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Paint an Olympic Portrait

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Updated on Dec 28, 2012

Does your child aspire to be an Olympic superstar? Does she love downhill skiing, ice skating or even snowboarding? Help her discover more about the sport she loves by creating a portrait of herself as an Olympic athlete.

Dig a little deeper by encouraging her to think about clothing, setting and character, and take a look at the sport's history. What did a skier in the 1950s wear? How has ice skating evolved? What year did snowboarding become an official Olympic sport?

What You Need:

  • White drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Tempera paint
  • Thin paint brush

What You Do:

  1. After your child has chosen her favorite winter sport, ask her to think about what she would like to wear in the self portrait. Her image will be the primary focus, but she should also draw a background that is connected to the sport. She will be the character (wearing a costume), and the background will be the setting.
  2. Have your child begin drawing herself in her chosen sports costume. Younger children may have a difficult time drawing a human figure. Use photos or pictures to remind her of what she will need to draw, and where. Try suggesting that she breaks the figure down into shapes. For example, her head is an oval.
  3. She can now add a matching background. Examples include snow-covered ski slopes or an ice skating rink.
  4. After the pencil drawing has been completed, your child can now paint her self-portrait. Include a lesson on color theory by providing only the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and white. Ask her to paint large areas first, and then fill in the smaller details.
  5. When the paint has dried, display this athletic portrait in the family home. If your child enjoys multiple sports, ask her to make one for each activity.
  6. As an extension, add a small piece of paper to the bottom of the portraits and keep track of the countries that have won medals in that specific sport.

 

Erica Loop has an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.