Term: 1 Year: 2008
At the start of every year each student at Ashburton Primary School draws a self portrait. These are collected and
stored until the next year when they draw their next self portrait, view their previous efforts and add them to their
Only A4 paper and 2B graphite pencils are used (ie no colour). The students from approximately year two upwards are given
make-up mirrors to help them with the task. While sometimes the students are a little apprehensive about the drawing
task itself, they thoroughly enjoy seeing their earlier drawings and sharing these with their peers.
The task takes up most of the first lesson of the year – after we have had a quick chat about the art room
expectations and all agreed to them!! At the end of the session when the majority of students have completed
their current portrait I start to give them back their previous pages to have a look at. Once this commences they
become rather noisy as they giggle and share their work so not much more work on the new portraits takes place. After
a reasonable sharing time (a few minutes) the students reassemble their collection with their most recent work on
top and their earliest effort on the bottom of the stack. After ensuring that the new ones are named and dated, their
whole collection to date is then collected up and labelled for the grade and stored until the next year.
At the end of year six (or earlier if they leave before this) the portraits are returned to their owners as part
of their graduation package (this includes a time capsule they create in their prep year). In this school of approximately
470 students the portraits from prep to year five are stored bulldog clipped in class sets in an A4 paper box
while the year six sets take up more space and are clipped and stored separately.
This year, as an adjunct to this project, after a study of Howard Arkley’s house paintings, each student in
the school completed a pastel picture of their house in the style of Howard Arkley (ie bold outlines and solid areas
of colour). It was fascinating to see the development of skills, concepts and ideas across the years. The collection
of ‘My House’ drawings from prep to six was displayed across the art room and provided a rich source
of observation and discussion points. The students gained a great deal from seeing how the different age groups represented
the same subject. It was particularly interesting when siblings noticed and commented on each other’s views
of the same house.
Ashburton Primary School
Suitable for Levels 1- 4