Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Alexa Meade Art Project

Years ago, my sister, Sharon, took family pictures in the style of artist, Alexa Mead. (Sharon's image is to the right.) I was so impressed with the results that I swore if my Art students and I would one day tackle a project like that ourselves.



One of my beautiful students with the black bar to provide anonymity

Last week, week three of our photography unit, we  did it! I gave each student a t-shirt to paint. They were tasked of making the brushstrokes visible, barely blending several related colors.  Then they painted large pieces of paper to serve as a back drop. Again, the goal was to make it painterly with loose brush strokes.

Finally, we added the most essential element. The students themselves. Each one took a turn painting their own face or having someone else do it. They picked their colors and poses, trying out various backdrops.

Occasionall, a fresh brush stroke or two would be added to the t-shirt or covering or backdrop to help tie the whole piece together.

A lot of learning came out of looking at the finished images and trying to select the strongest ones. The discussions bring about what makes a one composition better than other? How do the colors in the foreground and background go together? What is the mood presented in the expression, pose, and color combination? This student was pleased to see that the yellow stripe that went across her face at eye level, aligned with the yellow stipe in the back drop. She became the sunset that she was hoping to represent.
My new para pro playing with me

a free period gave me a chance to paint my own face
It was a physically exhausting week, running back and forth from sink to wall with the back drops. Fresh tape, swapped back drops, different color paint, twenty minutes at the sink trying to scrub faces clean. In the end, we were all thrilled with the results. I was so obsessed with the finished products that I ran around school showing my coworkers images of our masterpieces. A couple people asked what kind of filter we used. This was an old school way of working with brush and paint to let our colors show. No filter required.

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