Portraits

Term: 3 Year: 2006

Portraits 2016 1
Portraits 2016 2

The idea for the painting originated from the celebration of our school’s 10th Anniversary with students
completing an original piece of art work.

I selected a group of seven students from year five and six, boys and girls to create and paint the canvas.

Using Pablo Picasso, Cubism and faces as a source of inspiration and starting point, students were asked to draw faces using
only line on A4 paper with grey lead pencil. The drawings were then filled predominantly with triangles. Students
found it very challenging to draw in shapes and redrew their picture many times.

We decided that the painting would have three large faces. As a group we spread out all face drawings and through the elimination
process, chose two female and one male face. A female face on each side facing in and one male face in the middle
facing forward, creating balance in the painting. The drawings where then fine lined and photo copied onto acetate.
This enabled students to then project a larger image onto the canvas and outline using black markers.

A large timber frame was made, (2m x 1.20m) and we stretched pre-primed canvas securing it with a staple gun. Students
were shown that if we spray, the underside of the canvas it was easier to stretch and when it dried the canvas
would tighten.

Each student was given a photo copy of one of the faces to colour using pencils. I wanted them to use monochromatic
blending to fill the shapes that represented the skin and flat colour on all other features of the face creating
a contrast. All colour choices where decided on as a group. They also pre-determined the direction each shape
was to be shaded (from dark to light) to ensuring that each one was different from the ones around it.

Students were then shown how to mix acrylic paint to make the colours needed for each face. Students were also shown how
to blend the colours from dark to light. They found it extremely challenging to blend the colours evenly within
each shape. They soon discovered that the colours would change when they dried and they also realised that they
needed many coats in order to achieve a solid intense colour. Having to paint many coats also enabled them to
see an improvement in blending with each layer and they became more adept and confident.

The background was split into three sections with two vertical yellow strips separating each character. Each section
was then painted with a different colour. Each character was outlined with black permanent markers.

Students did most of the work during lunch times and some class time when class teachers allowed.

The painting was displayed at our school art exhibition and students presented it at assembly, giving a short talk
to the school community on how they created it.

The painting is to be permanently displayed on the main office-building wall for all to enjoy.

It was a pleasure to spend my time with them, with such wonderful results both in the finished painting and the
improved confidence within each student. One statement “I never thought I could do something like that”
and the look on their faces when others talked to them about the painting made it a valuable process. 

Brentwood Park Primary School