Wild Side/Calm Side Self-Portraits

Last week I decided to share my love (read: obsession) of Frida Kahlo and her self-portraits. On a recent trip to San Francisco to see a large collection of her work at sfmoma, I realized just why she painted so many portraits. It wasn't because she thought she was beautiful or interesting. She painted bowls of fruit or portraits of other people to make money to pay for her mounting doctor bills. She assumed people would not care to pay for her intensely personal paintings. During the times after her many surgeries and when her body was giving way, she was confined to her bed. That was where she painted self-portraits to the point where she perfected her own face.

I wanted to teach the students how powerful color could be to convey emotion. So we embarked on a self-portrait project, splitting the portrait down the middle. One side is their happy, "crazy" side with warm, bright colors. The other is calm, serene side with cool colors.

  • Make sure students have a 9 X 12 piece of white paper and a pencil.
  • Pass out circle templates and instruct them to draw their own heads. I've found that making them use templates keeps them away from drawing little pinheads.
  • Once they have drawn their features, have them draw a line down the center.
  • Some of the kids got confused as to what was a cool color and what was a warm color but I think they understood the overall principle.
  • We fun with this project. I know I did because I got to talk about Frida Kahlo!
The artwork above was created by a 5th grader.

1 comment:

  1. I totally feel this post! So inspiring. Those chicos can be so honest, que no?

    I loved that Frida Exhibit. I swear, I look at her work at a whole new level!

    Thanks again for stopping by my lil blog. I will certainly link you up too. You got a great message, and us chicas need to pull together whenever possible.

    Viva La Arte!


Artistically speaking....