art is all around us. here i will share my personal experiences and passion for all things art! thanks for stopping by, feel free to share a post and check in again! xo

Monday, December 19, 2011

portrait of an animal

As this is my second year teaching at the middle school level and ninth year teaching I know that lessons are always a "work in progress." As teachers our work is never done. Even when we find a successful lesson we still can find ways to tweak and change it from year to year and the groups of students always dictate what the results will be as well.
My husband just graduated on Friday with a degree in Elementary Education and during his student teaching placements he found the same thing, that even when you are at your best teaching a lesson it may not always produce the result you were hoping for and so work needs to be done to either change what your expectations are or change what you are doing as a teacher. It really is so worth the work at the end of the day seeing your students pleased with their work!

So I decided to change things up and ditch a few lessons from last year and one of my new lessons for 8th grade is teaching an animal portrait lesson.I thought it would be a great continuation from the value portrait studies of a human face and the clay portrait mug. It was a unit of portraiture! I was not sure how my students would handle this because admittedly animals are hard to capture but I figured why not try.
I first talked about overlapping elements in all three portrait styles and showed them a Smartboard presentation of animal portraits. We then sketched a few days from photographs to get a feel for sketching animals and the character of the faces. Then we sketched on our final copy paper and I used 12" x 12" paper however for some portraits we had to trim to find a more complimentary composition. Then the students used watercolors with white tempera to create these animal portraits.

During one of the work days my principal came in to see what the students were working on and even he commented on the success of these portraits as he confirmed with the students that "watercolors are challenging" as are "drawing and painting animals." My students appreciated the recognition that what they were doing was challenging yet they were successful and boy am I ever impressed with their work too!
I hung the animal portraits in the hall and my students have really been so excited to see them. My teaching partner even took his students on a mini "field trip" of sorts just to show his students the work of my fine young artists. I am so proud and could not be more excited or pleased with the outcome!

Please click here to see all of the portraits because they are all really just stunning!

Be Well and Enjoy!


  1. Marvelous! Your student are really good painter! They’ve created fantastic effects with watercolors and white tempera, These portrait are so realistic!

  2. Thanks ladies! I am really pleased! This lesson is a real keeper for me!! I hope you looked at the entire collection on my teacher website... there are so many good ones that I could not fit on here... Thanks again! Enjoy the season!

  3. Good work done by both groups and shoot for mood or starts policy is fair enough policy.

  4. Amazing. You must be an artist rather a teacher. These animals look real in the portraits you made. Truly appreciate your honesty with the job.