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Picasso's perspective.

The Art Problem

Children learn, from Picasso's abstract paintings, to make self-portraits using their imagination.


portrait, abstract, style, Expressionism, Pablo Picasso

Essential Concepts

Most children are able to see what Picasso does in his paintings without forming judgments. They find his portraits "cool" in their unusual configurations and "interesting" for their differences. But also, children are skilled enough to follow a set of instructions to create their own Picasso-like pictures.

Pablo Picasso for Children is an age-appropriate book on the artist and his work. Review several reproductions such as Woman with Fish Hat, Seated Woman, and The Dream. I invite children to tell where they see various features in the artwork. We talk about details, colors, and forms that drew the eye into each painting.

Guiding Practice

Give children an 18 x 24" (46 x 61 cm) piece of white drawing paper. Children sketch a large oval for the head, adding neck and shoulders so the face does not float in space. Talk about different feelings and facial expressions and placement of facial features. After sketching the features in pencil, children use markers to add color and designs to their portraits.

Children cut their portraits out and glue them to 18 x 24" (46 x 61) colored construction paper, chosen to coordinate with the dominant color in the portrait. Children use rubber stamps and stamp pads to create a frame. The results reinforce that not everyone does things the same way, and having different perspectives and ideas is part of what makes life interesting.

I join Pablo Picasso in his belief that "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

ClipCard submitted by Darcy M. Swope, a lower school art teacher at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Early Childhood
Author:Swope, Darcy M.
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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