Friday, February 21, 2014

How to draw Picasso like faces -- Lesson plan for children

I am going to use Picasso’s painting “Girl before a Mirror” as an inspiration to emulate Picasso like faces using the inquiry based teaching strategy for my classroom.

Subject Area: Art, History

Intended grade level range: Elementary

Abstract: Through observation and discussion about Picasso’s “Girl before a Mirror” painting students will make connections with colors, lines and different shapes used in this painting.  They will learn about who was Pablo Picasso and his Cubist style of painting. By letting the student’s imagination run wild with the many possibilities, students create collage/painting of Cubist Faces emulating Picasso’s style.

 Focus Art work:  Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso is the art work selected for inspiration.

Title: Girl before a Mirror
Artist: Pablo Picasso Spanish, 1881–1973
Date: March 1932
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 64 x 51 1/4" (162.3 x 130.2) 

1.     12”x18” white drawing paper/watercolor paper
2.     Drawing Pencils
3.     Black Sharpie Fine point markers
4.     Oil Pastels

·       Elements: Color,Line,Shape
·       Art History: Pablo Picasso, Cubism

Discussion questions/open-ended questions:   
  1.  What do you think this painting is supposed to be about?
  2. Why do you think Picasso painted this way?
  3. What do you think you know about Cubism?
  4.   What do you think about colors and shapes in this painting?

Information about the artwork: 

Artist: Pablo Picasso

  1. Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881. Picasso loved to draw and paint when he was young. He went to college to study art. After a year of school, he moved to France. Picasso loved to work with bronze, ceramics, paints, plastic, and pens. He liked to paint women, especially the women he loved. He is most famous for inventing Cubism. Picasso died on April 8, 1973.
  2.  Cubism was invented in the early 1900s (1906-07) by Pablo Picasso and another artist named Georges Braque. It is a type of “abstract” art. The word abstract means “to take out.” In Cubist art, subjects are broken apart and pieces of them are abstracted (taken out). The artist puts the pieces of her/his subject back together in interesting ways—s/he paints them from different angles, in different colors, shapes, and sizes—in order to represent the subject of the painting in many ways at the same time.
  3.  In the painting “Girl before a Mirror” The young girl was named Marie Therese Walter and was painted multiple times during the 1930’s by Picasso. This painting was painted during Picasso’s cubism period. Picasso was an artist who was very bold with his artwork. Even with backgrounds that are normally placed to be a backdrop and mainly they’re to assist the main subject. He includes it within the painting to make it just as intense as the main focal point of the image.
  4.  Picasso shows her both in profile and frontally as she peers into a mirror that reflects a woman she isn't. When you look closely at the image, you can interpret many different symbols within different parts of the painting. The woman’s face for one; is painted with a side profile and a full frontal image. One side shows the day time where she seems more like a woman dolled up with her make up done. The other side with the rough charcoal texture portrays her at night. When she takes off the mask of makeup, and is more vulnerable as a young lady. One way of interpreting the painting is when the woman looks at herself in the mirror; she is seeing herself as an old woman. From the green discoloration on her forehead, darkening of her facial features to the lines that show that her young body has been distorted, and gravity has taken its rightful place. 
  5.  Another way of viewing the painting is that she is self-conscious, and she sees all the flaws in herself that the world doesn't see.
a)     Using this painting as a source of inspiration, students create an image of Cubist Faces emulating Picasso’s style. Students need to describe the various things they saw (lines, shapes, colors, etc.), and discuss what they thought the painting was supposed to be about.

b)     Procedure/Directions ( What and how  to do):
                                                I.           Start by turning the paper horizontal and drawing a face shape (using pencil) in the middle of the paper. It was emphasized that the face can be ANY shape; it doesn't  HAVE to be oval.
                                              II.          The students had to draw a "profile" line going down the middle of the face, thereby making the face look like it was actually 2 faces-a profile view, and a front view.
                                            III.          The students then add facial characteristics, eyes, extra nose, mouths, emphasizing the use of SHAPES, and really putting their imagination to the test. They could add one ear, two, or none. It is totally up to them.
                                            IV.          To tie the composition together, the last part is to draw the hair. The hair must lead from one side of the paper to another to be specified. By this I mean the hair had to connect to each head, thereby making the composition flow.  Various types of lines that could be used to make hair need to be discussed.
                                              V.          Trace the   entire drawing using Black Sharpie.
                                            VI.          Outline the drawing in Black oil pastel, to make it stand out more.
                                          VII.          Color using bright colored oil pastels.

c)     Goals for including this activity: The main objective for including this type of activity is for students to be creative and make their imagination run wild with the many possibilities.
d)     Follow-up activities: A Quick entry in their art portfolio (they bring to art class each week) about their "Picasso Experience." How did it make them feel/ did they like drawing like this? Basically a brief reflection on what they had created.

I have created a few Picasso like faces myself just to give an idea to the students because I believe that seeing is better than words. I am adding a few pictures here just to give students an idea as to what and how to go about doing it.


1) Picasso ( Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists)-- This is the popular children's art series books.

2) Who was Pablo Picasso?--  Picasso continually discovered new ways of seeing the world and translating it into art. A restless genius, he went through a blue period, a rose period, and a Cubist phase. He made collages, sculptures out of everyday objects, and beautiful ceramic plates. This book covers these phases.

Picasso's "Girl before a Mirror,"   Femme au Balcon, c.1937  Print by Pablo Picasso.


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