Arthur Shilling was an Ojibway artist born in Rama, Ontario in the year 1941.  He worked predominantly in oil painting and drawing.  As a child, Shilling was constantly drawing, once being so hungry while at the Mohawk Residential School in Brantford that he drew food for himself and his friends.  A largely self-taught artist, Shilling did briefly enroll in The Ontario College of Art and obtained a scholarship to attend The Southampton School of Fine Arts.  His bold expressionist paintings tell the story of the beauty of his people in Rama and the land that surrounds it.  A master at colour and line, there is a spirituality in his portraits which he preferred to call “people pictures”. In his short life, Shilling was a trailblazer who designed and built his own studio in Rama, published an illustrated book of poetry, was the subject of a National Film Board of Canada Documentary, travelled extensively in search of new subjects to paint, taught, as well as held countless exhibitions of his artwork across North America. Arthur Shilling died in Rama of heart failure at the age of 44, but his work continues to inspire people all over the world, cementing his place in Canadian Art History.  Arthur’s two sons Bewabon Shilling (born 1977) and Travis Shilling (born 1978) are both accomplished artists. 


Students will create step-by-step self-portraits using oil pastel on paper.  Through this course, they will gain an understanding of composition using elements and principles of design – in particular, line, shape, and colour.  They will demonstrate an awareness of signs and symbols encountered in their daily lives and in works of art, and learn about works of art from diverse communities.


In this program, students will discuss the nature of portraiture, its connection to individuals and cultures, and will also consider colour theory, proportion, and abstraction as they create step-by-step self-portraits using oil pastels.


Colour theory, proportion, and abstraction will be used to inform the students’ own oil pastel self-portraits.  Through this course, students will gain an understanding of all elements and principles of design – with the addition of unity and harmony.  They will learn about visual arts and their influence on the development of personal and cultural identity.


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