This past week my kinders got to experiment with paint for the first time. Every year, it's always interesting to see how they handle themselves with the materials and this year's group of 10 classes did a fantastic job using enough water, cleaning brushes well, keep tempera cakes clean, and painting something beautiful:)
For this project, I used the book "Maybe Something Beautiful" to introduce them to painting, self portraits, and community. The book was written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. It was illustrated by Rafael Lopez. The story and illustrations are wonderful. It's inspired by the murals that Rafael has created throughout his career, specifically the work he and F. Isabel have done in their East Village neighborhood right here in San Diego! It's such a treat to share the work of San Diego based artists and writers with our kids... the connection it makes is so strong. There's a whole lot of "I live in San Diego too!" At Zamo, I can also connect the story's message to our school because of the large number of murals we have covering walls around campus.
I start the lesson by reading the book with the help of my mic and doc camera. After that, we talk about what a portrait is and look at the portrait of Mira, the main character, on the cover of the book. I let the kids know that they will be making a self portrait, a picture of themselves, creating something that they think is beautiful. So, this lesson has elements of direct drawing and student choice in it.
We draw out the basic face shapes together at the bottom of the paper. When it comes to hair, I have a wide variety of hairstyles drawn on a sheet for them to refer too. I also include an example of a hijab and how to decorate it. We then use crayons to add color to skin, hair, clothes, and paint brush. I emphasize finding a skin color from the multi-cultural pack that best matches themselves.
As students are wrapping up the crayon part, I put out the tempera cake trays and water bowls. I pass out brushes after my painting demo and emphasize that kids following the Zamorano Way will get their brushes first. I share how to wet their brushes and clean them between colors. Students can draw their painting out first or they can go for it directly with the paint. Some kids choose to paint recognizable shapes that they think are beautiful while others approach it much more expressionistically.
No matter how they choose to approach the painting part, there is a whole lot of joy in the room as they do so!
A different take on the self-portrait:)
I also did this with my special day class. They painted a full sheet and added detail and skin color to a predrawn portrait figure that was then cut and glued onto their painting.