Monday, November 21, 2011

Picasso Mask Study

This is an art study project that will take a few sessions to complete but is very rewarding.


There are 2 parts to it.  Constructing the mask and then after careful observation creating a painting influenced by the design elements of that mask.  With a class you can have students reference their own mask or that of their classmates.


Before starting spend some time discussing Cubism and the work of Picasso and Braque with your students.  This particular art project looks at the early stages of Cubism, (almost more expressionism).


With Cubism, we are experimenting with form, stylistic distortion of form, and we are looking at the viewer's perception of that form.

During this early work you can see how Picasso was influenced by his interest in Iberian Sculpture and African art. (see Demoioselles d' Avignon, 1907) 

MATERIALS REQUIRED:

- balloon
- paper towels
- white glue
- water and recycled container
- wax paper
- scissors
- paint, acrylic or tempera
- wc paper or heavy sketch paper 
- resource material (African mask images, Iberian sculpture)
- pencil

PROCEDURE:

Take your balloon and blow it up to the size of mask you want.

You can tape it to an old yogurt container if you want to assist in the drying process as well as making it easier to maneuver while constructing.

Cut up your paper towel into strips.  Mix up your white glue with some water (1 to 1 ratio) in an old recycled container.  Place some wax paper on your work space. Start constructing your mask.  Put some strips into your glue mixture and apply to your balloon. Cross the strips over one another.  You only need about 2 coats here.  We only need 1/2 the balloon covered to make a mask. Every once and a while add a dry strip to soak up extra moisture as well you can soak up all that excess glue mixture on the wax paper.  You want your mask to be moist not sopping.
You can add some details to the face by adding rolls of paper towel and applying eyebrows, a nose, as well as lips if you wish.


Leave upright to dry.  Here I placed the cup I had taped to my balloon into another old yogurt container.  You might have to put some weight into the container to keep that balloon upright.

Let dry.




When dry pop the balloon.  Take a pair of scissors and trim away the excess strips to get a nice edge around your mask.







Take your mask and paint it with either acrylic or tempera.  Try to incorporate design elements you saw in your reference material.
- African masks
- Iberian sculpture






Once the masks are completed you want to work on your painting. Tape down your wc paper or heavy sketch to your art board.

Using your own mask and/or ones by your classmates pick out specific design elements (lines, shapes, colors) and add these to your composition.  Draw it out in pencil first.  You're not looking to replicate the mask here only pull out elements that interest you and place them in a new arrangement.


Display your masks and paintings together.


Give it a try, it's very interesting to see what features or elements the kids focus on.



8 comments:

  1. I love the idea of creating a painting using the same design elements as the mask. Great project!

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  2. This looks like an exciting project.
    I will be following the process.

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  3. I've given you the Sunshine Award, 'cause you make me smile!

    ❀Barbara❀
    Grade ONEderful

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  4. How long do you think this would take to make with a group of kids? Would they be able to finish in one sitting do you think? I usually have about 50 minutes with them more or less and I usually do a picture study/art history lesson at the beginning for around 10 minutes...

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  5. Hey Jess, They can probably do the papier mache mask in 1 session, let dry, next session paint the mask final session do the paper sketch and painting. If the kids work fast you might be able to do the painting all in one, mask and study. Hope that helps.

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  6. Could I use strips of newspaper for the papier mache instead of paper towel?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Wendy, Of course you can. I just use paper towel as my preferred method of papier mache . The newspaper strip method also works fine.

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