"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Fractured Cubist Oil Pastel Drawings

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.

"Three Macarons"

Here are some results from a Grade 7/8 class.
Ta da!

"Three Chocolates"

"Three Clocks"

"Three Strawberries"


CMae said...

I love this lesson but got confused in your step where you said arrange all the cut pieces into an assorted composition. What was the step about tracing? You put your new piece of paper ON TOP of all those loose arranged pieces or arrange your loose pieces on the new piece of paper then trace around them?

Phyl said...

I did a similar project I call "fractured faces". We draw, and outline w/Sharpie, a funky face, and then break it up with ruler lines that crisscross over the face to the paper's edge. Then we cut on the lines, and carefully arrange the pieces IN ORDER on a larger piece of paper. Once they are arranged correctly, we slip and slide them, and sometimes rotate them a bit, so you still get the general idea of the face but things are seriously out of whack. Then we color, with both solid areas and areas of pattern. The end results are pretty cool. We've done this with still life drawings also.

Miss said...

CMae- yes, sorry- this project is a bit complex to explain! Yes, you put a new piece of paper on top of the loose pieces and trace the design. Therefore, when choosing your final good copy paper, you need to make sure it's thin enough that you can see through or students can also take turns using a light table if you have one. You can also tape the loose pieces down so they don't move around when you're tracing. Hope this makes sense!

Phyl- your 'fractured faces' project sounds very cool! I'll have to try it out soon!

Art at Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School said...

What a great lesson to teach the Analytical cubist style to students.

The students did a fantastic job with blending and fracturing. I love all the compositions.

Julie said...

I was a k-12 teacher until last year and just started doing 5-12 this year. Finding good HS lessons is so hard so I am overjoyed to find your site thanks to a pin on Pinterest! Keep up the great work!

Kristyn DeMint said...

I am loving your blog! I went a little "pin" crazy on your lessons. Thanks for the great inspiration!

Miss said...

Thanks Julie and Kristyn! I finally received the elusive 'invite' to join Pininterest, but have yet to figure out how to install it! lol! I've heard it's great for us visual types.

artteacher said...

Great project! Amazing results. Unfortunately too hard for my 5th graders.

jendel79 said...

All of these people got confused but it made sense to me...I don't think that there has to be any order to it. cut them up, place them down and make sure they line up enough to fit onto the paper where they are traced, and go to it. I thought your explanation was crystal clear. Thank you!!!

Miss said...

Thanks artteacher- yes, I agree- possibly too hard (too many steps) for Grade 5. Maybe try it with just one object?

jendel79- thanks- ha! you explained it better than me! I need to include a photo of the tracing stage, I think.

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