2009-05-01 / School News

Picasso-Inspired Portrait Exhibit at Seaside Library

Through the collaborative efforts of P.S./M.S. 225 art teacher and liaison, Ms. Cone and Ms. Sandra Lowenstein, the Seaside Library's children's librarian, a second student art exhibit is currently on display in the Seaside Library Children's Room until the end of May 2009. The exhibit honors secondand third-grade student portraits inspired by the Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso.

The striking colors of these images joyfully greet visitors entering the children's room, and provide recognition to the outstanding work of the students. Many children immediately express excitement upon viewing their portraits. Visitors of all ages are happy to see the room take on a new life and admire the detail evident in the portraits.

To prepare for this project, the students studied the famous artwork of Pablo Picasso and the Cubism movement. Picasso perfected a style of breaking objects into geometric shapes, and arranging and painting them from all angles, giving attention to great detail. Ms. Cone helped students to construct a dialogue by analyzing and discussing key elements and principles of art and design in Picasso's work including line, color, and shape, symmetry vs. asymmetry, scale, and emphasis. The objective for planning and introducing an artist study is to help provide children with tools for recognizing and analyzing the work of these great artists.

On the day of the portrait sketch exercise, Ms. Cone gave a step-bystep demonstration, showing the children how to asymmetrically outline a face. The students sketched faces based on their individual artistic style and talent, and development, which is highly encouraged. Each child created a two-sided view by drawing the eyes and nose on an angle and dividing the face in half.

After the sketches met approval, the students were shown how to apply oil pastels to their portraits. "For many children, this was the first time they began utilizing and developing use of oil pastels. Working with new medium creates a new attitude and excitement towards art and instruction, as well as helping students to remain focused on the task at hand. There is less time for undesirable behaviors," said Ms. Cone.

"Ask the students what they learned whilst studying the work of Picasso, and they will tell you that Picasso was mesmerized by mask art from the Fang tribe of West Africa or that the artist worked with other Cubist artists such as Georges Braque in Paris," said Ms. Cone. In the near future, Ms. Cone hopes to coordinate art projects with Ms. Lowenstein at the Seaside Library.

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