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Expressive Self Portraits

Quite possibly one of my favorite lesson plans that I do all year. When students hear that I am making them do ANOTHER self portraits, after we just finished up a realistic one, they ask WHY. Once we start working on these, their attitudes typically change and they are a lot more excited.

I like giving the students the option to explore symbolism a little bit further and consider what imagery they can use to show the world more about themselves, rather than just their appearances. The PowerPoint that I created for this lesson can be found here,

I can thank the wonders of Pinterest for many of those photo examples, but I also chose to incorporate Frida Kahlo into this lesson. Frida has so many amazing examples of symbolism and she is truly such an inspiring artist and person, that I wanted my students to learn more about her. We had discussions about The Two Fridas, and also about one of her self portraits. We discussed the symbolism and imagery in her artwork and how it reflects her personality and mood.

Students found this to be very interesting. We also discussed more in depth realism, abstract, and non objective. I told students to consider how realistic they wanted this to be. They had the option to be more symbolism and do a silhouette rather than a realistic approach that would require them to do eyes, nose, mouth, etc. This allowed my students of all different skill levels to choose a way that would be successful for them.

I also gave them an option in what art mediums they wanted to use. They had the options of graphite, colored pencil, pastel, watercolor, or mixed media. After the presentation, I had students write 5-10 things about themselves in their sketchbooks. These could be interests, personality, mood, appearance, home life, friends, etc. We then broke those down and considered how to interpret them into a symbol or some sort of imagery.

Students brainstormed with the others at their tables and came up with some ideas. When they had enough ideas, they began a sketch of what their portrait would look like. I offered suggestions to make sure that students were challenging themselves enough, and were not doing things too hard. I told students that if they chose not to draw a realistic face, that they needed to put extra details somewhere else, to ensure that all students were still working the same amount.

I graded these using four main components. Subject Matter & Creativity, Use of Symbolism and Details, Craftsmanship, and Effort.

I was SO happy with how these turned out. Here are some of the great examples from my classes!


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What song lyrics are most meaningful to you??

What are the most meaningful lyrics to you?
What are the most meaningful lyrics to you?

As mentioned in my “About Me”, song lyrics play a VERY meaningful role in my life. My website was named after one of my favorite songs, shoutout to The Avett Brothers for that! What song do you have, that stands out the most? That helps you through dark times, or makes you laugh, or maybe makes you feel some sort of emotion you never imagined possible?

Comment below the title of the song, the artist, and why that song is so meaningful to you. I will be selecting one winner on April 1st to win a metal pressed bracelet with their chosen lyrics! Must be subscribed to my page. (I don’t post annoying stuff, I promise. ;))

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I’m in search of more blogs to follow and subscribe to!

These are things I will often post about and would love to follow some similar blogs. Please comment and introduce yourself if you are interested!

  • Mental Healthcare
  • Yoga and Exercise
  • Travel and Adventure
  • Art Education/Art Therapy
  • Creative Thoughts

Don’t be a stranger!


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A Name Change

Hey Y’all!

So awhile back I began blogging with no real purpose in mind. The problem with writing, and with most things in life, is that if you aren’t inspired or aren’t interested enough in what you are writing about, it gets dull. It feels like a chore to write down thoughts each day when you have nothing you are truly passionate to write about.

The past few months have been a time of change, happiness, and struggle for me. But with all of that, I found a passion. I found an interest in things to write about, things that I feel strongly about and things that really resonate with me.

For those I have yet to meet, let me introduce myself. My name is Megan. I am a twenty six year old ever learning child, I am a full time high school art teacher, and I am someone who has battled mental health issues throughout my life. Going through changes that most people deal with at much age: What should I do with my life? Where should I live? Should I screw everything and travel? How do I adult? All the while, battling and struggling with anxiety.

The past few months, I have been really focusing on mindfulness and recreating myself, building myself into the person I truly want to be. Someone I can be confident about, proud of, and happy to be. But I’ve had some really tough times.

One of my favorite bands, The Avett Brothers, really helped me get through some of my tough times. One song in particular, truly resonated with me.

So I came back into the world of blogging with true intentions and new ideas, to discuss things that I am passionate about. How I am working on becoming a better me, being mindful of where I am at, being a work in progress, a work of art, and being okay with it.

But this song is the one that really got me.

“Make me sanguine
Help me genuinely
Kill the doubt that strangles myself worth
Paint the picture that I swore I heard”