Self-Portraits - April 2014 Print
Services - Artist in Residence

This first activity covered self awareness, an appreciation of who we all are, as unique individuals. We discussed facial features. Each client pointing out the differences between their own features and their neighbors. We studied the different shapes of our own eyes, nose and mouth. plus sizes and spaces between each feature was discussed.

We also covered a little art history by discussing examples of famous artists self—portraits showing a few examples of works with pen and ink, oils and oil pastels.

This project gave me the opportunity to examine the talents and abilities of each client. This will help meta develop projects for the future.


  • Table easel —l 8x24 inch with paper slipped under thick paper frame to create a clean boarder.
  • Mirror (with stand)— to easily find facial features
  • Self—adhesive dot — an easy way to find eyes first
  • Charcoal pencil — (a bit messy, used oil pastels in place of charcoal pencil)


  • Set up table easels with white paper slid underneath heavy paper frame to keep boarder clean.
  • Handed out oil pastels and examples of self—portraits by famous artists.
  • Setup mirrors so each client could study their faces.
  • A self—adhesive dot was placed in the spot on the paper where the eyes were.
  • Each client traced around each dot and dots were removed.
  • Eyes were drawn into the eye area.
  • Lines were drawn down from the corners of the eyes to where the nostrils shapes were formed.
  • Lips were drawn just under the nose
  • A chin was added which gave the line for the sides of the face. Hair and ears were then added.
  • clients were encouraged to color in areas to give their work more depth.
  • Backgrounds were added up to the tape line that held the matte frame in place.
  • Each frame was lifted up and the finished artwork was pulled away from underneath the frame revealing a nice clean boarder.
  • Clients were encouraged to display their self-portraits. Topics if discussion included: Emotions and how faces change with each.Hair styles and how they frame the face. Eye color and how many have blue or brown.


  • To explore non—verbal expression/communication.
  • To produce the client's own visual representation of themselves.
  • To involve clients in positive group experience.To provide an opportunity for the client to focus his or her visual awareness, to isolate ports from wholes, and recreate new wholes from ports.
  • To explore self identify in a safe environment.
  • To involve the clients in a task—oriented process involving decision making, following directions,planning layout for face, completing the work.
  • To develop trust and willingness to relate.


The self—portrait project could be used with most population.

I found this project highly successful for this group of clients with disabilities. All responded very positively to process. Finding the eyes first and working down
from there seemed to create a sense of confidence.

Most participants produced a fairly realistic work. Clients seemed to be very proud of their work. Ithink this activity is a great self-esteem builder.