This is a very colourful Cubist lesson I found in a 2008 issue of Arts & Activities magazine. It was entitled: "Playing with Picasso" by Art teacher Debra Tampone. The project is inspired by Pablo Picasso's painting "Three Musicians" from 1921. If you like Cubist lessons, you might also like this project I did using coloured pencils.
I begin by showing my Grade 7/8 class a slideshow of famous Cubist works- have them identify the typical characteristsics of the style. Identify key words such as 'fragmented' or 'shattered'. Notice the flat and angular planes, the random angles and the planar shifts. We also discuss Picasso and his influence on contemporary art.
|Pablo Picasso, "Three Musician's", 1921|
So here's how I created my sample. First, students need to choose one object, or three related objects and draw them three times onto a sheet of cheap white paper or newsprint. The paper we used was about 12 x 18". I chose one of my favourite subject matters: French macarons. The object chosen will become the title of their final artwork, for example, in my case, "Three Macarons".
Vary the sizes of the objects, but draw them fairly large. Just a simple contour drawing- no shading. Arrange them on the paper so there is a fairly equal balance between positive and negative space.
Then outline them all with a black marker.
Next- cut the drawing apart into 3-5 puzzle-type sections. Encourage straight angles.
Again, vary the sizes and shapes, but nothing too small. Outline all the edges with a black marker.
Then, re-arrange the pieces into a new composition: a fragmented version of the original drawing.
For the final good copy, take another piece of paper the same size as the original (about 12 x 18"), and carefully place it ON TOP of the cut pieces. Carefully trace, with a black marker, the entire composition including the edges of the cut paper. Some students like to tape their pieces down to the table so they don't move around at all. Because you're tracing, make sure your good copy paper is not too thick.
Finally, colour in the design with oil pastels. Choose 3-4 colours for the objects and then 3-4 constrasting colours for the background. Students practiced blending these colours together beforehand with their fingers. You want to encourage value changes and soft gradations which is a typical characteristic of the Analytical Cubist style. We used Pentel brand oil pastels; I also really like the Crayola portfolio brand- they are very soft and creamy and ideal for blending.
Here are some results from a Grade 7/8 class.