Natural Portraits


Natural materials don’t inhibit those children who would otherwise protest ‘but I can’t draw!’

  • Gather the group together. Discuss what portraits are, and then say that they are going to make self portraits – but the only problem is – you have forgotten pens, paper and paintbrushes. What can you do? The children will probably leap to suggest they can use the natural materials around them!
  • Let the children decide if they want to design individually or in twos or small groups. This will vary with age and confidence.
  • Talk about the features of a face they may need to include – ears, eyes, nose, hair etc and encourage or suggest some useful materials like fluffy seeds for eyebrows for example.
  • Set some environmentally aware ground rules in terms of parts of plants to collect/ leave alone. Otherwise agree only to collect plentiful loose materials such as fallen leaves/grasses.
  • Talk about framing their portraits – what could they use? Sticks or twigs for example, of equal lengths.
  • Discuss contrasting backgrounds – so the image is clear rather than blending in with the background – and how they may chose the backdrop to display the image.
  • Let them spend time gathering materials and making self portraits. Are the faces happy or sad?
  • Alternatively, they could design portraits of other beings – monsters/ wood spirits – let them decide the theme.

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