Blank Canvas: Students from Beijing City International School (BCIS) fill in June’s Blank Canvas

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“The topic of this assignment was expressive self-portraits. The students began by looking at traditional and non-traditional self-portrait painting styles throughout history while also conducting research on their favorite master painter. The idea was for students to create an expressive self-portrait which incorporated the traditional style and techniques used by their master painter but also to explore other modern techniques the students developed through experiments and practice. Their final piece was the end result of this project.”

BCIS Middle School Visual Arts Teacher Brooke Vogel

David Li, 14, China
Some of my favorite materials to make art with are propylene, markers, and pencils. I focus a lot on expressing emotion. The main colors I used for the background of my portrait were dark blue and white, which express the idea of loneliness. My biggest inspiration is my mom because she is really good at painting. My favorite artists are Vincent Van Gogh and Andy Warhol.

Ella Li, 14, China
My parents really like western culture, especially the arts. I started art school when I was 6 years old and enjoy playing around with materials and colors. I was inspired to make art when I traveled to Italy and France with my family; we went to art museums to take in the amazing artwork. My favorite artists are Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas.

This article originally appeared on page 54-55 of the beijingkids June 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on To find out how you can get your own copy, email


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