Elementary School

Self Portraits in Art

Over the past six weeks in ES art, some of our First Grade classes have been studying self-portraits.

The unit began with students practicing and exploring self-portraits in their sketchbooks. They learned about proportion, how to draw facial features, placement, and much more!

These works of art were inspired by Rembrandt who was a famous 17th-century Dutch artist. Students were introduced to the history of court painting and then discussed how portraits were captured not with cameras but by hiring a portrait artist.

We looked at the work of Rembrandt and discussed the way he used light and dark, also known as value or contrast, to make his portraits "pop" off the page. We explored tempera paint, collage, oil pastels, tracing, gluing, and cutting.

During this unit, we also read the book, The Color of Us, and learned about different skin tones. This was a great introduction to mixing tints, tones, and shades to match different skin tones, including their own. Along the way, the class talked about how important it is to celebrate everyone's unique skin tone. Using our daily class mantra, “I am amazing,” we discussed how each of us is amazing and special in our own way.