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Meeting the Masters: Picasso Hands-on & Reading List

This is our fourth unit with Meet the Masters, but we ended up skipping the last one, for Mondrian, because it was too similar to the first Mondrian exercise we did.  I mean, basically, it was lines and colours and I substituted a hands-on primary-colours lesson instead.

imageI didn’t do the project ahead of time, so I was kind of winging it, which turned out okay, though it took a few minutes at the beginning to get organized.

This project started out by having us copy a simple line drawing of a guitar and drum (at the higher age/skill levels, it’s a guitar and a clarinet).  The trick is, you turn the picture UPSIDE-DOWN to copy it, so (as the explanation goes), you’re not using your LEFT brain at all – it also suggests you try not to talk, and just copy the shapes as you see them.  Naomi drew her drum rightside-up by accident (because she wasn’t copying; just drew it the way she thought it “ought” to be), but that was okay, as you’ll see.

DSC01777The next step, and this was pretty upsetting for her after she’d worked hard on the drawing (note to other parents or teachers using MTM:  warn kids ahead of time that they WILL have to cut up their drawing!).  Eventually, she agreed, and we cut our drawings on the fold lines and pasted them into a pleasing arrangement on the “frame” construction paper.  (she picked orange; mine is purple)


The colouring stage comes last, and uses a “staining technique” where you rub the chalk pastels vigourously onto a palette, then use a piece of tissue (we used toilet paper) to rub the colour onto the picture.  That gives it a smooth, almost “airbrushy” kind of look.  I had never heard of this before.  What a great technique!


Here’s our finished artwork!

 DSC01785 DSC01786  DSC01788 

I like how they even give you printable tags to paste on the back of your artwork, so you remember what artist you were studying and what techniques you were supposed to be practicing during the project.  It’s a little thing, but it makes me happy.


Naomi Rivka never wants to quit after an art project – she’s usually too inspired and revved up.  After we were done this Picasso project, she decided to use the leftover colours on her “palette” to create her very own mini-Mondrian artwork.  She cut out squares of colour and balanced them the way we learned in the Meet the Masters unit.  She used a ruler to draw lines as perfectly straight as she could.

 DSC01791 DSC01793

Proudly showing off her original artwork!

I think I’m so proud of this program because here we are on our FOURTH artist and I’m actually doing it – following through, teaching the kids, expanding my own mind.  The kids don’t think this is anything special, but that’s only because they don’t realize what an art ignoramus I am.

On the Picasso bookshelf from the library this weekend…

(Note:  the Ernest Raboff “Art for Children” book shown is Matisse, but we are really reading the Picasso one.  Amazon wouldn’t let me add it, presumably because it’s out of stock, but it’s worth searching to find an inexpensive used copy of any of these Raboff books)


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