Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Portraits with Frida and the Scouts

I've been lucky enough to have worked with several Boy Scout and Girl Scout troupes in the past couple years. I've done a variety of programs with them but lately I've been helping several Girl Scout troupes earn their painting badges. Perhaps helping is probably the wrong word. I would have to say it was more like Guiding. These girls could clearly all draw and paint. My job was really to find a fun way for them earn a badge and perhaps give them a new way to look at themselves.

In an hour.  After pledges and snack. Easy? With THESE bright talented girls it was beyond easy!

  • Introduce them to Frida Khalo's self-portraits.
  • Give them all mirrors.
  • Talk to them about really looking at themselves: have them inspect the real shape of their heads. Are their eyes really dots or circles or perhaps more almond shaped? 
  • Ask them to think about composition: is their head in the middle of the page the only way to go? 
  • How about colors? Skin is not one flat color. Hair usually has different shades and tones in it. How can their artwork reflect that?
And more. Keep them looking. Keep them thinking. Lots to think about in under an hour. 

You might notice that these aren't your usual paintings. Because I never know what the setup will be in the various locations I often avoid actual paint with these projects. So here we worked with oil pastels and a medium that would help them use them in a painterly manner: BABY OIL! That's right, the entire room smelled like the beach in the 1980's.  (Some of you might remember those days. The days before we were told about sun damage and baby oil was our choice of tanning lotion.) But I digress...

Did I mention that they had to add the stuffed animal of their choice? Who better to accompany them to their meeting!

Excellent work, girls!

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