Sunday, February 26, 2012

Self-Portraits, Internal Organs

The most important part of the internal organ portrait painting, according to many 4 and 5-year olds are the smiles. They also carefully paint their traced ears, marking them as cartilage. Perhaps. This has remained consistent through the years. Some also, through our adult eyes, seem to channel Frida Kahlo with lines radiating out like auras around hearts and heads. This is where the conversation with paint seems to naturally take us. 

This year, we added belly buttons to help identify the above and below, intestines and bladder, and for this reason, the whole bodies seemed to be cared for and filled with shapes and lines of great importance.

Here we are at the end of February, almost 6 months into the school year and two months into our study of the human body and our place in the world around us. We name the self-portrait, and Sense of Self, an exploration in science shaped in a bias-free pursuit. We do not name it an art project. Each layer is photographed before the next layer is added. We do not work on these every class session, there are other projects to be revisited. We hope visit again for the next layer!


  1. I love the detail in each portrait and the concentration on their faces.

  2. Do you give them the outlines, Lesley?

    1. Yes. I trace each child using pencil and then draw the pencil lines in with red permanent marker -- this seems to maintain visibility through all the layers. They choose how to position their arms. The tracings hold pretty true to each size and shape, so they are almost shadows. They are very personal and give each child a good sense of their individual selves. We are using manilla tag. It is the only thing that will hold up to all the layers.