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abstract colors on self-portraits....


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 22:51:04 PST

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526

.... I would be very
interested in how you presented the project to your students. I am at the
high school and my students freak out when I suggest to use any color other
than "skin tone"- and they'll waste hours on trying to mix the exact color
their skin. These are sooooooo much better than the old photo realism
approach! I have tried the "Fauvism" lecture for inspiration (Green Stripe)
but they resist. I want to do my self -portrait lesson again with your
color approach. Please tell me your secret. Kathy in Kalamazoo ---

Thanks for the kudos.

I like your excellent idea about using the Fauvism theme. I used only three
resources...."The Green Stripe" and "Lady with Hat" by Matisse plus Derain's
portrait of Matisse. I blew up smaller pictures into 11x17" Kinko copies so
you can see the brushstrokes of color. I didn't use any secrets but just
told the kids they couldn't use real skin colors. I wanted them to use their
favorite colors or what fit their particular mood for the day. I did give
them small strips of black paper to practice color selection on because
craypas look differently on black const. paper than your normal white paper.
Some students found they like some colors the best but changed their minds
when they put them on the black practice strip. I also had them lay out the
craypas in the box (of 24) in a colorwheel order to keep all the diff.
greens, blues, etc. together. It proved easier for them to work from. These
small strips also served the function of demostrating how to blend colors by
laying on several coats of colors instead of blending with the finger which
they seemed to want to do at first. They could practice on these strips

To entice the kids first I started working on a demo sample of a student
from another one of my classes while the class was working on another
project. They informally watched me go through the steps on and off during
the periods. I would answer questions as they walked by my table but I
didn't give a demo. I left the demo only half finished so they could see the
steps that had been done. Before we began they had a inkling about the
process and the product. They were particularly interested in the color
selections and excited about starting their own color series. They were very
open to not using flesh tones. Toodles....Bunki