methods of getting a drawing ready for the painting process, and this is just one of them.
Next, students painted their background at least one color. They then began mixing skin tones for different values in the photograph which was no small feat. They continued in this way, struggling to maintain some sense of realism. Acrylic paint was very difficult to work with because students' local colors for their skin tones kept drying up and they had trouble re-mixing them to be the same hue.
Eventually, most of the students got a handle on working quickly, and were able to get their painting to a place where there were many values
(dark and light colors) in the face, neck and hair, to the point where the features pop out in space.
Besides practice mixing colors and making objects appear dimensional in space, another aspect of the project was students getting to know other artists who paint portraits. Close to the beginning of the process, I asked each student to choose an (portrait) artist who they admired and to emulate some aspect of that painter's work. They could imitate the style, brush strokes, color palette or background of the artist. I try and impress upon all of my students that they are connected in a lineage of artists going back in time, and that they should find artists who can inform and inspire their work. This project was a piece of that idea.
|Sean chose the artist Max Beckmann to influence his painting|
|Paula chose VanGogh to inspire her brushstrokes and color palette|
|Finished painting by Janet V. influenced by Matisse and Alice Neel|
|Finished painting by Josef J.|
|Completed painting by Myers influenced by Rembrandt|
|Completed painting by Ava R.|
|Finished painting by Ranika F. Her chosen artist of influence is Kehinde Wiley|
|Completed painting by Anisbeth Torres Influenced by Matisse|
|Completed portrait by Heidi M. Influenced by Frida Kahlo|
|Portrait by Ianna C. influenced by Klimt|
|Portrait by Maysun V.|
|Portrait by Natalie S.|