Just a couple weeks ago, my new batch of Kindergarteners walked through the doors of the Art Room for the first time. Many of them looked up and around the room, taken aback by all of the colors, patterns, and crazy things springing from the walls and ceiling. After they found their name tags and assigned seats, they learned that all of the different tables in the Art Room are named after famous artists: Matisse, DaVinci, Monet, Picasso, Warhol, and O’Keeffe.
Pablo Picasso was the inspiration for our first project of the year. This Spanish artist is known for his cubist style and use of color. I wanted to start the year off on a high note, so I showed Kindergarteners pictures of Picasso’s crazy guitars.
Something about Picassos’ guitars and their energy bring me back to my childhood. Few people know this, but I used to be in a band. The band consisted of myself, my little brother, and my dad. We used to jump around, write music, and record our songs in the little room above our old garage. This has always been one of my fondest memories and I wanted to translate this fun energy into an art lesson where kids not only learn about Pablo Picasso, but create a bit of magic.
So I turned on some music for my Kindergarteners as we started our lesson, discussing warm colors and cool colors. Each student received a colored sheet of construction paper, smock, and plate of paint. I called the first day of the lesson CRAZY PAINT DAY because our goal was to cover the paper with as much color and paint as possible. Before we began, I demonstrated several painting techniques such as sponging and color blending. I used a wooden tool to create detail by carving into the top layer of paint, showing the layer underneath. Kindergarteners learned how to create mono-prints by folding their papers down the middle while the paint was still wet. After some demonstrating and experimenting, I set the Kindergarteners back to their tables to PLAY. This resulted in some pretty cool looking abstract artwork!
On the second day of this lesson, I distributed cardboard cut outs of guitars and the dry artwork from last week. I showed students how to use the cardboard guitar as a template and trace around it. Students took turns using the cardboard cut outs and tracing the guitar shape onto their abstract background paper. I was very impressed with the amount of patience this little group demonstrated! Once guitars were stenciled onto the crazy paintings, students used scissors to cut out their guitar shapes. Again, I was impressed with how well Kindergarteners knew how to use their scissors and how hard they worked. This was probably a little hard for them, but no tears of frustration were shed!
Of course, once our guitars were cut out into free forms we had to have a little rock out session. 🙂
Next, Kindergarteners glued their guitars onto black construction paper and started adding the details. I gave each group of children a button jar, oil pastels, and tissue paper circles. Students added buttons, string, tissue paper, and other details. I didn’t overload them with rigid instructions because I wanted to see what they could come up with!
For me, the most fun part of this lesson was walking around and watching children take little breaks to strum the strings of their guitar. I could tell that they were absorbed into this fantasy world and quite taken by their magical guitars. To complete the backgrounds, we crumpled up brown packing paper to glue on colorful construction paper for a bit of color and texture. The guitars were cut out from black paper and glued to their new backgrounds. What do you think?