Through my own eyes: a self-portrait

This resource gives students the opportunity to tell a visual story and express a view about their own personal environment as they surround a self-portrait with images of objects, events, occasions and people that have meaning to them.

The resource is founded on the principles of inquiry-based learning, and will support the implementation of the Making strand of the visual arts curriculum for years 4 and 5. It is in four sequential parts that include examples, procedures, and suggestions for the learning experiences and the completion of the artwork.

Students are encouraged to become engaged in their art making and see a purpose to their learning, as each part of the resource supports and directly relates to the final artwork.

Students gain confidence as they practise and improve their drawing and painting skills. They take ownership of their learning and art as they make individual decisions to express their idea and to resolve (design and complete) their artwork.

Examples of portraits and discussion questions are provided in the teacher suggestions, along with content to support the discussion. Activity steps outline the procedure for the practical learning experiences that follow.

Learning objectives

The students will:

  • understand how time and place influence the subject matter, style and techniques used by artists to make their artworks
  • know how to abstract realistic imagery into simplified representational shapes
  • use technology to translate imagery, and use skills and techniques in line drawing, colour mixing and painting
  • explore and experiment with design and composition
  • make decisions to communicate ideas and show a personal viewpoint in response to the concept of 'environment'
  • know how to resolve an artwork.

Assessment opportunities

During experimentation in parts 2 and 3 there are opportunities for formative assessment and peer feedback.

The folio of developmental and resolved artwork provides evidence on which teachers can make judgements on aspects of the years 5/6 achievement standard.

Teaching sequence

  1. Part 1: portraits made by artists
  2. Part 2: representing me and my place
  3. Part 3: understanding colour and colour schemes
  4. Part 4: resolving the artwork