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Playing with Picasso

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Artist Study: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Cubism

Picasso was a fun lesson with the co-op kids. This was our second lesson, and I almost wish we had done him first. Picasso’s art is an amazing way to help kids realize that good art is whatever YOU want it to be. Kids have an amazing eye for all things creative, I know it, and Picasso knew it too! Check out what we did:

Fun Facts:

1. His father was an art teacher in Italy, and taught him how to paint realistically when he was a young child. As a teenager, he was so talented that many people saw him as a prodigy, and his father swore he would stop painting all together since his young son was much more talented.

2. Picasso expressed his feelings with his art. When his friend died, he was very sad, and spent years painting sad pictures in shades of blue (the blue period). Later, he fell in love, and his painting style again changed to shades of red and gold (the rose period). His style changed again and again throughout his life.

3. Picasso wasn’t afraid to try new things. The cubist style was created when Picasso, along with Georges Brauqe, started looking at the objects they were painting in a new way. This new way of looking at things was so popular, the style is still being used today in everything from cartoons to buildings.

(see how you can see her eye from two different perspectives? Like you were looking at a side view and a front view of her at the same time? That’s cubism. It’s an art movement where objects are broken up into pieces, and put back together again, showing the object from different viewpoints.)

I reminded the kids of something Picasso said: 

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” –Picasso

And showed them this: Boy in  sailor suit with Butterfly Net

Looks like something your kids would draw, right? That is the best thing about this lesson, kids look at these pictures and they get the feeling that “you know what? I can do THAT!”

Picasso says they are artists. And they go for it.

To draw like Picasso: Draw things as you imagine them, not how you see them! Don’t worry about drawing like a child, Picasso spent his whole life trying to draw like a child. Use bright colors, and try to show different perspectives and emotion in your art. Have FUN!

For our class, we used oil pastels on dark construction paper, but you could do this with markers, crayons, paint, anything really.

We drew people, starting with a large oval head, and using large, flowing lines to break up the page. I had them add facial features, one per section, until they had two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two ears. Add some crazy hair, fill in all the space, and voila! A masterpiece.

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  • I love love LOVE your post on teaching art yourself in homeschool. Not only is it encouraging to someone who had to take Art History (I loved and hated that Gardeners Art Book!) twice to pass my elective requirement [hangs head in shame] in college, but you break it down, exactly how to teach it! Being a new homeschooling mom I feel excited instead of frightened about teaching art now!

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post! Looking forward to implementing this method in homeschooling this year. Art classes can get so expensive! I hope you are planning on posting more examples.

  • Art is so fun, but I am terrible at coming up with original ideas. I LOVE THIS PROJECT! I wish you would post more ideas because I am art illiterate. 🙂 However, thanks SO MUCH for posting what you did because it is a great inspiration. THANK YOU! My 6, almost 7 year old is going to love this.

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