Faces of 4-H: Club Leader Experiential Portrait Painting Activity


Learning Objective: Youth will learn the life skill of accepting differences.

Learning Activity: Give each youth participant:

  • A white paper plate with red, yellow, blue, and white acrylic paint arranged as a palette.
  • An acrylic paint brush.
  • A plastic cup half filled with water.
  • Two paper plates with a popsicle stick glued to the bottom of each one.

Read directions to youth:

  • You will have 4 minutes to paint a portrait of yourself on your paper plate. (4 minutes because of 4-H) *This is a good time to teach the youth about color mixing to create new colors.
  1. Blue + Red = Purple
  2. Yellow + Blue = Green
  3. Blue + Red + Yellow = Brown/Black
  4. Yellow + Red = Orange
  • When I say “go”, please begin painting a portrait of yourself without looking at any photographs or mirrors. fill as much of the plate with paint as possible. In 4 minutes, it will be difficult to paint the details you might see in your mind. No one will be judging your painting skills or abilities. This is a judgement free zone. The purpose of the activity is to examine how we perceive ourselves in relation to how others perceive us. We will talk about the feelings that are created by our perceptions of ourselves and how others perceive us.
  • At the end of 4 minutes, I will say “stop”. At this time, you must stop painting and put down your brushes.
  • Begin painting now.

At the end of 4 minutes, say:

  • Please put down your paint brushes.
  • Now, on your second paper plate you will paint someone who is in this room. Please choose someone nearby you to paint.
  • You will have 4 minutes to look at the person you chose and paint their portrait.

At the end of 4 minutes, say:

  • Please put down your paint brushes.
  • Everyone please hold up their first self-portraits, so everyone can see them.
  • Everyone please hold up their second portraits so everyone can see them.



Before today, who has ever painted a self-portrait before?

Who has ever painted a portrait of someone else before?

Looking around at everyone’s portraits, are there any two portraits that are the same? Why not?

What does that tell us about ourselves?

What inspires us to paint someone’s portrait or take their picture?

Was it more difficult to paint yourself from memory; or was it more difficult to paint someone else? Why?

Do you think your painting of the other person tells us more about the other person, or more about yourself? Why?

Do you ever feel like people see you in a way different than you see yourself? How?

How does that make you feel?

What did we learn about how another person sees us?

Do you find it easier to describe someone by speaking, writing, or painting?


What did you learn while doing this activity?

Did any two painting look identical?

If everyone’s perspective is different than everyone’s else, what does that tell you?


What did you learn about yourself?

What did you learn about the person you painted?

How do you think a professional artist is different from you?

What does a picture of someone tell us about that person? What does a picture not tell us?

If each of the participants in this group all painted a picture of you, do you think any of them would be the same? What does this tell us? How?


How might you use what we did today in your real life?

How might this activity help you to understand another person’s perspective?

How might this activity help you to understand your own perspective?






Posted: August 17, 2021

Category: 4-H & Youth, Curriculum, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: 4-H, 4-H Youth, Nassau County 4-H

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