A Note to Self: Mixed Media Self-Portrait Drawing

A Note to Self,  Mixed Media Self-Portrait Drawing.pdf

Dublin Core


A Note to Self: Mixed Media Self-Portrait Drawing




High school years are a time when many adolescents begin the quest of self-discovery, establishing their own identity. This unit explores the enduring idea, Identity, through a multidisciplinary approach incorporating language arts, social media, and mixed media art making. Within this unit learners will study art history comparing and contrasting a variety of portraits, use descriptive and expressive writing, incorporate technology through the use of Instagram, and the creation of a mixed media portrait drawing while exploring the depths of their own identities.


Katie Pfrommer


• Phil I Fingerprints lithograph, Chuck Close, CMA1981. 24
• Portrait of a Poet: Kenneth Koch, Alex Katz, CMA1995.7.9
• Melancholoy (formerly titled Girl with Auburn Hair), Jean-Jacques Henner, CMA1963.52
• Thomas Willoughby, 4th Baron Middleton (1728-1781), George Romney, CMA1967.1
• Portrait of a Little Boy in Red Holding a Goldfinch, Santi Di Tito CMA1954.37


Handheld Art


Columbia Museum of Art

Unit Plan Item Type Metadata


12 classes


Visual Arts Standards:
• VAH2-3 The learner will examine the content of works of visual art and use elements from them in creating his or her own works.
• VAH2-3.3 Select and effectively use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning through his or her artworks.

Integrated CCSS:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


• Learners will study the concept of Identity and explore and express characteristics within their own identities through art making, art criticism, and writing.
• Learners will integrate writing by composing a self-addressed letter on their own identities and goals for growth.
• Learners will study works of art from the Columbia Museum of Art collection, comparing and contrasting the identity of the subjects.
• Learners will study the biography of Chuck Close and watch the CBS This Morning video A Note to Self and discuss additional portraits by Close.
• Learners will select one of the exemplar portraits from the Hand Held Art to complete a detailed Feldman critique.
• Learners will discuss different aspects of Identity (for example: identity at school and home, versus online through technology).
• Learners will take two to three self-portrait photographs using Instagram, choosing one for the reference photograph. Image must be a high-contrast, gray scale composition including at least three facial features and one object at an interesting angle to use as a reference photograph.
• Learners will list expressive and descriptive words that represent their identity. Learners will apply this list stylistically to the background of their portrait drawing to create a colorful surface treatment.
• Learners will use the reference photograph to apply the grid drawing process of Chuck Close to draw a realistic self-portrait on a surface that has been treated with various colors, and written text using descriptive adjectives by the learner.
• Learners will compare and contrast the portrait from the motivator activity to the final portrait and write a reflection on the process after reading their self-addressed letter.
• Learners will write a reflection discussing their growth in art making skills as well as growth or changes in their identity since the beginning of the unit.


Handheld Device- iPad, Smartphone
Hand Held Art application
Instagram application
Paper for motivator portrait
Printout of selected 6”x6” photo
6”x6” grid transparency
12”x12” paper for final portrait
Water cups
Paper towels
Light colored pencils/pens
Drawing pencils
Scratch paper

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