UNIT 1   Lesson Plan 2:
Paint a Portrait from a Civil War Photograph
Can be taught in the classroom or on a Museum Field Trip.

Museum Visit: An Exhibition Tour and Workshop                                                             
Workshop: Paint a Portrait from a Civil War Photograph

   1. Understand what a portrait is.
   2. Learn how to look closely at a portrait to discover information about the subject.
   3. Examine a Civil War photograph and Red Grooms paintings to create a Civil War portrait painting.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What do you know about the Civil War?
  2. What important events took place during the Civil War?
  3. Who were important people in the Civil War and what did they do?

Discuss what the students saw on the tour Red Grooms The Blue and The Gray and what they remember from Lesson 1 (What is a Portrait?), including what they learned about facial proportions.  Remind students how they can use clues such as facial expression, body language, clothing, and the background of a portrait to provide information or tell a story about someone. Students focus on a photograph for details from which construct their painting. Civil War Images for Grade 4

Guiding Questions

  1. What do you see in the image?
  2. What can you tell about this person after looking closely at his/her portrait?
  3. What clues in the image did you use to find out about the character?

Red Grooms paintings provide background for the students to draw and paint portraits. Each student selects a portrait photograph and sketches an interpretation —in pencil first, then color and shading with watercolor pencils, and, finally, applying water with a paintbrush to turn colored pencil markings into wash strokes. When students complete the activity, they share their portraits with the group. Students can guess something about the portraits they see, and the student-artist can talk about the person they painted.

Civil War Images for Grade 4

1 piece of white watercolor paper per student
Pencils and watercolor pencils
paint brushes
containers for water