Picasso’s Guitar with Abstraction

Week 2 Fishtown Recreation Center 3rd/4th graders learned about master artist, Pablo Picasso!

We started out by reading Picasso Loves Shapes by Judiee Lee. We discussed the elements of art such as line, shape, and color. We learned about abstraction and recalled what abstract art was.

We specifically focused on Picasso’s artworks which featured guitars. We learned that Picasso not only made all kinds of art (paintings, sculptures, costumes, etc) but he also created LOTS of art – over 500,000 pieces of artwork in his lifetime! And he also developed his own way of creating art. Picasso is famous for many artistic styles, including “The Blue Period,” “The Rose Period,” and “Cubism.”

The group looked at Picasso’s paintings titled, “Three Musicians” (Cubism) and “The Old Guitarist” (from his Blue Period). Then we looked at other images of his artwork featuring guitars. We noticed that it looked like he “chopped” up the guitar and it looked like puzzle pieces of it were all over.

We first drew a geometric line design on our papers. I showed them how to draw a straight line until you ‘bumped into something’ and stopped. Then, I’d pick up my pencil, start it from somewhere and end when I reached a line or the side of the paper. The students could draw as many – or as few – lines as they liked. We were essentially ‘breaking up the paper’ into sections. We also noted it looked like stained glass. 

After outlining our geometric lines and shapes in black marker, we used tempera cake paints to paint inside each shape. All the students were careful and precise, using the paint as neatly as possibly. They really loved using the tempera cake paints because they are rich in color and dry really fast!

While their cubist inspired backgrounds dried, they decorated and colored the pre-cut guitar. I strongly encouraged them to cut up their guitar like a puzzle and “hide” the pieces, much like Picasso would have done. However, I could only convince one student to cut her beloved guitar up. She was really excited to show her mom her artwork and get her to guess what was hidden in the picture! Even those who didn’t cut up their guitar still had a beautiful and successful, cubism-like artwork.