Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who Is Behind That Self-Portrait?

This month's issue focuses on a number of self-portraits done by Five Town students in a variety of mediums. What is interesting is not only how they choose to portray themselves artistically, but what was behind the hundreds of choices they could have made.

The following are specific portraits done in CHRHS art classes with art teacher Russell Kahn. He explains the process first:

Self portraits are a good way to work on drawing skills as you focus on each part of the whole image. The process uses grids layered over photographs to focus on value changes and counter lines. Some of the students have more developed skills than others, but they’re really getting a lot of knowledge with this assignment. The main thing is they gained confidence with their drawing abilities, so the idea of tackling something as complex as a self-portrait gives them the knowledge how to: add texture, add cross-hatching, develop light and dark, work with negative space/positive space and transfer value changes. 
Artist: Alice Wang Instead of drawing a happy smiling face, I wanted to do something different, so I did that odd face on me.
Artist: Kate Pendleton  I just did the gridding and the basic features, which lined up with the gridding. It was a process, but I think it’s getting there. 
 Artist: Stephen Xu
Adult Comment: Stephen had a little trouble getting started, because in China they used the Metric system, so just using the rulers here on the inch system and enlarging a photo to a larger size gave him trouble. The whole thing was off the first time so he had to redo it, so he was a little frustrated with that, but he did pick his own portrait, meaning we took a couple of photos and he liked that kind of an expression. And he really is focused on working one piece at a time, getting the detail right and the value scale.
-Art teacher, Russell Kahn

Here are some of the portraits in progress (note the photograph of each student that is used to re-create the larger drawing):
 Artist: Eddie Socker I can’t get the mouth right and I’m a bit aggravated, but I did the same grid process. I’m working on getting it more exact.
Artist: Jake Klingelhofer
I thought that doing a straight face would be harder, so I took a picture with more facial expression and contrast so I could draw it to look more lifelike. 
Artist: Makyala Maxwell
I still am working on shading and fixing areas around my face and hair. But, it came out better than I thought it would. The following are other kinds of finished self-portraits that students worked on at CHRHS during the year. Some of these were featured in the Center for Maine Contemporary Art show, while others were displayed at the May 31 Fine Arts Night at the high school.
Tessa Isis-Bahoosh  That was supposed to be inspired by Picasso. I was trying to capture myself in a different kind of way than you normally would. I think I was trying to strike a nice balance and like capturing myself in a happy sort of moment of where my mind was somewhere else.
Artist: Lizzy Cox This is supposed to be an abstract version of myself. Green is my favorite color and also the color of my eyes. People are always commenting on the color of them, so I decided to make that color the main theme. To see a realistic self portrait Lizzy did of herself see below.


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