Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oil Pastel Picasso Faces Art Lesson

If you don't subscribe to Arts and Activities magazine, you should. It's full of great lesson plans complete with great photos. I found this lesson in the March '07 issue. Art teacher Jennifer Bowden submitted this lesson which I found extremely accessible to my fifth graders.

I had done a Picasso Face Art Lesson before with my first graders (see the lesson here) but this one is more advanced.

It's pretty simple, too. With a black oil pastel, have the kids draw a profile of a face. Instruct them to think about the placement of the first line (middle of paper). Since this is a lesson in cubism, the kids don't have to be perfect, in fact, the crazier the better!

They should draw the forehead, nose, mouth and chin. Leave the neck for now. Have them draw an eye looking to the side. Then to the left of the profile, have the kids draw a regular curved line to make another "face". On this face the kids draw an eye facing towards them.
The mouth is where the kids join the two faces. This is also where they see how the two faces fit together. Draw hair, neck and shoulders.

Now the fun part. I ask the kids to color one side of their face with one color then chose a different color for the other side. I also show them how to layer oil pastel; color with a light pastel then cover with a dark pastel.
With all coloring, the oil pastel should be applied heavily. This is where you need to encourage kids to put in their best effort. A lightly colored rendering is not what we're after here. This works in their favor so if they want to scratch off the top layer later on, they can.

Once the entire page is colored, I give the kids wooden sticks so they can scratch off some of the oil pastels to make a design. Very cool. Some kids add geometric patterns, some just scratch the color off and others (of course) write their names.
For the final step, I ask the kids to go over their black oil pastel again and this time add eye-lashes, etc.

(The artists are from Mrs. McEachen and Ms. Keenan's 5th grade class at Foothill)


Helen said...

I've done this before with smaller children. We started with black construction paper (and used chalk for our original face sketches). That way if you have an unenthusiastic colorer, it still looks good because the viewer's eye doesn't see any white!
It is a great project: the kids have fun and like the results, and the parents are fascinated.

Unknown said...

Very Colorful. Always the African Art remains attractive and very perfect in the color.

artsology said...

Here's a web feature that shows a wide range of Picasso's styles when painting faces:

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