Portrait of an Artist

I see a song. I paint music. I hear color.” Eric Carle, along with color master Henry Matisse, launches this investigation of the artistic process, prompting preschoolers to explore the concepts of theme and variation in music and in art. The expedition immerses children in the world of color through multisensory experiences that include looking at different types of art, moving and painting to music, and creating art with a wide range of art tools and materials. Children explore the science of the color wheel and apply what they’ve learned to mix colors that match their skin tones. Building on their knowledge of color and other artistic elements, students explore portraiture, conducting fieldwork at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Inspired by master artists Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, and others, preschoolers create their own self-portraits in diverse media, making artistic choices that reveal who they are. The expedition culminates in an art gallery opening at the school and at a neighborhood library, where individual artists’ statements accompany the self-portraits. The self-portraits are prominently featured in a yearlong display to greet visitors to the school.

Grade Level: K1
Subjects: Visual Art, ELA, Science, Music

What is an artist?
What does an artist do?
What is a self-portrait?
How can I create a self-portrait that shows what is special about me?

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Artist Ellen McGill teaches a student how to mix acrylic paint to create skin tones

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Artist Kate True shares her own artistic process with students

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At the MFA

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Kate Novotny helps students make self-portraits in the MFA studio

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