Saturday, February 28, 2015

'Fractured Faces' - the Picasso Slip 'n Slide!

I was searching through some folders a couple of days ago, and I unexpectedly uncovered the artwork which you see on for this post.  I have been blogging for about 5 years, but I've been retired for 3 of those 5 years, and I taught for 34 years before I ever even started blogging!  So that means I have 34 years of art projects and lessons that I have never shared.  So now and then, I'd like to tell you about some of them.
These lessons were completed before I started regularly photographing student work (in the days before the ease of digital photography), so most of what I have to share with you are my personal project samples, and not student work.  The images in this post are from lessons when the students were learning about Pablo Picasso.  The students were looking at his cubist portraits.  They noticed that the models often appeared like they were looking in fractured mirrors.  And the models were often viewed from multiple angles at the same time, with front views and profiles in the same image.  And the images were frequently bright and colorful and unexpected, and had a wit and humor about them.  So out of these revelations about Picasso's work, came this lesson, Picasso Portrait Slip 'n Slides, or alternatively called Fractured Faces
To start, students drew a goofy portrait, (as shown in the image above) which could, if desired, include elements of profile and front view, with exaggerated features.  Then, using a ruler, the image was divided up by several lines.

The students then colored the face using markers, and cut the image along the  ruler lines.  Students were given slightly larger pieces of paper, and the portrait was arranged on the paper like a puzzle.  Then, before gluing, the puzzle pieces were slid in one direction or another and slightly rearranged, while still retaining enough visible elements of the face.  When the students were satisfied with their compositions, they were given the go-ahead to glue them down.
Finally, the negative space in the original image, and the new negative space that had been created when the image was moved about, were all colored as well.  The image above is a sample of student work for this project that I discovered with my samples. 

Sometimes the images were filled with colorful patterns and designs, as in the images above, and sometimes the shapes were filled with areas of solid color, as in my sample pictured below. 
You may be surprised to see me posting a lesson that uses just marker, because usually I like to have my students work with materials that they are not likely to have at home.  But sometimes, it just works.  And sometimes, if many of my other classes were working with messy materials, I would have one grade level work with something non-messy to give me time to prep and clean.  So for this project, the bold colors of markers worked great.  But you could certainly vary this lesson in many ways.

For example, see the still life below, my sample.  For this project, I looked at and drew a still life arrangement of various bottles.  The drawings were 'fractured' with ruler lines before coloring.  The drawings were then colored with oil pastels, using rich patterns.  Though this wasn't cut apart as with the portraits above, it certainly could be. 
In another variation (sadly I couldn't find a sample), students drew a simple fractured image on a small piece of paper, tracing the lines thickly with a black marker.  Then, a piece of clear acetate was taped over the drawing, and the spaces between the lines were colored thickly with oil pastels.  The lines were left uncolored.  When complete, the acetate was flipped over onto a piece of black construction paper, which showed through the clear areas of the acetate re-creating the black lines.  The results are really cool!!

Today I read a conversation on on the Facebook Art Teacher page, about whether to show students teacher examples of final products, or not.  There were concerns about students copying if they saw your completed sample.  However, I feel strongly that students need to see a finished example, so that they have an understanding of where they are going.  Certainly, once it is shown, it doesn't need to be left out where it could potentially be copied.  But I think that kids need to see something completed, to understand the level of craftsmanship you expect, and to help guide them with choices they make along the way. Just my opinion, I know.

Before I end this post, I need to give a shout-out to the wonderful Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle, who recently posted a cubism project available for purchase in her online shop. It was ironic that I unexpectedly uncovered these pieces a day after she had posted about her project, and I'm exceptionally appreciative that she gave me the go-ahead for this post despite the timing.  Thank you, Patty, you rock! 

7 comments:

  1. I think we were all channelling cubism! This is a wonderful post, Phyl. Thanks for the detailed approach. Love your samples!

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    1. Thanks, Patty! Great minds think alike, right? ;)

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  2. I love these!!! The samples help the visual learner tremendously! :)

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  3. I love these! I will have to try them at the start of my next marking period! The kids will love them too I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! A couple of hints - don't let them cut the faces in too many pieces or you'll never get them back together in a recognizeable order. And if they don't get it all glued together before the end of class, give each student a ziploc bag to store all their pieces.

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  4. I've just written a long rambling comment and checked the spelling and 'poof' it disappeared. Grrrrr.
    In essence...show samples, visual learners and non listeners benefit. My objections to felt tips, they dry out, are expensive and bland. But this has worked.
    I'm keen to try this. Many thanks.

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    1. Ooh, I hate when that happens! You don't need to use felt tips for this: it could be done with oil pastels or paints. But we only used nice juicy Crayola markers, and if points dry out, we dip it in water, cover, and shake a bit. It often brings them back to life.

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