Hi friends.  Just a quick art-share for you today…

If there is one fun and easy art project you can do with your kiddos every single year, without fail, that they will enjoy and you will one day treasure, it’s the self-portrait.  
It’s basically like the quintessential elementary art project.

This is our second year doing them, and they are truly so much fun for everyone.  And in comparing this year’s portraits with last year’s, it was amazing how much the kids’ skills improved in one year’s time.

I first saw this idea for chalk portraits from Deep Space Sparkle, a great art blog, filled with ideas for all ages.  We tried them and they were fantastic.  My kids LOVED working with the chalk pastels.  The blending is so much fun to do. *just click over to Deep Space Sparkle for full instructions.  

This weekend, each of my kids did a portrait.  I modeled one for them up at the board (making a “U” shape first, modeling how to make eyes, options for noses, mouths, etc).  Only thing I would NOT do again is to use an oil pastel for anything but final outlining.  If they make the U-face-shape with an oil pastel, and make a mistake, there is no way to correct it, and some kids get upset from the get-go.  But with the chalk, you can rub or wipe many mistakes away, which is WONDERFUL for the younger art student.  That said, I think some outlining at the very end using a black oil pastel really makes the whole picture look so much better.  

As expected, the 3 year old lasted about 5 minutes and didn’t care much for the project.  His picture was pretty hilarious.  My 6 year old was in her glory. She loves working with chalk and once again, she did a great job.  

Here you can see the chalk on the face and hair has already been blended…all except the hair on the top, which Eden is working on.

After covering the entire page and blending everything in, you can have your kids go back through and do some outlining in black.  

But I was most impressed with my four year old’s work.  He really persisted until he was completely finished (even covering every square inch of his paper with color as he was supposed to).  He cracked me up how he had to have green (and yellow) hair.  And green eyes (which he does have).  And green on his shirt.  And a green background. He loves green.  But I think it turned out so great, and it kinda looked like him to be honest!  =] In the end, he was a little bummed out because of the “spiky hair” he did (he doesn’t like wearing his that way).  But it was a good lesson for him to be more thoughtful when working through a project, as he was a little gung-ho on this one.  He is learning and improving so much though.

I would encourage you to get out some art paper, and let your kids do a self-portrait using paints, markers, pencil–whatever!  You can buy a set of chalk pastels for less than $5, and kids seem to really enjoy the blending technique, so maybe give chalk a try if you have never used it.  

These vibrantly-colored portraits are definitely going in our art portfolios, and are sure to be special keepsakes for years to come.