In my Renaissance at Home post, I described my initiative to blog through Art History with my little one, V. I hope that we can learn together and over time, with our activities and exploration growing more complex and in depth over the years that we do this project. Though some might think that 2 is too early to start exploring the work of the masters, I think you are never too young to be exposed to beautiful works of art, and that the projects will be great sensory activities for a young child. Indeed, our little one recognized Hokusai’s work at a museum exhibit after viewing the picture on one of her Little Einstein videos. Obviously the objectives of her learning will change as she matures, but for now, I hope to keep our art exploration interesting and fun for her and hopefully, she’ll absorb a little along the way.
Our first featured artist is Pablo Picasso.
Together, V and I read Painting with Picasso by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, who have a great series of books for toddler aged children based on the work of famous artists. We also checked out Pablo Picasso: Art for Children, which seems to be a great book for slightly older children to explore.
A reference book that we will be using for our Art History exploration project is called Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On-Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga. I fell in love with this book when we visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and had to purchase it. On pg. 69 of Discovering Great Artists, is the page on Picasso, with a project called “One Color Painting.”
The focus of “One Color Painting” is to help children understand the concept of color mixing and painting using gradations of the same color.
While we did not adequately complete the color mixing portion of the project, we did decide to paint using one color. I mixed the color gradations using tempera paint myself, however the paint we used did not change a good deal despite me mixing in great quantities of black and white paint into the blue. Acrylic paint would have demonstrated the color mixing concept to V more visibly.
I personally like some of the work from Picasso’s Blue Period (from 1901-1904), which as the book says, “focuses on themes of loneliness and despair.” While I did not attempt to convey those themes to my little one, she did manage to create a fairly ghost-like picture of her own (see above)! I believe that the actual picture is meant to be airplanes and clouds, per her description.
This was a simple project, it didn’t take a lot of materials and time, but was a fun way to begin our journey exploring the work of the masters.