Thursday, 22 January 2015

Plasticine Portraits...

The portrait project has continued... exploring portraits through different mediums. The idea being the children can see themselves froma new perspective, learn about different art techniques, experiment with colour, work on their fine motor skills and build on their self-esteem... it also requires quite a lot of focus - and despite the fact they can stop and continue another day/later, the children were determined to finish their portraits today... they worked for two hours... TWO HOURS! I kept asking if they wanted to stop, reminding we could finish later, but no there was resolute determination.

At first they got the chance to just feel and explore the plasticine, to mix colours and to smoosh it on paper, to get an idea of how the medium works...

Then we started to think about creating a skin colour... mxing and testing until they got just the right shade... checking in the mirror to compare the colour with their own face... (I had put a laminated sheet over the same black and white photo we used before - so the photo was one guide and  their faces were the colour guide).

getting the hang of the plasticine

checking the colour... is that the right shade for my skin, for my lips, for my eyes... reflecting the paper with the tests on it at the same time as the face...


Then it was to start smuching the plasticine over the photo to create a colour/textured portrait. The children thought it was funny how they looked bald at first... and also thought it was hilarious that they looked like ninjas before the eyes were formed...

checking under the plastic to compare the photo with the budding portrait....


It took time to smush the plasticine, mix new shades, make some more when they ran out - it was definitely good finger training...

adding details
 Bit by bit the portraits became "alive" - after a while we removed the photo from under the plastic and had it next to them as they worked so they could see the details - such as shading



It was interesting to see how they worked with the shading - we talked about the form, shade and angles - also about highlights... the children were interested in doing parts of the shading and lighting... just enough so that they could "breathe" - ie their faces needed a nose!! The idea that a nose is not a black line on the face was a whole new concept... we looked at the photograph and their faces and saw that there were no lines... just highights and shading.

The whole time they had paper next to them to be creative on in any way they wanted with the plasticine, but there was the expectation that the portraits should be taken seriously. We had a lively discussion about eye-lashes - did they really go beyond the eye-brow, could you really see them on the photograph, where do you put eye-lashes if the eyebrow goes all the way down to the eyes? Lots of thinking, some scraping and some creative license as dark green eye-lashes appeared on the lower lid and a tongue stack cheekily out of the mouth...

We talked about a background - what colour would work best - not so easy if you want all of the colours - but I think with some help the background became all the colours instead of the brown is accidently became... learning processes...

We also talked about that this was our first time of using plasticine like this, and that if we were to do this again, and again, and again, they would learn more about how to create with greater ease - this time there was MUCH to learn all at one go...

Both seemed satisfied with their portrait... I put it into a glass frame to preserve it (like I did with my daughter's plasticine art at home a few years ago and is still looking great) - and then we went out into the snow to let off some steam!

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