Self Portrait Box: An Art Project

Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School)

It has been a long time since I managed to sit down and do an art project. With my work and study schedule, on top of everything else, it's just nearly impossible. So, when the students from my Expressive Arts unit were asked to do an art project for the Visual Arts Strand of my Master of Teaching programme, I jumped at the opportunity.

Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School)I thought it was a great time to get in to art-making once again, and to explore some ideas that I wanted to work with for a while now.

Since the art project was pretty open-ended, it was a challenge to decide on a particular idea. How do I choose from all the things that I want to do - but don't have the time to get in to?

Well, I decided not to fret for too long. It's counter-productive when you over-analyse these things sometimes. So, when I remembered this book that I bought late last year called: Mixed Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration and Techniques by Cate Coulacos Prato, I decided there and then to do a self-portraiture project.

Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School)

The idea to work with self-portraiture was also inspired by:

1. the knowledge that children tend to want to make self-portraits when they first start to draw and paint, so I thought that this was very apt, seeing as I'm thinking of getting in to primary school teaching;

2. my initial involvement in the 365 project last year (2008);

3. my growing interest in learning more about the role of self-portraiture in art (think Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, etc);

4. a huge emphasis on self-analysis/introspection, as I enter this world of education, as well as all these life-changing events.

Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School)As you can see here, I've tried to incorporate all sorts of techniques and elements in this project. Most of them are new to me, including: "thread painting" (using sewing to paint pictures), drawing and printing photography on transparencies, playing with shadow/light boxing. Hopefully, you can see the effect of the shadows/lights play in the photos that I share here.

In any case, while I definitely got a lot of inspiration and ideas from the book that I read (especially on thread painting and drawing a self-portrait on transparencies), I discovered a few of the techniques that I used here by accident. I guess, that's why I'm quite excited about it all. And, I can't wait to keep trying different ways to apply those discoveries.

Now, if only I can find another excuse to make more art! 😀

Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School) Shai's Art Project for MTeach (Grad School)

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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