I thought a good way to start the new session of Under the Influence would be with self portraits. We've done portraits before, but this time we learned about Amedeo Modigliani. The elongated heads and necks he painted gave his portraits an "elegant" look.
I like to start the class learning about an artist and doing a brief demonstration of the project, explaining the guidelines to help the students focus. However, not everyone always wants to do the project the way it is explained. I tell them this class is meant to be fun, and I'm not grading them. I want them to be influenced by what they see, but they don't have to (and shouldn't) copy. They are the artists, so they are free to do what they want. Some students chose to do self portraits, some did portraits of friends or made up people, and some did animals. I think they are all "elegant."