Mira Loma High School. Reflective Self Portrait Project Showcasing 7 art students from the 10 th grade Middle Years Program. Mrs. Stiles-Roberts- Visual Art Teacher. Hareem. Hareem is a 10 th grade MYP Student She is 15 yrs old Her last art class was in a public elementary School.
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Reflective Self Portrait Project
Showcasing 7 art students from the 10th grade Middle Years Program
Mrs. Stiles-Roberts- Visual Art Teacher
My metaphorical self-portrait holds many symbols which I feel represent me and create a “self-portrait” of me. I began with simple and mundane symbols; these symbols include things such as an apple and celery in conjunction with a sign against meat, this shows that I am a vegetarian. Other symbols in my self-portrait include a chocolate bar, the sun, and rain pouring from clouds. These show that I enjoy the sun, rain, and chocolate. I also have the male symbol on my self-portrait to symbolize myself as a male.
I also have some mundane symbols that are also slightly more complex, the ice cream on top of the ice cream cone in my portrait is of two different colors (initially flavors) swirled together. I have done this to show that I have two favorite ice cream flavors; vanilla and chocolate. I also have the image of a violin with a musical note overlapping it. This shows that I play the violin, and that I enjoy music. I also have a symbol of a heart, with a cardiogram line going through it. I have made this symbol to show that I am healthy. Some of my other imagery is not as simple or mundane. I also have some chess symbols, a chess board, a pawn and a rook. However, I have made them small because although I enjoy chess, it is not a passion, and that I do not play it regularly.
One such symbol would be of the Earth which I have painted, I have given it arms in which it is holding a baby. I have made this to symbolize that I am a child of the Earth. I also have painted a Hindu symbol in the right hand corner to symbolize myself as a large Hindu. I have also put rays around it to symbolize the values of Hinduism shining down on me every day. I also have a symbol of the Indian flag to show that I am a proud Indian. I have also included the real life organization, Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) as a symbol in my portrait because I care a lot about the environment, and so does the EPA. I have made a tree near that symbol to reinforce my love for the environment.
One symbol that I have added a very subtle emphasis on is my peace symbol. I have used a mixture of basic primary and secondary colors within the symbol to show that all people are equal. I have also put a blue mark on three ends of the peace symbol to show that even though we are all different, we are still all the same on the inside. I have also attempted to make the symbol seem like it is protruding from a cone-like base; I have done this to show that peace and equality is for all, and not just one part, section or place in this world. Some other symbolic “objects” within my self-portrait are colors.
The background colors are my favorite colors: blue and red. These two colors are also representative of struggles within my world, the blue if representative of my good side; my conscience, whereas the red is what I desire, and distractions within my life; which prevent me from achieving my goals. I also put a blue-red background to show a constant battle between good and evil within my world, and others too, inside and outside. I have purposely left part white; the part of my picture, where rain is falling has white space around it to show that I am an American also; the three background colors in my composition is red, white, and blue. In conclusion, everything within this composition creates a self-portrait of myself, metaphorically.
The self-portrait that I created has a theme of overall gloominess to it. The sky is a very dark blue and has raindrops are falling from the sky. Yellow stars litter the sky and they look like yellow blobs. There is a black bird that is about to take flight on top of a wooden pole that has Chinese characters on it. Tied to the bird’s leg is an orange ribbon that extends off the right side of the picture. Near the bird are shiny musical notes that float into the dark and gray sky.
There are two lightning bolts that are about to strike the black bird on the left side of the picture. To the right side of the black bird, there is a red, blue, green and yellow kite that is flying in the sky without strings. Raining from the sky are raindrops with little pictures of things like the Christian cross, the words I.B. and M.Y.P. with a book, yellow and red pills and sheet music.
This picture has a lot of the elements and principles of art. It has lines, shown through the outlining of the bird and the colorful kite. The lines contain these objects so that they are not spreading outwards towards the rest of the piece of art. The picture also has color because of the different colors that are used in the kite, the clouds, and the color of everything else. This gives certain objects the ability to stand out against other objects in the picture and there is also emphasis on the bright orange ribbon and the colorful kite that really contrasts it among the other objects in the gloomy picture. And finally, the picture has value because different values of a color are used to create a more realistic feel rather than a plain blunt looking effect as example the clouds in the sky. There are different values of gray in the sky, and it adds more realistic perspectives in the picture.
While I was creating this picture, I had a lot of symbolism in the objects in mind. Rather than just drawing what I liked or simple objects that had no real image of who I was, I chose a theme of a rainy setting to portray what I am on the inside.
First of all , the black bird represents me, about to take flight into the dark and crazy world, after being held up by the wooden pole which symbolizes love and support (the characters on the pole mean “love and support”) The lightening represents the dangers of the world and you would never know when it will strike. The raindrops have a little piece of me that I think are the most important, and those are what keep me going through life. There is a pick-ax and a shovel in one of the raindrops because it is the symbol of my elementary/middle school, Gold River Discovery Center.
