Educating Students in the 21st Century
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Fingerprint Portraits
Contemporary American painter Chuck Close is one of my favorite artists. He created amazing massive portraits using a grid in unconventional ways. I saw his work at the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY (Fall of 2006). The Show was a "Survey of Self-Portraits" and was amazing to experience with my family. If you have never seen his work, you better go Google some now! What's even more remarkable is that he was suddenly paralyzed half way through his career and he continued to work.

I was inspired by his art to create a lesson for my 8th graders. He made these very fun portraits using his fingerprints rather than a brush. I presented his work and taught them how to use the grid to blow up their photograph. Painting with fingerprints is not easy. Since we used only black acrylic, you have to rely on pressure for lights and darks. Flaws are a natural part of this process and learning how to accept them and work with them is one reason I like this project.

I loved creating my class example, my Self-Portrait. I loved it so much, that I created another for Pale as a goofy gift (above). My first portrait of Pale! What's wrong with me! He's great and I'll have to pay tribute to him again, maybe in oil paint next time. :P

Below are students' pieces.


By Heather on January 17, 2008 at 12:25pm EST Topic(s): acrylic painting portrait self-portraits middle school lessons student art work 2007

Comments
Mike You don't have to do more pictures of me. =P We don't need to see more of my funny lookingness.
1/17/2008 at 12:50pm EST
Starfish You look so intense, and Pale looks so relaxed :P It's like, oh goodness, what did he do haha.

Really neat stuff. It'd be really fun to do drawings like that with finger paints on glass and erase them and animate it. Messy, but fun.
1/17/2008 at 2:01pm EST

Heather
I do have intense eyes...I was still unsure of the process when I did my portrait. I felt way more confident with Pales because by that point I've been helping my students for a few weeks.
1/17/2008 at 4:06pm EST

Heather
Good news....my student with the portrait on the far right won a Gold Key at the Scholastics Art Awards. Out of 6,000 submissions in the art category of the Region-at-large, 650 were given this distinction. Congratulations!
4/7/2008 at 10:03am EDT
Starfish that is AWESOME! you must feel SO proud :)
4/7/2008 at 6:50pm EDT
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