|A Ray Charles Portrait gave students a chance to practice|
For this project, students chose someone they wanted to paint: a football player, singer, mother, nephew, girlfriend, and friend were all in the mix. Some students choose to do a self portrait. We "cheated" by projecting images of each chosen person and tracing them onto a piece of paper. This isn't too far to the way of Chuck Close, who has been accused of cheating by working from gridded photographs. Who cares? There's evidence that even Vermeer used a camera obscura, and Leonardo would have been all over using smart phones if he had been given access to them. Tools are meant to be used.
Most students laid in all the squares of color first, paying attention to the value shifts, so that shapes/ facial features could be differentiated. Then circles of contrasting colors were placed in each square, like targets of skin and hair tones. There is usually a moment in which students say they hate their painting before working through it and coming to love it. You'd think they'd learn to trust me by now when I tell them that it gets darkest before the dawn in art making. During our end-of-semester portfolio critique, many students choose this as their favorite project. So there were many lessons that came out of this lesson plan: value and color, repetition and unity, patience and grit, and that your disabilities aren't necessarily liabilities.
|Our Student Exhibition contained several of the Chuck Close style Portraits|