Saturday, January 9, 2016

2nd Grade Three-Quarter Portrait Snowmen

Artwork by Barclay

Most early elementary portraits are confined to simply showing a straight-on perspective of a full face,  I show the second graders how, before Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, even most "real" artists' portraits looked that way, too.  Then we talk about how Leonardo and other Renaissance artists made the "bold" move of painting their subjects in a more natural pose, turned slightly so that only three-fourths of the face is showing. (This is a great spot to introduce a zero to one number line or a "pizza" divided into fourths, as many of the 2nd graders haven't been exposed to fractions yet, at least in their classrooms.).  We also discuss how portraits before the Renaissance typically didn't include more than a blank background, but the Mona Lisa and others have a sense of space because the artists also painted their subjects in a setting of some kind.

We then set to work on our own three-quarter portraits, paying special attention to how the carrot nose would extend beyond the head and how the eyes, mouth, and buttons would be off-center.  We also zoom in on our snowman subjects to vary the usual perspective even more and allow a bit more detail.  A ground line is added to the drawing, and students place something - a tree, a house, another snowman, for example - on it to lend their portraits a sense of space.  The white of the snowman is then painted with acrylic paint.  In a second session, details are colored and snowflakes added with oil pastels.

Artwork by Aiden

Artwork by Elsie

Artwork by Riley

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