Monday, July 29, 2013

Picasso art projects for kids

Life is good: art is great!

In my efforts to fulfill the "teacher" part of my role as parent, I dubbed an entire week, "Great Artists Week" at our house a few weeks ago. Problem is, we've been doing so much that I haven't taken time to download pictures! Until now...

I always try to work information into our discussions and we often discuss famous artists--Van Gogh, da Vinci, Michelangelo, as well as Matisse and Monet. It is easy to see art in the everyday. Gardens, a weathered sign, fruit, animals, people waiting for a bus, trees with magnificent leaves...they've all been the subject of works and works and works of art.

But Picasso, who happens to be one of my favorite artists, has really caught the eye of our five-year old. I especially love the simplicity of his line art and adore the imperfection of his cubism works. And it's the cubism pieces that have really grabbed our big kid's attention. We've talked about how Picasso was a ground breaker with the introduction of cubism. Cubism was really unique and different for the time. For Pablo Picasso, it must have felt both exciting and daunting to show this new kind of art to people. It's been a great way to discuss the importance of listening to your heart when creating art and not trying to make your work look like anyone else's, but rather to be inventive and listen to your own creative soul. Picasso once said, "I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them." This also provided a nice segue into a conversation about not following the crowd and being an individual in all realms, not just art.

We've had a lot of fun looking at and discussing Picasso's artwork and then interpreting it into our own. I asked the big kid to draw a self portrait with sidewalk chalk. Then, I drew some lines in it to create a "cubism" effect and then he colored it in.

He really loved this and asked for me to make more "cubist" images. (What is it about boys and dragons?)
Then he wanted to do some drawings on paper with marker "like Picasso". (I love that!) Including a dinosaur, of course...

And another dinosaur...

We've talked a lot about Picasso's line drawings--about how simple they are. We talked about the lack of detail or the minimal detail and then tried our hand at some of our own.

We looked at Picasso's peace doves and discussed our role in world peace. Truly, world peace is possible. And it begins with you and me. If we create peace within our home, then go out into the world in peace--if we show peace and understanding and love to everyone we meet and then they, in turn, do the same thing, we will begin a chain reaction of peace that will flood the world with goodness, kindness, and love. It's idealistic (and I love that) and I believe, it really is possible.

So we made some peace doves. And then cut them out and made a mobile out of them! All we needed was clear fishing line and some glue stick and voila! Of course somehow, I forgot to take a photo!

I love this quote from Pablo Picasso: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." It always breaks my heart when I hear people talk about art like it is silly or childish. I look around at the world and all I see is art. Gardens are like paint palettes. The sky, a canvas kissed by blues and white. The texture of peeling paint, the curls and twirls of a wrought iron fence, grooves from tires driven through mud, patterns of bricks and feathers and waves---all art.

Each day, I have a project or two lined up with different artists and styles, but Picasso continues to creep in.
In paintings...

And games, too. The big kid loves collage and wanted to do a collage "like Picasso" so we talked about this piece and how Picasso didn't always make his faces or bodies evenly distributed or look exactly like a face or body in the mirror. So the big kid drew a face, two eyes, two eyebrows, a nose, and a mouth and then cut them out. Then, we moved the pieces around like a puzzle to find the "masterpiece" in it.

 And then he decided on this...

You don't have to have paintings hanging in a gallery or an art degree to love art or to teach your children about art. All you need is curiosity. All you have to do is ask questions, be observant, and wonder. What do you think was the artist's inspiration? What is your favorite color in this painting? What is different about this artist's style in comparison to the other artist? Just like anything else in life, it's okay not to have all of the answers. And just like anything else in parenting, it's usually the kids that end up being the teachers! Ask your kids to talk to you about some artwork and prepare to be amazed at the observations and creativity! 

"Art is everywhere you look for it, hail the twinkling stars for they are God's careless splatters." (El Greco)

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