12th Grade Portrait Painting Course Overview
Friday, March 1, 2013
We began the block by looking at Extreme Impressionist, Ash Can School, Expressionist and Contemporary portraits. Since there are twelve students in this class I decided that each student could choose a color from the 12-color color wheel and do a portrait in that particular color-scale using only tones of that color. First the students did preparatory drawings in charcoal and white chalk, then in pastels on both white paper and on a card stock in their chosen color. To work in oils, we primed the 24”X32” untempered or standard Masonite panels with Kilz, followed by an acrylic gesso ground, and rubbed on an imprimatur of the student’s chosen color, e.g. Purple, then painting only with that color plus a dark (ivory black for cool colors or burnt umber for warm colors) and white. We made brush washers by stuffing rags into glass jars and filling them with OMS. Students chose a partner and took turns posing for each other and painting each other, which made any tardiness or absenteeism very difficult for their partner. Palettes with paint, and brushes were wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and stored outside in the freezing cold and thoroughly cleaned only at the end of the block. I made a point of demonstrating for and talking to each individual student daily about their work, as well as demonstrating techniques to the group. Although this is a required course and not an elective, I was very demanding of the students during this block and everyone worked very hard and under a great deal of time pressure, especially those for whom painting was either a new experience or has been historically a difficult subject for them. They have been evaluated on the quality of their preliminary drawings, final painting and the effort they put into the work, as well as how cooperatively they modeled for their partner, and their care of the studio and materials.