Over my years of working in early childhood, one of my favorite pieces of student art is their self-portrait.
As an art educator I spent time marveling at the work of the most famous portrait artists and there are definite similarities between the choices they made to represent themselves and those the Experiential School students make.
Close your eyes and think about some of the most notable ones: Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh (forever my favorite), Rembrandt, and your child.
We won’t compare techniques because it wouldn’t be fair to any of them.
It’s also unfair to compare styles, but they have the one thing in common that is the search for their true selves. The children highlight what they choose to share with the world, the features that they see first, that matter to them and add to that image plenty of clues that allow us to identify the masters!
I remember that a few years ago a boy named Dax showed me his self-portrait and it had two mouths. One was open, all teeth showing, while the other was straight. He said he was not always quiet but was not always smiling either, so he had to show both.
Pablo Picasso would have been proud of that decision. Dax didn’t settle for one-him. He was many, he was plural, he experienced different emotions during the day so why not represent them to give us the true picture?
I think you should add to your summer agenda a Family Self-Portrait day, in which you will all sit down, look at mirrors, and draw what you see. No judgment. Just do it!
Then start saving them over the years.
Years from now, when everyone is grown up, you will enjoy looking at the images. You will also enjoy reminiscing and talking about the memories you made.