The final Art project of the year for Kapaa Middle School 7th and 8th graders was to complete a realistic self-portrait that also expressed the individual’s personality or character. Students analyzed self-portraits by Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, while studying the technique and value scales of Chuck Close’s photorealistic large-scale portraits. The students were enthusiastic for the first step of the process, which involved taking turns posing and photographing digital portraits. Once 4″ X 6″ copies of the photographs were printed for each student, they measured and drew a 1″ grid with pencil on top. Next students were given their final 12″ X 18″ paper and enlarged the grid by 3 times. The actual drawing began with a precisely measured contour in order to establish correct proportions, and the final step was to shade with pencil.
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” Chuck Close