The Colors of Us: Self-Portraits
One of our favorite books lately is The Colors of Us by Karen Katz. It is a story about a mother and daughter who explore the wonderful nuances of people’s skin color. The Colors of Us takes us out of a black and white world and into a celebration of the multiplicity of skin tones. After reading the book, the girls asked if they could paint portraits just like the main character of the story did…
1. We started our endeavor by talking about self-portraits. I gave the girls mirrors and asked them to look at their eyes, nose, lips and shape of their faces; paying particular attention to the lines and details that they see. I also showed them Mobility of Expression, which is a portfolio of self-portraits done by children in the schools of Reggio Emilia.
3. Next, we took on the task of mixing paints to match the color of their skin. At first, we tried to follow the suggestion in the book The Colors of Us, but all we came up with was a gray color. After doing some research on the internet we followed this recipe and had great success. The second half of our project was a color mixing extravaganza! Their entire self-portraits were created with colors they mixed themselves simply using the primary colors and white paint.