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Teacher: Megan Doherty

Grade Level: 9th-12th Grade


Title: Expressions & Expressionism
Brief History and Background: Throughout human history, people
have shown an interest in depicting the human face, and portrait
representation. Portraits are a complex form of identity, and it was the
beginning of Expressionism, a late 19th and 20th century modern art
movement, that brought powerful emotions to a portrait both through
the expression of the sitter, and the paint handling. It was in 1905 that
a group of German artists, including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and
Erich Heckel, called Die Brcke (The Bridge) brought in the
gesture of the movement, Expressionism.
Wanting to separate themselves from impressionism, which they
considered to be superficial naturalism, The Bridge artists created
harsh, bold, intense, and expressive works of art. Using distortion,
and jagged lines coupled with vibrant color, The Bridge artists were
able to successfully emphasize powerful emotions such as frustration
and discomfort in their subjects, and portraits, including self-portraits.
PA Academic Standards:
9.1
9.2.
9.3
9.4

Production of Visual Arts


Historical and Cultural Contexts
Critical Response
Aesthetic Response

Goal: Using Expressionism, and facial expressions as inspiration, students will analyze and
create two expressive self-portraits, which communicate two different emotions. The two selfportraits will then be colored using warm and cool colors with oil pastel and constructed into an
accordion portrait.
Objectives: Students will
1. Discover how facial expressions were portrayed in art history, specifically in German
Expressionism.
2. Discuss the meaning of mood and how it is different than expression.
3. Demonstrate their understanding of color theory and how colors affect mood and
expression in art.
4. Exercise their drawing skills by applying oil pastel to a pencil drawing.
5. Apply critical thinking through the creation and construction of an expressive accordion
self-portrait.
6. Aesthetically respond to their expressive self-portraits through a self-assessment rubric.

Requirements: Students will create two self-portrait drawings expressing two different
emotions. Students will then color each portrait in relation to warm or cool colors to affect the
overall desired mood/expression. Lastly, students will take their two self-portraits and construct
one expressive accordion portrait which displays two emotions at once.
Resource Materials/Visual Aids:
1. PowerPoint on Expressionism & Expressions.
2. Exemplar of project.
3. Handout on project and Expressionism/Expressions.
Supplies/Materials:
1. 9x12 drawing paper (white and manila)
2. 12x18 tag paper
3. Pencils, erasers
4. Oil pastels
5. Paper towels
6. Mirrors
7. Glue
8. Scissors
9. Rulers
Teacher Preparation: Confirm that the PowerPoint presentation is complete and functions
properly on the computer being used in class. Check to see that there is enough materials to be
comfortably shared by all students and handouts have been provided to students.
Introduction: Students will be introduced to the lesson by examining expressive portraits in art
history, especially in German Expressionism. Students will be asked to explain what emotion
they are looking at, how the artist portrayed this, and what clues about the handling of materials
gave the emotion away. Students will also analyze the similarities and differences between works
of art in relation to expression, mood, and style. After finishing the discussion on expressive
portraits and German Expressionism, students will be introduced to the project objectives and
requirements and watch a brief demonstration on how to start a self-portrait drawing.
Directions:
Part One
1. The students will pick 2 different emotions to illustrate.
2. Next, students can take a picture of themselves expressing the 2 different emotions,
or use a mirror to complete the expressive self-portraits.
3. The students will draw two (9x12) preliminary drawings for each expressive selfportrait; a total of 2 preliminary drawings will be completed.
4. Once the students have finished drawing their two expressive self-portraits, they
will transfer each drawing to 9x12 white drawing paper by either using tracing
paper, or the light boxes in the room.

