My year six class have been having so much fun with portraits this week! As a bit of light relief from SATs I decided that our afternoons would be spent doing lots of artwork. Our topic this half term is Tudor Explorers so we decided to start off looking at Tudor portraits. We began with some simple sketching before moving on to talk about colour mixing. Very aptly, the Foundation Stage children had done an assembly to parents about colour mixing that very morning so that provided a good way in although we obviously went into more depth, discussing primary, secondary and tertiary colours and how to make various colours. I then gave each child half of a Tudor portrait and they had to sketch in the other half and then with only red, yellow, blue and white, mix up all the colours they needed to match to the painting and fill in the missing half. I’m really impressed with the results:
Next we moved on to talk about how colours can convey moods and feelings in paintings, discussing that many Tudor paintings were quite sombre, serious works and therefore used quite dark colours and the more stately, regal-looking paintings used richer colours such as golds and purples. The children discussed what colours they would use to create different moods. Then came the fun bit: I let them loose with all the digital cameras I could find around school, getting them to pose in various ‘moods’ such as bored, excited, mad etc and take photos of each other. We then uploaded them and just using a simple picture-making program (Colour magic in our case but you could do it in paint just as easily) the children played around by inverting colours, changing the saturation, or just simply drawing round the person and painting the background a different colour. I was actually really surprised by how effective they look! One girl even turned her friend into a Tudor portrait by drawing a Tudor costume over the top of the photo – brilliant! I wish I could share them with you but as they include the children’s photos I can’t and my example efforts are rubbish in comparison!

Next week we are painting portraits of each other and then, fingers crossed, using Voicethread for the first time to evaluate each others work (as long as it all works!).

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