My Grade 2 students recently studied portraiture. In addition to face symmetry and proportion, we've been looking at how colour can affect a mood of a painting.
I fist had students practice drawing a face in correct proportion. One of my main goals was to have all students try to include all the small details that younger artists tend to forget: upper eyelid, eyebrows, ears in the correct position and most importantly, eyes in the correct position. I showed them on the whiteboard, what I call "forehead eyes"- whereby beginning artists tend to put their eyes waaay to high up on the face- in the forehead region.
The next class, we had a look at the some works from Pablo Picasso's "Blue Period". These were works done by Picasso between 1901 and 1904 where he painted in essentially monochromatic tones of blues. He was going through difficult times in his personal life and his art became an outlet for his emotional state at the time.
So we discussed how colour affects the mood (blue is a cool colour) and how Picasso expressed sadness on his portrait's faces (neutral expression, sad eyebrows, body language). We discussed some times in our lives when we might be sad (death of a pet, etc). I really tried to exphasize that all art doesn't need to be happy, pretty pictures of landscapes or flowers or whatever- that it can express a full range of emotions and that all our emotions are important and valid.
|Femme aux Bras Croisés (Woman with Folded Arms), 1902|
So for our good copy, students drew a sad looking face on 12 x 18" heavy white paper.
They only needed to include from the shoulders up.
Then we painted them using watercolours. I demonstrated how to mix blue with black to get more sombre tones. Students were encouraged to stick with only shades of blues, greys and blacks plus a bit of purple if they wanted.
The next class, once the painting was dry, students went over all their pencil lines with a charcoal pencil and smudged the line to add a soft textural effect.
Overall I was quite happy with how these turned out. I had to remind a few students to include eyebrows, etc, but overall most included all the features. I'd also say most of these appear sad or worried, though a couple crossed the line into anger!! lol