Wild Side/Calm Side Self-Portraits
On a recent trip to San Francisco to see a large collection of Frida Kahlo's 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 Strathmore 9x12 Bristol Smooth 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.
- Teach your students the fundamental differences between warm and cool colors as they color their self portraits with Pentel Arts Oil Pastels.
- The results were terrific!