5. After the drawings are transferred, students will decide which self-portrait will be
done in warm colors, and cool colors. Color can affect mood!
Part Two
1. Each student will need 12 (L) x 18 (W) tag paper.
2. Have the students make a mark for every 1 along the top and bottom of the paper.
Draw vertical lines connecting the 1 marks. Make sure the lines are running
parallel to each other. There should be18, 1 strips in the end.
3. To fold the paper accordion style, fold the first strip either towards you, or away
from you, along the pencil mark. Use a ruler to help crease the paper along the
pencil lines.
4. Once the first fold has been made, the next strip will be folded in the opposite
direction.
5. Repeat the accordion fold until all the strips have been folded.
Part Three
1. The students will flip your portrait over.
2. On the back of the portrait, the students will make a mark for every 1 along the top
and bottom of their portraits.
3. Next, draw vertical lines connecting the 1 marks. Make sure the lines are running
parallel to each other. The students should have 9, 1 strips in the end.
4. At the bottom of their first portrait, the students will number each strip, starting at
9A (on the far left side), and ending at 1A (on the far right side).
5. Repeat steps #1-3. Except number each strip, starting at 9B (on the left hand side),
and ending at 1B (on the far right hand side).
6. Cut one portrait at a time, ONLY cutting the strips about to be glued.
7. Before the students glue, have them pick either the left side or right side of the
accordion folds to glue their first portrait to. Whatever side they choose, there
should be a 1 space in between each strip. This 1 space is for the second portrait
strips.
8. The students may start gluing by placing the 1A strip on the far left side of the
accordion folded paper. They will continue to glue the 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8A,
and 9A strips appropriately.
9. Make sure when the students lay the portrait strip on the fold that its evenly placed,
and firmly pressed to the paper.
10. Repeat steps #5-8 for the second portrait.
Critique/Evaluation/Assessment: When students are finished with their Expressive SelfPortrait assignment, they will complete a self-assessment rubric, which highlights project intent,
objectives, student effort, craftsmanship, and design.
Extensions:
Option One: Students may work on an extra credit assignment

Option Two: Students may work on a free draw.


Time Budget: 10 class periods (45 minutes each)
Class One:
20 minutes: Introduction to project, Expressionism and expressions in art.
20 minutes: Work on preliminary self-portrait drawings.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Class Two-Five:
5 minutes: Discuss goals of project again.
35 minutes: Continue working on preliminary self-portrait drawings.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Class Six:
5 minutes: Discuss goals of project again.
35 minutes: Transfer self-portrait drawings to good drawing paper. Begin coloring with oil
pastel.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Class Six-Eight:
5 minutes: Discuss goals of project again.
35 minutes: Continue coloring with oil pastel.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Class Nine:
5 minutes: Discuss goals of project again.
10 minutes: Measure strips on the back of self-portraits.
10 minutes: Begin constructing accordion folded paper.
15 minutes: Start gluing strips on accordion folded paper.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Class Ten:
5 minutes: Discuss goals of project again.
25 minutes: Finish project.
10 minutes: Self-assessment rubric.
5 minutes: Clean up.
Vocabulary:
1. Color: An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity.
Intensity: quality of brightness and purity (high intensity= color is strong
and bright; low intensity=color is faint and dull)
Warm Colors: Hues from red through yellow, browns and tans included.
Cool Colors: Hues from blue green through blue violet, most grays
included.

2. Composition: The placement, or arrangement, of visual elements in a work of art.


3. Contrast: Contrast is a principle of art that refers to the arrangement of opposite
components in a work of art to help create visual interest, drama, and excitement. Ex:
light vs. dark colors, rough vs. smooth textures, large vs. small shapes, etc.
4. Expressionism: A modern art movement originating in Germany at the beginning of the
20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective,
distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.
5. Line: An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Line may be two-or threedimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract.
6. Op Art: A modern art movement coming out of the 1960s, that is also known as optical
art. Op Art is a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions. Op art works are
generally abstract, with many of the better known pieces made in black and white.
7. Self-Portrait: A portrait of an artist produced or created by that artist.
8. Shade: A mixing result of an original color by adding black.
9. Shape: An element of art that pertains to the use of areas in two-dimensional space that
can be defined by edges. Shapes can be geometric or organic.
10. Tint: A mixing result of an original color to which has been added white.
11. Value: The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is
the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray.
Safety Concerns: N/A
Bibliography/References:
1.
2.
3.
4.

http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=3201
http://www.artmovements.co.uk/expressionism.htm
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/198740/Expressionism
http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/german-expressionism.htm