Friday, April 29, 2016

Abstract Cubist Self Portraits, Inspired by Picasso

After drawing their self portraits from observation, using mirrors, 3rd grade artists looked at portraits painted by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Students noticed that Picasso's portraits have many different shapes, the colors are not natural to a person in real life, and the facial features seemed to be at different angles. For example, one eye looks like it is looking forward and the other eye is from a side profile view.
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar (1937)
Students learned about Cubism, an art movement developed by Picasso and another artist, Georges Braque, in the early 1900's. In Cubism, artists wanted to represent the world differently, and encourage viewers to look at the world in different ways. They would break up the subject into different geometric shapes and look at it from many different angles. We looked at other examples of Cubist artwork, including still life paintings and landscapes, and noticed that while the subject was often recognizable, they were not necessarily realistic.
Students then started their own Cubism inspired self portraits. We started off similarly to our self portrait drawings from observation, with a head, neck and shoulders. This time, students had more freedom to play around with shape and size. Some students chose to represent their hair style very differently! Using oil pastels, students colored in their hair and shirt, but left their faces blank. 
Next class, students used different colored pieces of paper to add their facial features, considering how they could make them abstract and different from the way they might normally approach them. We experimented with making one eye looking forward and the other looking sideways
Students used many different colors and techniques with their oil pastels, blending colors together and selecting complementary colors to help details stand out. After arranging the pieces within their face, students glued them down. Then they added a background, adding different areas of color. Here are some examples of our creatively abstract, Cubist style self portraits:
Dorie, 3rd grade (Lutz)
Kiran, 3rd grade (Monfette)
Nola, 3rd grade (Lutz)

Sona, 3rd grade (Monfette)
Andrew Parker, 3rd grade (Donato)
Emily, 3rd grade (Stone)

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