Van Gogh Style Self-Portrait Who is Van Gogh?

van_gogh_portrait.jpg img_vangogh_sp_easel_face.jpg

(Please visit Van Gogh Gallery and The National Gallery of Art to learn more about the artist and the inspiration for this lesson plan. (NGA lesson plan))

Step 1: Define the problem. Make your self-portrait, using Van Gogh brushwork and color.

Plan to make two self-portraits (remember, Van Gogh made 36!) on different days to show two different sides or moods of yourself.

Try to answer these questions in each one:

-Who am I? - How am I changing from day to day?


Materials you will need: a photograph of yourself, use of a photocopier, scissors, cardboard backing, glue, paintbrushes, paint or oil pastels.

Step 2. Brainstorm and collect information and materials.


To work like Van Gogh, you must include these two essential qualities:
Two Essential Qualities in Van Gogh painting

1. Complementary colors placed next to each other:
"There is no blue without yellow and without orange." Vincent Van Gogh
Learn about COLOR then complete this worksheet:
2. Distinctive Van Gogh-style brushstrokes, placed side by side.
Learn about Van Gogh's brushstrokes
Starry-Night.jpg
Starry Night
Painting, Oil on Canvas
Saint-Rémy, France: June, 1889
The Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York, United States of America, North America


Step 3: Evaluate your ideas as you work.


1. Bring in a light photocopy of your photograph (such as your school or sport picture), or have your teacher photocopy your photo for you. You may want to enlarge it, so that you'll have plenty of space for your "Van Gogh" brushwork.
2. Cut out your photocopied portrait to make a silhouette.
3. Paint the entire background paper with your first set of complementary colors and type of brushstroke.
4. Glue your cut-out self-portrait onto the painted background.
5. Using different complementary colors and brushstrokes, paint your face.
6. Using a third set of colors and brushstrokes, paint your clothes.
7. On another day, create a second self-portrait. Follow the same instructions, but change the colors and types of brushstrokes to show a different side of you.

Step 4: Present your best solution


Compare the two paintings. Do they each express who you are—on different days, in different moods? How does color and pattern affect your self-portrait?
Van Gogh wrote detailed letters analyzing his thinking about his work. Write a letter to a friend about one of your self-portraits.
1. Tell your friend why you based your self-portrait on that particular photograph.
2. Explain why you used the specific colors and types of brushstroke.
3. Explain what you are communicating about yourself. How does your finished artwork answer the question: Who am I?


Grading Rubric