There is also a cross in another raindrop because I am Christian. There are pills in another raindrop because I want to be a pharmacist. The I.B. and M.Y.P. raindrop is quite explanatory, and so is the “I am Chinese”. The sheet music raindrop represents my love for playing my flute. The music notes represent my love for music, whether it is me playing my flute or just listening to my iPod, And finally, the bright orange ribbon attached to the bird’s leg symbolizes help in world hunger. This is my cause, so I tried to make it stand out as much as possible. I feel strongly about trying the best I can to help kids around the world be able to have meals and not starve.
I like my self-portrait a lot mainly because I spent a really long time thinking about how I would be able to illustrate my ideas. It is always hard for me to do this, being able to draw what I think represents me. So I feel this is quite an accomplishment. I also think that being able to get inspiration from such a little thing as dozing off from thinking too hard is rare and quite interesting.
I was actually dozing off thinking about what I should paint, and then I saw a seagull outside on a wooden pole. I started sketching it and then I began creating the large-scale drawing of it. I just thought that was cool. In conclusion, I really like my drawing because I really made an effort to put my heart into the painting and it came out nice.
In my reflective self-portrait, I drew myself on a yellow brick road between a field of flowers and a city. I am standing next to my backpack and holding a shopping bag. The sky is blue and the sun is shining over the field of flowers while the other side has a dark cloud and is raining. I used a tote bag to represent my cause, the LiLu Handbag project and a lock and key to symbolize how secretive I am. A rainbow serves as a dividing line between the blue sky and night sky and is made up of my black belt, music notes, raindrops, buttons a ribbon and hearts. I also drew an airplane and a pen writing across the sky over the field of flowers.
I used color to create a contrast between the two sides of the piece and to accentuate certain aspects of the picture like the bright yellow windows on the dark buildings and the red shoes I am wearing. As well as the contrasting colors created a balance between the two sides of the portrait. I used oil pastels to color in the clouds to create a softer texture. As well, the smooth texture of the city contrasts with the rough texture that the colored pencils created on the light side of the picture.
The light side of the portrait represents my childhood because it is happy and the sun is shining. The field of flowers is almost like a timeline as the flowers become scarcer as they reach the yellow brick road where I am standing. The yellow brick road represents the feeling that my life in IB is like a set pathway leading me to my future (which I hope is in a city) where I will able to make choices for myself. I am standing a few steps away from my backpack and holding a shopping bag because, while school is important to me, I try to take time to do things I love, like shopping and relaxing. The city represents my adult life and is dark because I don’t know what my future will bring
The weather above my portrait is raining on one side and sunny on the other because while I love it when it rains, I love the occasional sunny day. The rainbow is made up of all the things that represent me; my black belt shows that I am strong despite the fact that I may seem like I am not at times. The music notes represent my love of music, the raindrops are there because I love rain. I drew buttons and ribbon because I love to sew and want to become a fashion designer. The hearts show that I am kind. I drew the pen and the airplane over the field because writing and traveling set me free and bring me back to the happiness and predictability of childhood in a sense.
I am happy with the way that my self portrait turned out but there are a few things that I would change if I could. I would have liked to use watercolors to paint the sky above the field instead of colored pencil but the colored pencil contrasts well with the dark paint on the other side of the picture. As well, I would have liked to sew a “silver lining” around one of the clocks but I couldn’t find silver string or paint.
The piece has many aspects in it beginning with the background, which is
a sun setting, leaving the sky black. The outline of a city can be seen, as well
As headphones that are plugged into a torn and worn down heart.
A white rose at the bottom right corner and above it is a key in the shape
of a heart. In the center is a figurine of the Alice in Wonderland, with
Wings on the sides. A foot with a ball and chain and a saw cutting through
It is on the left, above is a set of pills to symbolize that I want to be a doctor.
Rainbow musical notes adorn the top and a girl overlooks the entire picture.
Beneath her is a pocket watch and in the center of the picture are two eyes
with differently dilated pupils, one of which is crying.
I love sunsets and the city which is why I made the background that way. Black is my favorite color which is why it is the main color used. I love music and I consider it my life, so the headphones are plugged into my heart. The heart is torn to symbolize healing. The white rose on the bottom symbolizes my obsession with my childhood idol and my favorite story “Alice in Wonderland”. The wings symbolize being able to be above influences. A slot on the side shows how something’s holding me down, but the saw shows how I am getting past that.
The pills in the city represent my wanting to be a doctor. The musical notes show my love for music again. The pocket watch shows how I valued time and how little of it I have, along with how short life is. The two eyes symbolize the two different sides of me. The side I decide I show and the deeper side I tend to keep to myself.
Overall, my favorite part is the bottom half of the painting. I like the way the sunset fades off. I also love the rows and the heart. I absolutely adore the shading and I think it’s one that represents me most as a person. It is both well painted as well as a good representation, because it shows me now and me in the future. It’s all encompassing and I love it. However, I don’t like the top half of my painting. It’s rather dull compared to the rest of the painting. The colors aren’t bright, and less is going on compared to the bottom half. Overall though I am rather proud of my work.
