Towards the beginning of the semester, we had the opportunity to explore 2D portraits. During this activity, we were encouraged to use oil pastels in order to draw a self-portrait. First, we chose a piece of construction paper to be used as the background. Next, the professor modeled the activity for all of the students. She explained and then demonstrated how to draw the head and separate it into various parts. Then, she explained and modeled how to draw the facial features. We each used an oil pastel to draw the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and chin. I chose a light yellow color. This contrasts with the bright orange but still tends to be a subtle color. Next, we added the final facial features such as eyebrows and eye color. After the face was complete, we chose various colors that could be used to draw the hair. I chose to use a mixtures of blues and purples. This contrasted with the orange paper and made the hair stand out in a bold manner.
The activity allowed me to explore multiple aspects of artistic expression. Through my experience, I practiced color contrast, drawing, and the use of several different materials (i.e. colored pencils, oil pastels, Crayons, etc.). In addition, creating a self-portrait allowed me to evaluate and represent my appearance in creative ways.
I chose to document this activity for a multitude of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that this is a lesson that I can apply to my own teaching career. First of all, doing this could increase the social-emotional skills of young children. It would be the prime opportunity to discuss self-concept and self-awareness. Secondly, it would allow students to explore the use of artistic materials that they would not use on a fairly consistent basis. Lastly, it was an excellent illustration of explicit instruction. The teacher first demonstrated how to do the activity. Then, we practiced the steps as a group. Finally, we were able to complete the activity individually. The activity was highly memorable for me. It drew a connection between self awareness and creative expression, so my artwork was immediately personalized. I learned that my work does not have to be perfect, but when I put forth my best effort, I am highly likely to gain a new perspective and practice new skills.
I would love to implement this activity in my future classroom. It would be an excellent activity to do within the first few weeks of class. Students could each draw a self-portrait, and then they could be encouraged to choose 3-4 words or phrases to describe themselves. These phrases could be written on the portrait. In small groups, students could discuss their creations, and they could then be displayed on a classroom wall or in the hallway. This would allow for creativity, social interaction, and the development of social-emotional skills.