Term: 3 Year: 2012

Mixed media portraits

This semester the Year 9 students undertook this task as an exercise in creating a mixed media piece of art. Students struggle to work large scale and can have a tendency to be too precious with their artworks and we played with the idea of happy accidents.  Consideration was to be given to the Art Elements of Line, Tone, Colour and Texture and a wide range of art materials were put out to encourage students to explore and play.  We discussed the use of complementary colours in terms of colour mixing and the importance of Balance in the creation of abstract art. Students were encouraged to use a range of mixed media techniques when applying paint to achieve a range of effects, patterns, text and lines.


  • Oil Pastel
  • Posca Pens
  • Found objects
  • Various materials for applying paint. Brushes, pieces of card and cotton filters, hands etc
  • Rubbing Blocks
  • Watercolour
  • Acrylic
  • Collage
  • Sharpie
  • Textas
  • Anything we could think of!!

The Process:

  • Spend time exploring portraiture. Complete Blind drawings, (eyes closed, use hand to follow the contours of the face and don’t lift the pencil from the page) as well as straight contour drawings of a classmate.
  • Transfer the most interesting portrait to acetate.
  • Backgrounds- go for it. Using a range of materials students built up multiple layers.
  • The whole page is to be covered (no white paper is to show through)
  • It is important to work quickly.
  • Can be a good idea to break it down to five minutes with each material and then swap to a new material.
  • Every now and then the students would be told instructions such as apply a wash to the whole page, add words, glue down newspaper, mix it up (helps to loosen them up and teaches them to no longer be so precious)
  • Use an overhead projector transfer Portrait onto background design with Posca Marker.

Lesley Light
Beaconhills College
Suitable for Level 6