The Hindu community is celebrating another beautiful festival so this week the Picassos and I are learning all about this colourful event! Phagwa or Holi as it's also called is a celebration of new life and it marks the beginning of the Hindu year! It also coincides with spring (yet another point of learning since we get to discuss seasons we don't experience here at home), which is probably why all those beautiful colours are used to spray the joyous participants!
Our piece today portrays the lively colours of the abeer dye and the Picassos created a loose and expressive line portrait of a face drenched in the festivities of Phagwa!
Note: all tissue paper are not created equal! Because our colours were not as vibrant as I had hoped we added some splashes of liquids watercolours as well!
We celebrate the first people that settled in our beautiful twin islands soon so of course the Picassos and I took some time to explore what they knew about the Amerindians! Most of my smarty pants could chit chat about crops they grew and could identify the Caribs for their 'warlike' traits and the Arawaks for their peaceful nature. But I wanted them to go a bit further and we talked about some of the things they left us... Like a mortar and pestle, chandon beni and place names like Arima, Tunapuna, Mayaro and Couva to name a few. 😀 A few of my Picassos were very well-versed and I was very happy to hear them shout out place names and crops etc!
But things really got interesting when I told them the story of Hyarima - the chief of the Carib tribe who escaped enslavement from the Spanish and spent his life protecting his people from the invaders.
Hyarima is the subject of our art piece today... take a look as they paint their impression of this hero of our indigenous people. I just love that we get to practice our portrait drawing skills while learning more about our indigenous people 🤓
Allow me to introduce Aunty Aurea... my assistant. Aunty Aurea works tirelessly behind the scenes mixing paint, cleaning brushes and keeping our Doodlebugs and Picassos entertained and engaged with her seemingly boundless knowledge of trivia! She is also our main photographer and second in command as keeper of law and order!
Today however she is none of those things. Today she is our model. The Picassos had Aunty Aurea sitting as still as I think Aunty Aurea as ever sat in her entire life while they drew and painted her portrait! Needless to say this class was extremely entertaining!
At this age portrait making is mostly about getting features in the right position and for some learning and for others practicing that all important skill of observation. So the end result may not be photo-realistic but the process is full of skill-building value and did I mention we had a ball laughing. It's a good thing Aunty Aurea has a great sense of humour!
This year for Valentine's Day I thought I'd get my Picassos into a piece that was a bit more meaningful. They each had to find a quote about kindness and bring it to class or come up with one on their own! We then created 1/2 face portraits of them holding up a sign with their words written on it. Of course they all gawked that they couldn't possibly draw themselves... but as usual they put their trust in me (bless them lol) and we took it one step at a time. I showed them how to sketch a basic face and brought out mirrors so they could really look at the shape of their faces and their eyes and eyebrows... since that's what we focused on today. But this art piece is much more than portrait making...
We discussed how art can be more than just a beautiful picture. Art can be a form of expression for the artist to make a statement about social issues. I used the example of the role of the calypsonian in our own culture and how the calypsonian through music brings to light things that are both good and bad about our society. I think especially with the violence in our nation's schools and society in general it is a good opportunity to make our children focus on kindness and in essence encourage them to be the change they want to see... a phrase borrowed from another great leader Mahatma Gandhi.
I couldn't think of a better message for Valentine's Day and it was also loaded with great art principles in portrait making! Win, win!
, The Picassos worked on creating their super heroes in this session so our focus was drawing people in motion! To help ease some of my kiddos into this difficult task I brought my little wooden mannequin man so they could take turns putting him in different poses and sketching the limbs. I also made some nifty movable figure templates that they could use to get the proportions right. I like to think of these movable figures as training wheels... it really gets them thinking about how limbs are connected by joints and how arms and legs look when you move them this way and that.
So some Picassos drew free-handed, some looked at the mannequin for guidance on how to draw the angles and some used my movable figures. They all then drew the costumes over the basic body structure and erased the parts that would be covered by clothes! Take a look at their creative compositions!
Next week they will scratch out the buildings so we'll focus on perspective in the next part of this gargantuan art piece.
Tuesday Picassos are on top and Saturday Picassos are underneath :)
For the first part of this lesson see here, or to see how they finished them up move along to Part 3!
Thursday Picassos get to 'surprise' their moms with a lovely portrait too :) Hi moms... I know you're peeking!
If you want to see Tuesday kiddos you can find them here.
Mother's Day is coming up so I wanted to help my Picassos do something extra special for their moms!
Our project today... a portrait of mom but mounted on colourful paper and staged as the cover of People Magazine's Mother of the Year issue... lol. Super cute but jam packed with techniques on drawing and painting portraits.
Take a look at our lovely creations!
So it's the week of Halloween and I thought it would be great to get the Picassos doing something a little witchy.. lol. But instead of just painting a boring old witch we turned it into a lesson in Picasso... Pablo Picasso that is!
So I gave them a little intro to the work of Picasso, they'll definitely have to revisit their namesake, but this short intro video is enough to get them started on our Picasso inspired witches!
We also looked at these 10 famous Picasso paintings just because this type of art is so unfamiliar... I wanted them to get a feel for what it could look like so when they started to paint their witches they wouldn't feel the need to try to 'correct' their art to make it conform!
They drew half the face in profile and the other half looking straight ahead and we worked on black paper today. Take a look at the results :)
My Thursday afternoon Picassos were a little reluctant to get into this weird faced witch.. lol.. but after they learnt a little more about their namesake and understood that Picasso didn't paint the way he did because he wasn't good at classical painting but rather he was such a master that he dared to revolutionize the way art was interpreted and presented they gave in and decided to try their hand at the Picasso-inspired witch :)
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)