For this project, we were assigned to create a reflective self-portrait, or a painting that describes who we are and what we believe in without showing a physical picture of what we look like. So are we dealing with life, love, or paint? In this case, they’re all synonymous. In my painting, the most conspicuous image is a close up of a side view of a girl’s face, which takes up the majority of the right side of the painting. On her cheek is a henna tattoo in a swirl pattern. In the bottom left hand corner, there is a large broken heart in a dark red with a black keyhole in the center. Towards the top of the middle section, there is golden thread running through the paper that makes stitches in the broken section. The thread then leads and is connected to a needle that is hot glued to look like the minute hand of a translucent clock on the paper. The clock is in the shape of a sun, while there is a moon and a star sort of disguised within the eye of the girl that I mentioned earlier.
The broken heart is connected to a chain, like a locket or just a heart necklace. One side of the chain leads off of the side of the page, while the other curves up around the clock and wraps around the stem and flower of a red rose, then continues off the top of the page and reappears in the upper left hand corner. Behind the rose is a blank off-white book with gold edges, and somewhat in the upper middle of the composition is a black Leo symbol.
The whole thing is set on a dark green background, and diagonally crossing most of the paper is a silver music staff with silver music notes written on it. The music staff is painted over with translucent white to form a key that ends next to the keyhole on the heart necklace. After the music notes end, the key and the lines of the music staff twist into the distance and off the page like a ribbon.
In this composition, I used a lot of art principles and elements, such as line, shape, and space. I used lines in many places, one being the music staff, where I combined the use of line and form to make it appear like a ribbon that twisted off the edge of the page. I used space by layering objects on top of one another and using a dark background to make certain images appear closer than others, and to make it appear that the chain was physically wrapping around the flower. I used value to add contrast to my painting; by making the red heart, green background, and brown hair very dark, it really contrasted the girl’s skin color and the brightness of the key, the clock, and the book.
Although you may have to look deeper for some of them, everything that I put in my painting has symbolic meaning. The girl on the right side of the page I suppose represents me, but it’s not only her hair, eye and skin color that match. What I really focused on portraying through her image was the expression in her eyes.
Even I am not quite sure exactly what her expression is; it could be hopeful, worried, seeking help, or quite a variety of other emotions. This characterizes me because I am aware that my emotions are very complex and difficult to interpret, even when I spend focused lengths of time thinking and trying to decipher exactly what I’m feeling and what is making me feel that way. The henna tattoo on her cheek is a symbol that stands for one of the best memories that I can think of.
For a week last summer, I went to San Diego with my favorite cousin who lives in Chicago, and one day my parents went off and left us at this small beach-boardwalk type of amusement park called Belmont Park. One of the things we did was get temporary henna tattoos, which was something that neither of us had done previously, and I decided to put it in the painting as an indication of one of the best days that I can remember.
The broken heart represents my heart, of course, as I fairly recently ended a pretty serious relationship, and the thread connecting to the needle in the clock means that time heals a broken heart. The flower that I have in my painting symbolizes all of the people that I care about, and the chain that wraps around it is connected to the heart, meaning that I’m both protecting them and keeping them attached to my heart, no matter how broken it may be.
The book that I put in my painting represents both my love for reading and because the pages blank, it also means that my life story is yet unwritten, and it leaves a lot of room for questioning how and where I will end up later in life. The Leo symbol is in the background because it is my star sign, and I’ve noticed that there have uncannily and invariably been significant amounts of truth in all of the horoscopes that I’ve read for my star sign. However, you can barely see it because it is black on a background of dark green, meaning that it is deeply integrated as a symbol in the background of who I am and what my personality and characteristics are based on.
The thing that I intended to be the main focus of my painting was the key formed from the music staff, because it follows the saying that “music is the key to my heart,” a statement that directly applies to me, especially since the notes that I wrote on there are directly from a song that I have played on the piano. I also chose this to symbolize my cause, because I have played music at several retirement homes and more recently at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, to bring some distraction from any pain, be it physical or emotional, that they must be feeling if they need to depend on a hospital or a retirement home. Even in fifth grade, we did a class assignment where we would visit a retirement center once a week and spend time with a buddy that we were assigned to. My buddy, whose name was Eva, had been physically deteriorating for some time, was bedridden and couldn’t communicate very well anymore, but I would sing to her at her bedside and she would become very calm and stop twitching and whimpering, and when I finished a song, my mother would ask her, “Do you want her to sing again?” And she would look up at her and nod. So since then, I have used my talents of playing piano and singing quite a few times to bring a bit of distraction and beauty into the lives of people who are less fortunate than I.
Overall, I am very happy with the way that my painting turned out. I think that the colors go very well together and that none of the images seem out of place or irrelevant. I also liked the project in general, because it was a way to be creative using whatever medium we wanted, and I enjoy expressing symbolic meaning through a creative outlet, be it poetry or paint, like this project was.
I know that a lot of people took this as a draw-whatever-you-like-to-do project, which is absolutely fine based on the prompt that we were given, but I like to dig a bit deeper and put real meaning behind anything that I do creatively or artistically. I also think that this was a great experience for the whole class, because we weren’t learning how to draw or paint, but we were required to use our creative intelligence to create something within our own styles and comfort zones in order to show something about ourselves through our artwork.