Picasso and Abstraction

Supplies: Obtain heavy white paper 80 lb. sulfite 12"x18", watercolor paper or poster board 22"x28" cut to quarter sheets, medium-tip permanent pens, oil pastels, liquid watercolors, ice tray palettes and brushes. Empire Artist Supplies, Santa Rosa, has a good selection of student art supplies.
Note: Slide presentations of art works by famous artists as well as folk and muticultural art, greatly enhance students' recognition and understanding of the world of visual art. Books are useful for smaller groups of students. To photograph art from books, use a tripod, photographing outdoors on an overcast day; having a friend hold pages flat will improve results.
  1. Allow students to look at a wide variety of Picasso's art in chronological order. Study the different periods of his art: realism, rose period, blue period, cubism and abstraction. There are portraits and paintings of children from all periods of his life. Include a few very famous paintings like "Family of Saltimbanques" 1905, "Three Musicians" 1921 and "Guernica" 1937. Discuss the difference between realism and abstraction.
  2. Using permanent markers (without pencil) direct each student to draw a self -portrait from imagination. Encourage unusual placement of facial features, abstractions and the inclusion of personal items which can uniquely identify students. A signature can be anywhere on the front side of the picture.
  3. Add patterns, designs, highlights and small color regions with oil pastels. Leave some white spaces for the watercolor washes which will be applied in the final stage. Colored areas do not need to reflect true-to-life colors.
  4. Using liquid watercolors, wash over regions of your picture leaving very few white areas. Dilute colors with water for lighter colors. Rinse brushes between color changes. Encourage the students to be inventive with color, mistakes do not exist!


    ©   Deborah Padrick   2001