Monday, June 1, 2015

Paint-and-Read: Picasso

This spring, the Luke and Nina have been taking a weekly painting class run by a local homeschool mom.  Each week, they chat briefly about a famous artist and then work on their own paintings using a related technique or style.  Then, before the next class, the kids and I read up on the artist that they emulated during their painting class.

Painting Time...

During the Luke and Nina's first class, they focused on the style of Pablo Picasso.  The kids chatted about how Picasso co-founded the cubism movement and how, in that style of painting, objects are often broken up and repainted in an abstract form, with part of the object painted in realistic colors and the other part in surreal, or non-realistic, colors.

Reading Time...

Nina's Work

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After the kids' painting class, we borrowed four books from the library to enjoy:

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! was one of the kids' favorites.  It had gloriously energetic illustrations and an upbeat, non-typical  approach to helping readers get a flavor for Picasso.  From its opening pages, the picture book captured the children's interest as the first page depicted a serene landscape and the words: 
"ONE DAY the word is a peaceful, lovely landscape, painting... "

Followed by the next page which depicted a young Picasso literally bursting through the landscape painting, with canvas and brushes in hand:

"The next day - BLAM!- Pablo bursts through he canvas, paintbrush in hand, ready to paint something fresh and new."

From there, the book carried on with enthusiasm to tell of
  • how easily painting came to Picasso, how exquisite and appreciated his early artwork was
  • how he moved about the Europe and through different styles of art work
  • how critics bemoaned his later modern, abstract art
  • and how he stayed stood firm and stayed true to the modern style he ultimately became famous for.   

While it did so, the book sometimes leaned toward the fantastic, much like Picasso's own work did.  In fact, at one point, it becomes a tall tale as it Picasso "expands himself to a height of one hundred feet and shouts, 'The chief enemy of creativity is 'good sense!'"  However, even as it does this, it dives into the very real story of how Pablo Picasso changed art and how the times Pablo lived in may have changed him.

We'd highly recommend it!


Pablo Picasso (Art for Children) was another favorite for the kids.  It began with quote from Pablo Picasso and a brief biography, and, then, with multi-colored text and full page reproductions of some of Picasso's paintings, brought us through the different periods of Picasso's work, with examples of:
  • his blue period
  • his rose period
  • his period of painting circus people
  • his cubinism
  • his classical period
  • his scultpure

As it did, the book offered art study amateurs like us, a veritable feast of interesting information about:
  • how Picasso created movement in his pictures
  • the composition of his works
  • what Cubinism is
  • what may have inspired Picasso
  • how Picasso used brush strokes with purpose and meaning
  • and more!

It was like having our own personal art expert giving us a tour of Picasso's work:  totally delightful, immersing us in the diverse works of Picasso!

Life and Works of Picasso is a book we used more for browsing than for reading.  With 50 reproductions of Picasso's work, it is a feast for the eyes and is one we will get again when diving into Picasso's work as the kids get older as its text will be better appreciated by them.

Who Was Pablo Picasso? is a fantastic illustrated biography at a perfect reading level for Luke, which I thought he'd dive into.  Unfortunately, it came in at the same time as a bunch of Minecraft books that Luke had put on hold at the library and also in the middle of a time period when we were immersed in family read togethers for Westward Ho I and Westward Ho II.  Thus the book did not get attention it deserved.  That's okay, though, I am sure we'll be "meeting" Picasso again and will dive into the quick and fun kids' biography then!

Further Reading


Luke's Work

Other books I'd like to borrow when studying Picasso again include:

What are some of your favorite Picasso-related art projects, books and resources?


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