Submitted by: Mark Alan Anderson, Oak Park High School in Missouri UNIT: Contour Drawing - Blind Contour - Cubism Lesson: Proto-Cubism: THINKING Like Picasso Grade Level: middle school (shown 8th grade)
TLW develop hand/eye coordination and improve observational drawing skills.
TLW make intentional choices from random relationships of objects.
TLW visually articulate the abstract concept of multiple simultaneous viewpoints, an important principle of Cubism.
FA1 Process and techniques for the production, exhibition or performance of one or more of the visual or performed arts.
FA3 The vocabulary to explain perceptions about and evaluations of works in dance, music, theater and visual arts.
FA5 Visual and performing arts in historical and cultural contexts.
The Ultimate Picasso - Hefty, elegant, and inclusive, The Ultimate Picasso hits most, though not all, of these marks. It offers more than 1,200 reproductions (nearly 800 in color) spanning the artist's entire career.
Reproductions of early Cubist work are hung around The Creativity Lab. We begin with an exploratory discussion of the reproductions, specifically: "What do you see?" Be prepared for laughs, confusion, and students who dispute that these represent "good" art.
Divide classroom into groups of four. Distribute to each student: Drawing Boards, one sheet of drawing paper, short piece of masking tape to secure paper to board. Have each student select three different Colored Markers.
Describe Blind Contour Drawing. Explain that many people draw what they THINK they see and not what they REALLY see (symbols of trees, hearts, etc. rather than observational drawing.) Blind Contour Drawing is a way to improve observational drawing skills. Acknowledge that it is tough and intimidating at first, but FUN! (I always let the class watch me do one first, let them know that it’s OK to laugh at my drawing to loosen things up a bit.) Explain that in a Blind Contour Drawing, each student should select a starting point on the paper, place the marker at that point and without ever lifting the marker from the paper, begin to make a contour drawing without looking at the paper. Don’t scribble and draw BIG! Explain that in each group, each person will act as a model at one time. Groups choose their first model, choose one marker, and in a short timed session (2 minutes), everyone except the model will complete a Blind Contour Drawing. (I draw along with my students by the way.) Call time and then everyone breaks for a moment, laughs and groans at the results. Groups now need to change models – I tell students to choose the next person on their left – and on the same piece of paper, using a different color of marker, we begin the exercise again, drawing right on top of the first sketch. We repeat the exercise until each person has an overlap of at least three drawing on the page. Many times I will model for my students on the last Blind Contour Drawing, posing in some utterly ridiculous way. (This way I can keep their attention on me and OFF their drawing paper!)
Next class, I hang drawings around The Creativity Lab and place them on tables. We discuss how the overlap of drawings represent three visual points-of-view. We notice how new and interesting shapes are created from the overlapping contour drawings. We re-examine the Cubist reproductions and a short Picasso/Braque slideshow then discuss how Picasso and Braque attempted to show multiple viewpoints in a single artwork. Written assignment: "Can you think of other examples of multiple viewpoints?" (Movies, television are good examples)
Using the overlapping contour drawing I created while drawing along with my students, I demonstrate techniques for using chalk pastels: blending, filling, smudging, gradations, etc. I place several examples of previous student art works on my Easels to use as exemplars and I explain that my current students’ drawings have only just begun and that each learner must select colors from the pastels to use to complete their art-making. Colors must be blended and graduated from one to another by filling in the various shapes formed by overlapping the contour drawings – the entire page must be filled in with color and the only white that will show will be chosen intentionally and created by pigmented chalk. Blending is done with stubs or by folding a brown paper towel until it is a hard, pencil-like shape – blending is not done with fingers. Learners must take care to avoid smudging colors as they draw to avoid "muddying" up the color. I explain that our multiple drawings will now become a single, combined artwork and that by making intentional choices about color, placement, and specific shapes, each learner will bring order to chaos.
As a warm up to each class during this unit, I ask that learners complete five two-minute Blind Contour Drawings in their journals.
Did the learner effectively use color, line, and shape expressively in their art making?
Can the learner able to articulate the concept of "multiple viewpoints?"
Does the learner use subject-specific language to communicate and inquire?
Does the learner demonstrate greater confidence and/or facility in later observational sketches?
Teacher presents a multi-media presentation introducing students to the work of Picasso and his contemporaries. Teacher shows sources of inspiration for cubism work - roots in African art.
Students do a Web Quest (teacher designed) to learn more about Picasso and Cubism using a variety of sources found online. This can be done at any time during the lesson. Pablo Picasso: Know the Artist
Assessment: (Rubric adapted from Marianne Galyk)
Circle the number in pencil that best shows how well you feel that you completed that criterion for the assignment.
Criteria 1 – Used color, line, and shape expressively in their art making
Criteria 2 – Articulates the concept of "multiple viewpoints - Uses art vocabulary to describe art