Friday, June 8, 2012

Picasso Artist Study

This week we tackled Pablo Picasso for our artist study.  Picasso's variety of styles and lively personality should capture your kids' attention.  There are also so many great resources available for this unit!

Kristen over at Teaching Stars recommended some fantastic picture books that mix fiction with non-fiction.  Until I visited her blog, I'd never realized there were so many picture books about artists available!  Check out her Picasso study here for more ideas.

We read:
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules (Smart About Art), by True Kelley
Picasso and Minou, by P. I. Maltie
When Pigasso Met Mootisse, by Nina Laden
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail, by Laurence Anholt


I highly recommend When Pigasso Met Mootisse if you've studied both artists.  It's a very funny read. (At least if you like puns.  And I do, oh, I do.  Much to my husband's dismay.)

Next Crazy Bug had a choice of painting a picture inspired by Picasso's Blue Period or Rose Period.  We talked about how Picasso used colors express his emotions.  Crazy Bug was also able to explore how many, many shades of color there are in the world.  Basically, choose a subject to paint that makes you feel either happy (Rose Period) or sad (Blue Period).  Then use just red or blue paint mixed with various amounts of white, black, and brown to create all the different shades for your painting.

Here's my example of a Blue Period picture.  The blues nicely convey the loneliness of the dog.  Oddly, the colors look very different in the photo than they do in real life.  The dog, the tree trunk, and the moon are much more blue in the actual picture.

And here's Crazy Bug's (much more abstract) picture of a raspberry bush.  Raspberries not only make her happy, she told me, but they are also easy to paint with red!

Our next project was creating a Cubist style picture.  We used a couple of Crazy Bug's stuffed animal friends as models.  I reminded her (many times) that Cubism was about exploring new ways of seeing things, so she shouldn't worry about trying to create a realistic portrait of Teddy.  Instead, we focused on using geometric and free form shapes.  I also encouraged Crazy Bug to let her feelings about Teddy guide her color choices.  Apparently, Teddy makes her "excited-happy" so she chose "party" colors to communicate that.


  1. How was Breaking All The Rules? My library couldn't get me a copy of it in time but I had it on my wish list.
    Love your paintings!! What a fun activity! Can't wait to see you cubist style project!

  2. We love all the Smart About Art books. They're excellent for kids who have trouble focusing on non-fiction books. Very lively!