My art 1 students have just finished up a painting unit that asked them to think about aspects of their identities to inspire their subject matter. Their paintings ended up being really beautiful, many of the students really thrived while working in the painting medium.
I tried something a little different with my students to begin this project. Before I introduced this painting unit, I created a buzz feed style personality quiz for my students to take. In the quiz the students are asking general questions about their personality that would be typical for this type of buzz feed quiz. The questions they answered determined what subject matter they would be painting for this project. The categories they could be sorted into were Portraits, Landscapes, or Still Lives.
The students were really excited by the quiz and it was a great start to our project. Once students were sorted into the painting categories they could get an assignment sheet that corresponded with their category. So, I created a separate assignment sheet for portraits, landscapes, and still lives. Each assignment sheet had additional artists that were working in that subject matter that the students were encouraged to look up. I also showed my students a presentation of artists in a wide range of subject matter and technique.
These art 1 students also had an in progress critique that was very helpful for me to understand the concepts behind their paintings. Each student was paired up with another student and interviewed each other about their paintings from a list of questions I gave them. The students wrote down their partner’s answers and reading those interviews gave me as an instructor insight to how they were feeling about the assignment, the process, and their overall concept.
I encouraged my students to try out techniques and styles that worked for them and to be confident about the decisions they were making. Many students took that advice and in the end they felt successful!